Truland Photography

Saturday, August 11, 2012

High Dynamic Range Choices

Earlier this week, I was on Peebles Island for the purpose of bracketing trail scenic exposures for High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing. I have mentioned how the range of light can be more than the camera sensor can record and you end up with blown out skies or blacked out undergrowth - or both.

I took a normally exposed image and then images two stops under exposed and two stops over exposed of each scene. The camera can be set to do this automatically. Initially, I used the new HDR mode in Canon's DPP software to arrive at the final images.

Here is a normally exposed image followed by the result of DPP's HDR processing, as best as I could figure it out.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, f/8, 1/90 sec., ISO 100
HDR Processing with Canon DPP Software
I'm sure the DPP software can do better than that, I just haven't figured it out yet. I also have software fromm HDRSoft, Photomatix Essentials, that I downloaded from the Mac App Store. Using the same three images that produced the photo above, I can come up with many different versions of the photograph.

Here are a few using preset adjustments on the Photomatix software. I heven't yet mastered the various levels and settings that will get me to exactly what I'm looking for. I do like some of the choices they provide, however.

Photomatix Essentials - Enhancer settings
Photomatix Essentials - Photographic settings
Photomatix Essentials - Natural settings
Photomatix Essentials - Painterly settings
Photomatix Essentials - Smooth settings
It takes time to process HDR images. Even using preset choices, it took about 1/2 hour to process the five samples in Photomatix Essentials. I've got some work ahead of me to figure out how to get the most out of the software and then process the twenty or so scenes I captured this past week.

UPDATE: I spent a couple of hours reprocessing the 14 scenes I had already processed with DPP using the Smooth settings on Photomatix. The images on Zenfolio have now been replaced. As usual, you can view all the trail scenes using the link on the right.

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