Thoughts on HDR

Put a new emphasis on your photographic fun…….

I have long been interested in spending more time shooting high dynamic range images.  You never know quite how it will turn out; although the shadows will always be brightened and saturated.  Here is an example of the style of pushing the settings to the high strength point.  See the image below.

Clock Tower in River Front Park.  Eight combined images with tone mapping.

This technique works with any file format.  Although to achieve the best possible results, all images should be shot in the camera RAW file format.  More on that topic in later posts……….

Step 1:  Capture three to eight separate exposures of a stationary subject.

The way to do this is to setup up a tripod and choose a subject with warm natural light.  The scene has to be one in which no movement is occurring because you will need several, exactly positioned images.  Set the F-stop to the chosen exposure, and lock the focus.  I usually work from light to dark.  Lower the shutter speed until the light meter tells you that the image is way over exposed, +2ev or +3ev.  Take a picture at that speed.  Next, raise the shutter speed enough to darken the image in steps.  About .5ev or 1ev and take another picture.  Keep raising the shutter speed [don’t touch the F-stop] and taking pictures, through optimum all the way to very underexposed [dark, -3ev].  In step 2 you will blend the images together into a single high dynamic range image.

Step 2:  Combine images any apply tone mapping.

Once the image files are on your computer, there are several methods of combining them.  Adobe Photoshop is one of them, but until the release of version CS5, was always over shadowed by Photomatix Pro.  This program has always been the standard software for for HDR conversions.  It is reasonably price and recommended by the professionals [who ever they are].  To view this  companies’ web site [be sure to look at the different galleries] just click here.  Drag you images from that picture shoot into the program window, and experiment with the different settings.  By default the file is saved as a 16 bit tiff image, but 8 bit tiff and jpeg are also available.  The wonderful thing is that not much equipment is needed, just Photomatix software and a MAC or Windows computer.

Photographing a subject with a plane to go home and use a high dynamic range effect, is really fun.  HDR is very common and used quite a bit these days, look around for images that have been created using this effect.  I am posting two more photos with this effect that you can check out below………….

Office building in Spokane, Washington.  Image produced from five different exposure settings applied to five copies in the camera raw dialog box of Photoshop, and them entered into Photomatix.

A school building taken in the early morning using five different exposures.  Location, Five Mile Prairie, Spokane, Washington.

I will be posting a great deal more information about this type of photography, because it is so fun and interesting and makes for a good discussion………….

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