Swamp Thing

In a previous post, I wrote about the challenge with HDR of maintaining an image's front-to-back depth. It's especially problematic in a photo like the one above, which is very busy and chaotic.  If you reduce the depth cues, you can turn what is already a challenging image into a jumbled mess.  And by definition HDR is doing exactly that, lightening shadows and darkening highlights.  The "exposure fusion" method is the best way I've found to manage the problem in the HDR conversion phase of the workflow, because it gives you a little more control over the strength of shadows and highlights.  Still, for all the work put into it, you could argue the composition of the above photo itself is hugely problematic because it is so busy and chaotic, and that alone might make it a candidate for the trash bin, without HDR stepping in and exacerbating things.  But it's a neat if challenging scene and I had to give it a go.