How You Shot It is a series where you show us how you shot an image. Many who use our presets love to share their special processing recipes. You can join the SLR Lounge Textures and Presets group on Facebook and share your favorite images and recipes as well!

Today’s post comes from Brian Baril.

Final Picture

I was in Chicago area for work and my co-worker and I decided to go downtown to capture some photos of downtown after it snowed a few inches the night before. When I flew into O’Hare airport, I noticed that there was ice near the shore of Lake Michigan. I thought it would be a great shot from the Planetarium to get a photo of the Chicago skyline and frozen Lake Michigan at sunset to get the light reflecting off of the ice.

When I got there, I was at first disappointed because the ice was loose and thrashing around the shore. As I walked down, I noticed all the wonderful ice on that was pushed on to the shore. I waited until sunset to get the sun light bouncing around on the ice. I am from Arizona and forgot my hat and gloves. Waiting by the lake was probably the coldest 10 minutes of my life.

Here is some raw video of Lake Michigan while I waited a few minutes for the sun to set.

How I Shot It

Since I wanted to capture the color of the ice on shore and the sky, I knew that I needed to bracket 5 photos so that I can create a HDR (High Dynamic Range) photo to capture the light correctly the way I was seeing it with my eyes.

Additionally, I wanted to take a long exposure to have the ice on the lake look blurry and surreal so I set the aperture to f/18. I carefully placed my tripod between the ice to make sure it would stay still and not fall into the lake. (I had trouble keeping my feet firm and from falling into the lake myself).

I attached my remote, took a test shot to make sure my exposure is correct and then took my five bracketed shots and ran back to the car to warm up.

Raw1 Raw2 Raw3 Raw4 Raw5

Gear I Used To Shoot It:

Camera settings

  • Aperture: f/18
  • ISO: 100

How I Processed It

I first used Lightroom to edit the 3rd photo to make small adjustments on exposure, contrast and lens correction.  I synced those adjustments to the other 4 photos to make the 3rd photo.  I then moved these 5 photos into Nik Software (Google) HDR Efex Pro. I made my adjustments and saved them to produce one HDR photo.

HDR image

I then opened the photo in Nik Software Color Efex Pro to enhance the light on the ice and added a gradient filter to darken the sky a little.  I used the following filters: Detail Extractor, White Neutralizer, Skylight Filter and Graduated Neutral Density.

Color Efex edit

After make these adjustments, I couldn’t help to notice that the yellow ladder handle was distracting.  I used Photoshop to do a simple “Content Aware” fill to remove the ladder.

Final Picture

I am not a professional photographer and I do this as a creative outlet.  This article is about how I took this picture and how I processed it.  I am sure there is a better way of doing things and I would love to hear any constructive input.  Thanks for your time.  Get out and go shoot.

You can see more of my work at and

About the “How to Shoot It” Series

This educational series highlights amazing images from our writers as well as our community. The goal is to not only feature inspirational work but to provide valuable education for our photography community. If you would like to submit your work, please click here for more info on writing for SLR Lounge.

For more information on learning the ins and outs of HDR Photography, check out the SLR Lounge HDR Workshop DVD, a 13 hour workshop on DVD that will guide you through every step of creating amazing HDR photographs from prep to post.