Thursday, July 24, 2008

HDR

I've been interested in HDR photography for some time now. I have a camera which will allow me to adjust the metering to take bracketed images, a tripod, and Photoshop CS3 which has its own merge-to-hdr feature. In the couple times I tried it, I was never really pleased with the results, and chalked it up to some combination of my consumer-level camera and/or poor source images. In other words, I didn't give it much of a chance.

Anyway, I've been tempted to buy Photomatix Pro, which addresses tone mapping in a more robust and intuitive fashion than Photoshop by itself. Today I discovered they have a trial plugin and installed that. Even though everything about this screams "amateur first try" (note the camera lens reflected off the glass door), I'm pretty impressed with the results:


For comparison, here is the +0 baseline exposure source image, essentially what the camera would've produced with one shot in automatic mode:

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Technology for photography has come so far. Mastering it allows one to use talent and tech to produce outstanding shots. This is an example of the enhancements available. Quite a difference.

keith said...

I have tried HDR on several occasions and have rarely had good success. One that I took in Hawaii did turn out well, but it never looks as surreal as most of the HDR shots you see on professional photographer's web sites. Some guys say they just use Photoshop, but their pictures somehow look more like paintings than photographs. There must be some trick to it...

Jeremy said...

Interesting... maybe there's more to it than the quality of the camera. Do you shoot in RAW? Have you used these plugins? Most of the crazy ones do use photomatix or some other tone mapping software; I've never achieved anything remotely good in just Photoshop (though I've only tried 4 times).

I did see some "surreal" samples taken with a camera very similar to mine, so I know it can be done. I'm gonna keep trying!