Correcting Halo in HDR

Above is an image of a lighthouse that I took using 5 exposures. I put the 5 images into Photomatix for processing. I liked the way the final process came out except for the halo effect in the sky. I’ve discovered that when the sky is a sold blue this happens:

I find it hard to correct the halo effect in Photomatix. So, I bring the image into Photoshop to do this correction. The first thing I do is clean up the image by removing any sensor dust spots off the blue sky. For this I just use the spot healing brush:

The next step I do is make a selection around the halo using the quick selection tool in Photoshop CS3:

Then I use the clone tool, and clone the blue sky from the left, to the part of the sky that’s selected. I recommend bringing the opacity of the clone brush down to about 30%. This will give you more control:

Here’s the before and after images:

This image was an easy halo fix. Some halos wrap themselves around trees and branches making it very hard to do this kind of fix using the clone tool. This halo was up against a building with a straight edge. Here is the finished product:

Here’s an example of a halo embedded in a tree. This is a trickier kind of fix:

Adjustments that may help are lowering the “strength” and/or increasing the value of the Light smoothing setting. Look at the difference between the two images and the settings. Just from changing these two setting there’s a huge improvement:

Here’s the finished product. I just dropped this image into Photoshop for a little brightness and contrast, and that was it:

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