More HDR

October 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

"My House"

I blogged in the past about HDR.  In my blog entitled “Junk” I used HDR images of the junk in our barn…I’m going to use a couple of those images again in this blog…please forgive me for the “double post”.  The reason for this blog is to show how HDR can be used while not being “abused”.  There are a whole bunch of posts on the various photography forums I follow on HDR.  Most people posting either love HDR or hate it.  I really think that most people who hate it, hate over processed “tone-mapped” images.  These are the images that look rather “cartoonish”, but even these can be “toned-down” by spending a little extra time in post processing.  If you’re going for that “cartoonish” look, great, but I think most of the time that look comes from someone who lets the computer take over instead of re-asserting yourself as the artist/creator!  O.K. I’ll get off the soapbox.  HDR is a very valuable tool.  It enables a photographer to capture a wide range of detail without any additional lighting…all you need is a tripod.  Actually in my “Knight in the Museum” shot, I couldn’t even use a tripod.  I had to jam myself against a wall and brace my camera so it wouldn’t move.  Needless to say, the security staff kept their collective eyes on me.  HDR is a means of bracketing your shots from over-exposed to under-exposed to get a full range of detail.  You then merge all of your brackets into one image to get a wide range of detail or a High Dynamic Range(HDR).  You wind up with a rather bland image, so you have to go back and do some post processing.  This is where I see,in my opinion, another major mistake…no real shadows, and no real highlights.  Look around on most days, and you’ll see dark shadows and bright highlights.  Your eyes and brain can compensate, but your camera can’t, so this is where HDR comes in.  Another problem when using HDR is movement.  Most HDR shots don’t have any people in them, since people tend to move while the camera is shooting all of the bracketed frames.  I included a shot of my son as an example of shooting a person with HDR.  You just have to have them hold still for a second…not hard for a portrait, but pretty hard on a candid image.  I’ve seen some people do this with some candids, and my hat goes off to them…they are really good!  Lastly, I’ve included an image of an old doll’s head.  This is a “pseudo HDR”.  I took a single exposure, and in Lightroom I made two additional copies…one a stop too bright, and the other a stop too dark.  I then merged these two copies with the original in Photomatix…which is the HDR program that I use.  I wound up with a rather bland HDR which I then opened in Photoshop and added a bit of shadows for contouring.  The nature images are all plain HDR.  Hope you enjoy.

"Knight in the Museum"

"My Barn Junk"

"More of my Barn Junk"

"South Chagrin Reservation"

"Bedford Reservation"

"My Pine Tree"

"The Doll's Head"

"My Son Happily Modeling For Dad"

Look for my upcoming series of HDR portraits.  Thanks.


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