Thursday, January 22, 2009

High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI)

Today, instead of taking a few shots I decided to process some Raw images that I took on a weekend at Riding Mountain National Park in September 2004. At that time, I did not know about HDRI but I did know that by taking several shots at different exposures, I could later blend those photos pleasingly using Photoshop.


I have since purchased Photomatix Pro and have been experimenting with the processing of images using it and Lightroom together.


I used four raw photos to produce my final image:



f8, 1/500




f8, 1/1250




 f16, 1/1250




f22, 1/2500



You will notice that along the way, I switched not only shutter speeds but f-stops. Not sure why I did this but this is NOT the way to do it! When taking a series of images for HDR processing, you usually set your camera to Aperture Priority and take your initial shot. You then take bracketed shots both under and over that setting. If the dynamic range is great, it is best to take 5 to 7 shots, one stop apart. For some photos, you can get away with three bracketed shots.


I then exported these photos from Lightroom (I did not process them in Lightroom first) into Photomatix Pro where I used Tone Mapping to process them. When I finished, I imported the final image back into Lightroom for some finishing touches – saturation, curves, and the addition of a vignette. Here is the result:



Sunrise at Lake Audy



I like the moodiness of this image and I am pleased at what I was able to accomplish!


If you would like to know more about taking photos for HDR processing as well as processing them using Photomatix Pro, Tony Sweet has some great tutorials on YouTube.

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