Ever since the rain started this week, I’ve envisioned getting a shot of the Arizona Cardinals stadium (pathetically known as the University of Phoenix stadium) with dark clouds in the background. It was cloudy and rainy all day today, but there was a little daylight left and there was a pause in the downpour when I got home, so I grabbed the camera and drove over to Westgate, hoping to be able to set up the tripod in the parking lot and get a good shot.
Of course, just as I got to the stadium the rain started up again….not a hard downpour, but enough that I didn’t want to set up the camera on the tripod without any kind of cover or shelter. So I rolled down the car window, rested the camera on the car door and fired off three bracketed shots of the stadium, trying to hold the camera as steady as possible.
When I got home I ran the three shots through the Photomatix processor, matching on features rather than just correcting for horizontal and vertical shifts. I also checked the box to reduce the noise, although I’m not sure how much there was to be reduced. I then played around quite a bit with the tone mapping, moving the sliders from one extreme to the other to see how they impacted the image. Some effects are very subtle, some are jarringly obvious, but it was interesting (and sometimes frustrating) to see the image change with each adjustment.
Because the original RAW files came from handheld shots, I didn’t get as sharp a result as I would have liked. I’m sure I’ll go back and try again with the tripod. But in the meantime, here’s what I came up with: