Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Old homestead shot in HDR: new book on HDR

Can you do high dynamic range photography in low dynamic range or rather low contrast scenes? Absolutely and it can produce some fun and exciting results. In low contrast scenes the range of highlights with detail and shadows with detail is relatively short and easily captured by the digital cameras sensor. In high contrast scenes, where HDR techniques are valuable, the contrast range between highlights with detail and shadows with detail is greater the the cameras sensors ability to capture. I am enjoying using HDR techniques in all my shooting and really enjoy using if in low contrast scenes.

This image was captured when I was returning from Utah after teaching a workshop. Out is southeast Oregon, where it is desolate and windswept, is this old homestead/ranch just off the highway. I have driven by here many times as this is the fastest route from my home in Oregon to the southwest regions. I have passed by it every time, thinking I need to stop and shoot, but haven't because of light conditions. That is until this trip.

As I was driving by this time it was snowing lightly and it seemed the right conditions to shoot today. As I was shooting the snowing became a blizzard, but I kept shooting until I and all my gear was starting to get seriously wet. I shot the scenes as Photomatix recommends: -2, N, +2 and then headed home.

I opened both of these images in Photomatix and processed them to taste as PM is designed to do. Open the images and slide the sliders. I can tell you that I usually have Strength at 100, Color Sat at 50 - 100 depending on the strength and vibrancy of the colors to start. Luminosity 5 - 10 leaning towards 10. Light smoothing at the middle usually so I don't get to weird of effect. Microcontrast all the way right with as little microsmoothing as possible. I also send White point
and Black point up to the middle or close depending on the image.
Here you can see the image as it came out of Photomatix. Skies are difficult to maintain as they halo and get noise very quickly. Here you can see the noise and the out of focus snowflakes create big dark blobs as well as the dirt on the sensor is magnified.

So the key for me is to put in another sky. The intro image was a set of clouds from my cloud file for use in images just like this. It looks cool but are not snow clouds (who cares) so I opened the original RAW file of the -2 exposure, processed it in ACR, and masked it in as seen here. This looks real.

Here is another that was run through HDR and processed in a totally different way in the tone mapping. More extreme white and black points and the original color saturation settings provided this sepia tone look.

Books on HDR:

1 comment:

nataliev said...

HI Charlie,

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