Purchase My Prints
15% off Nik Collection by Google- Coupon Code: thehdrimage
!5% Off Photomatix use Coupon Code theHDRimage
Topaz Labs Software
- Unified Color Technologies HDR Photo Contest
- Last Chance for 15% off the Nik Collection by Google
- Topaz Labs releases B & W Effects 2.1
- Why HDRs Don’t Look Real
- The Nik Collection by Google only $149!!!
- HDR Pro in Photoshop CS6 – Using ACR
- Twilight – Nature’s HDR
- HDR does not = Light
- onOne Perfect B & W
- Did a Little Housecleaning and a Re-focus
- Free Software from onOne !
- 5 Quick Steps to better HDRs – Step 5
- 5 Quick Steps to better HDRs – Step 4
- 5 Quick Steps to better HDRs – Step 3
- 5 Quick Steps to better HDRs – Step 2
- 5 Quick Steps to better HDRs – Step 1
- Oloneo Releases update to PhotoEngine and HDR Engine and announces Winter Sale LAST DAYS
- HDR – How Many Exposures are Enough?
- Follow up on “HDR Styles” Nik Presets download
- Triggertrap Mobile – LE HDR Trigger – Product Review
- Thought for the Day – First take a Great Photo
- HDR Styles
- Gray Skies forever? Photomatix Pro
- HDR – What is it we actually do?
- Shooting the HDR Night Cityscape
- Measuring & Exposing for Dynamic Range
- OnOne Photo Suite 7 now availble in 3 versions
- At SeeNLearn – Shooting the Telephoto Landscape
- Unified Color Technologies ANNOUNCES HDR Express™ 2
PopularAdjust 5 Birds in HDR BLack & White Black & White Conversions Black & White HDR Composition Exposures HDR HDR De-Ghosting HDR Editing HDR Examples HDRI HDR Images HDR Lesson HDR Lessons HDR look HDR Noise reduction HDR Photography HDR POrtrait HDRsoft HDR Software HDR Software Review High Dynamic Range Images Layer Masks Measuring Dynamic Range Metering Moving Objects in HDR Nik HDR Efex Pro Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 Review Noise OCF Off Camera Flash oloneo oloneo HDRengine onOne onOne Perfect Photo Suite 7 Photomatix Pro 4.0 Photomatix Pro 4.1 Reader Images sharpening Single Image HDR The HDR Image Topaz Adjust 5 Topaz Labs
- May 2013 (1)
- April 2013 (3)
- March 2013 (1)
- February 2013 (6)
- January 2013 (9)
- December 2012 (8)
- November 2012 (2)
- October 2012 (2)
- September 2012 (4)
- August 2012 (6)
- July 2012 (7)
- June 2012 (4)
- March 2012 (1)
- February 2012 (17)
- January 2012 (13)
- December 2011 (12)
- November 2011 (21)
- October 2011 (22)
- September 2011 (11)
- August 2011 (1)
- July 2011 (3)
- June 2011 (3)
- November 2010 (1)
- October 2010 (6)
- September 2010 (3)
Monthly Archives: October 2011
This weeks reader image comes from Stephen P.
Image info from Stephen:
This image was shot at Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada in August 2010. We stopped here on one of the classic foggy days on the Bay of Fundy. The fog was so thick this day that you could only see about a football field in front of you. Beyond the tree and rolling hills there is supposedly the Bay of Fundy, but I never saw it that day.
I had my Nikon D80 with a 24-70mm lens at 70mm for a tight crop. I knelt down for the better perspective and stability and took 3 exposures by 2-stops each. I shot at f/5.6 and ISO200 to try to minimize the camera shake at my brightest image (which was at 1/30s).
I merged in Photomatix with settings that I do not remember. I post processed in LR3, increasing the clarity and vibrance to bring out lots of detail and color in the arch. In the original HDR, the tree in the background was blurred due to a little wind. I took the middle image and created two virtual copies in LR, one at +2 and one at -2. I then merged them in Photomatix with the same settings as the original. Then I blended the tree section from the single image HDR into the merged HDR, and the result is above.
This image looks even better as a metallic 8×10 print hanging in my office =)
Really wonderful image Stephen. I like how you used the wall as a natural frame to both frame the view and carry the viewers eye into the distance. And some good problem solving to get the image right. Great job! Thanks Stephen.
Remember if you would like to have your HDR Image featured or Critiqued just follow the directions here
Image Copyright 2010 Stephen P, Do not use or copy without permission
Thankfully a few brave souls sent in their versions of the Automobile images I shot for out Shooting Automobiles Tutorial.
The first comes from fellow photographer and great friend Ken L.
