Golfing to the State Tournament

When I got the assignment for a golf portrait I only had a few hours notice on it. I also had no details other than to meet her at the clubhouse of the newly re-named Fox Run golf course.

The sky was less than ideal - hazy high clouds and patches of blue that gave me either extremely dark subjects or blown out skies with no details. Getting the shot the way I wanted required a two-part process. To start with, I under-exposed the scene on-camera by 2/3 to 1 stop of exposure. Then I applied an SB-800 speedlight flash set to over-expose by 1-1/3 stops. This gave the darker background and made the golfer have some illumination.

For a second step, I looked at a technique that is either very simple or very complex in Photoshop. I have been using RAW (NEF) file formats for my photos for some time, and have been interested in HDR imaging (High Dynamic Range) - so this was my chance. I merely opened the file up twice, using Adobe Camera Raw 4.4. One copy was set for the sky details, and the second copy set to give her good exposure. I simply dragged the background layer from the one image and dropped it into the other. Then I created a layer mask for the added layer and painted out the areas of the top layer that were not right. The end was an image that has detail in the darker areas and detail in the clouds above.

Is this ethical? In my opinion it is. The image is the exact same frame, and all I have done is manipulate the shadows to be bright enough to see into, and darkened the brighter areas so that they did not simply turn into white highlights. In my opinion this process is nothing more than a controlled way of dodging and burning the image. It is making the image fit within the limitations of highlights and shadows inherent inour photography equipment and our printing processes. I merely brought the range of tone to a level where the newsprint will deliver detail in all areas for the reader to view.

Gallup Catholic Panther golfer Marqui Armstrong is taking her game on the
road, traveling to compete in the New Mexico state golf tournament.

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