First of all I’d like to mention that the gallery above includes a couple images other than the ones that I am discussing here. All of these images are of the state capitol in Salem, Oregon.
My goal in these images was to create an image with a beautiful sky and starburst sun, while still retaining good detail in the building. The first step was to position the camera such that the sun would just be peaking around the building. I used the shadow of the building to aid in this process. If you position yourself at the edge of the shadow, you will be very close to where you need to be. This was the fun part of the process, chasing shadows around downtown Salem appeals to my quirky sense of fun.
Once you find the right spot, (you’ll need to move often if you plan on taking more than one image) setup a auto exposure bracketing sequence that is as dark as you think you can get away with. The hard part here is to get a good looking sky, thus you need some pretty dark frames.
After getting home I load the images into Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro. The main parts of the process were to use low tonal compression then place a control point on the building and brighten it and increase the structure a little.
Well, I think now I’m going to go try the Lightroom 4 beta.