Last monday I had an assignment in the cathedral of Schleswig. I am following the restoration-process of the organ there and visit it frequently at the moment. When coming out into the cold I saw the sky opening and revealing the moon just beside the impressive main tower.

I got my tripod out of the car (I always have it there with me, just in case…) and made a series of 3 shots with 2 exposure steps difference to be able to create an HDR photo at home.

The biggest problem was the ugly greenish light from the streetlights, opposing the reddish/orange reflection of the city lights on the upper part of the tower. So I made a custom white balance on the ground (snow makes a great white card!) which resulted in a pretty purple sky, while the lower part of the tower looked quite natural. See image on the left.

So, I preferred to have a properly colored sky and set the white balance on the RAW files accordingly in Lightroom and exported them into the HDR software (Photomatix).

The result after tone mapping was like it can be seen below… pretty greenish. That needed to be fixed in Photoshop, as well as the weirdly rendered area around the moon. By mixing the tone mapped version with one of the original photos I could fix the sky and the lower part of the tower.

Some sharpening and color enhancements (like giving a bit more of punch to the red light on the big window to the bottom left and the tungsteen colored light out of the small window) gave the result seen at the top of this post.

(Here is the image as it came straight out of Photomatix:)

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