The other day I posted several versions of the shot below. In each case, I began with a three-shot bracket (one over-exposed and one-under-exposed) and used Photomatix to generate a High Dynamic Range (HDR) composite. Then I pulled it up in Adobe Camera Raw, made some color and balance adjustments, then used Nik’s Viveza and Color Efex suites to produce the final versions I posted. This is how most of my shots are processed these days.

However, the technology can make us lazy. When shooting, we might shoot wider than we need, knowing we can crop in Photoshop. We might not worry about getting the white balance right because Camera Raw fixes that. And so on.

I don’t want to be lazy, though, and am constantly doing what I can to improve at getting it right in the camera. How good does the shot look without any processing at all?

So I dug back into that Denver Garden Railway set and opened up the RAW shot I used for Iron Horse. The only thing I did was bump the exposure by .7 so that it would be a tad clearer on the Web.

Here’s today’s the reality check: the Iron Horse shot in the nude, as it were, no lipstick, no makeup, no nada.

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