Driving through long and empty roads of the New South Wales I was highly tempted to enjoy the beautiful scenery outside instead of keeping my attention on the road. The last time I was going this way about a year ago. That year Australia was on an edge of the record 9-year drought with 95% of state officially having not enough rain. With the end of 2010 all of that changed. There is now record amounts of rain pouring down, dams filling up, rivers are flowing on the roads and colours slowly change to greenish-bluish. In a particular spot where I stopped once again, instead of dry grass I am now seeing new green plants, a small tree and a pond. And if you have a closer look you can even notice a little duckling in the pond too.
For this photo I took 12 pictures handheld (4 sets of -2,0,+2 EV) to cover the landscape around me as much as I can. I remembered that last time I had to work with a pretty small picture and thought it will be easier to crop later rather than return and re-shoot at the location. You can imagine it wasn`t too easy to align all of these handheld shots into a 1 single HDR panorama. On technical side this could be the most work-intensive picture to date for me taking over 3 days of work (24 hours plus). 12 NEFs were first treated for any lens imperfections they had and exported to 16-bit TIFs. Those were then combined into a panorama HDR file and send off to tone-mapping. The shadows and a contrast were corrected on a final step with colour desaturation to a more believable level. Final touches were to make the white balance right and reduce magenta colour cast followed by selective noise reduction and sharpening. Selective it is as grass was more prone to noise and could take more sharpening whereas sky was the opposite and liked noise reduced smoothness. Resulting 8462 x 4469 pixels panorama is pleasing to the eyes and could enjoy a really big canvas.