I liked playing with this photograph because with a little effort, the sky will not be flat and the water has some definition.
The original post can be found here: Previous Post.
The Original Post Image:
Generally, overall I like what was done with the image. I like everything except the halo in the sky between the house structure and the sky. So in 2015, I should be able to come up with something where the halo is non-existent.
The original base of this image is a combination of two photographs. In each of the two photographs, there is an imperfection (unwanted human) that I didn't want in the final product. The two photographs were fairly similar with respect to the position of the structure and took just a small amount of adjusting to line up. The two original images are:
My plan was to put this through Photomatix and concentrate on everything but the sky. Experience tells me that the sky is where most of the halo caused by tone compression will occur. I'd like to keep the sky, but it doesn't do the day justice. It was much darker. This is what Nikon think the image should look like - and why you should take Nikon out of the equation by shooting in RAW. Here is what I have after tone mapping with Photomatix.
I didn't have to do too much with this, but I did get great colors on the water, jetty and the building. There is still too much halo in the sky - and it is too light for what I want. The sky must go! The sky colors are fairly consistent making for easy removal. The removal between the railings and the fence around the light were tricky and just took some time. I found a bolder, darker sky from my stock photos and added it in.
The sky and the water match. Little bit of light from the clouds and little bit of light on the water. (That's why I can't go with a nice blue sky, the water would be a dead giveaway.) I'd go with this version on personal preference. The image appears much cleaner.