Ken reminded me that HDR doesn’t have to be in color at all in fact it can look awesome in B & W. He also reminded me that it may be time to do a tutorial ON B & W conversion methods for those that haven’t ventured there.
Here is Ken’s take on both HDR Processing and B & W
Ken found good tonal balance for the Truck and also has great contrast WITH detail in the mountains which was hard to get.
One thing really cool is. Ken seamlessly MOVED the watermark to the side of the image away from the center that I had placed it. Ken also cropped the image a little more widescreen in aspect ratio for emphasis.
Ken, besides being a great photographer is also a Lightroom Expert so if you have questions about that program , he is the go to guy.
The next set of three images come from Miguel P.
Miguel attacked it from a few different angles which I really like. It shows that there is no one way to do anything and everyone has different styles and tastes which keeps the world from becoming boring. For this exercise Miguel Chose to instead use Nik’s HDR Efex Pro which was a great choice. I will let Miguel own words describe some of the things he did.
This is Miguel’s “Baseline” image
“Baseline: This was the image straight out of Nik’s software. At first, I was just going to use the settings that you gave us, but then I decided to start from scratch and play around a little bit. ”
Next Miguel was also smart enough to take that Baseline image and do a B & W conversion
“Black and White: I’ve read/heard that HDR’s can be converted into some great BW, so I gave it a shot. I’m not sure that I’m 100% happy with the shot as it still looks a little flat and I can’t figure out why. I feel that the car doesn’t really pop away from the background.”
Notice how different Miguel’s B & W look than Ken’s. This is because there can be just as many ways to convert to B & W as there are to do HDR tone mapping. To answer Miguel. That’s a very common thing to happen with B & W conversions.
When we have Color in an image, sometimes the color alone is what provides that separation OR draws the eye to something. In a photograph the first thing the eye is drawn to is the brightest object in the image, secondly the eye is drawn to certain colors, Shades of Red, Yellow and Orange draw the eye first and cause excitement, Shades of Blue and Green Less so and are more calming.
But, when you take away the color you are only left with tone. So the eye would look for the brightest object or areas of contrast firsts. It’s why not every image converts well. But the other thing is you may have to increase the contrast in a B & W over the color version. Since the color may provide some separation in the image that tone alone as it is can’t. I’ll show you how to do that when I do the B & W tutorial.
Last is Miguel’s Final Version is his fully finished color HDR conversion which he took farther than I did…And I am glad. It shows the possibilities and the artistic styles that people have or are possible.
“Color: Ok, I may have gone a little overboard here, but I like it! I did a bit of dodging and burning on the car. I also used a high pass sharpening on the entire image, added a black layer mask, and then painted in areas that I thought needed a little more “grunge”. I also saturated the mountains a little bit
One thing that I did notice is that HDR’s really bring out any sort of sensor dust that you have in the camera. There was some up in the skies, and a couple of dots on the car itself. I also noticed that the sky was very grainy (I still don’t know how to make skies look good when using HDR!), so I used the clarity slider in Lightroom (set to -50) and painted over the sky.”
I like it too Miguel. I think it was really done well in that it goes farther to one end ( Grunge/painterly) but doesn’t get silly and has a full range of tones.
Skies are indeed one of the hardest parts to get right and are often what HDR programs get wrong. There are some tools to get them better such as using the Highlight Smoothing in Photomatix but sometimes that can’t get it right. On occasion when a sky is that important to me in the image I have replaced the entire sky with one of my other exposures that gets it right. The handling of highlights is one of the things that HDR doesn’t always get right. It was something I discussed with Nik when I talked with them.
As far as sensor spots go, the HDR process itself does seem to bring them out. But the biggest culprit actually is using tight apertures (f/16 etc) Most sensor spots are not visible in image shot at more Normal apertures. But when we stop down the dof itself will make the spot way more visible. In fact if you want to check your sensor for dust, set your aperture to f/22 and shoot a plain cloudless blue sky. You will see every speck on that sensor. Change the aperture to f/6.3 and I bet you don’t see one.
Duane W sent in these two images
Duane went for a much more subduded natural look here. He said “After doing my normal work flow. I used some additional gradient layers in both versions to help bring out the details.”
Looks good Duanne. The only thing I might change on the B & W is on the hood windshield area, it appears dark. This could be a difference in monitor calibration betwen the two of us.
So thanks to Ken , Miguel and Duanne for contributing their images, Really some great work here and I can’t thank you guys enough for taking the time
There is still time for YOU to send yours in. I will add to the post as I get others in so you are NOT too late
If you are a big fan of the “Grunge ” or “Painterly” Styles of HDR or if you would like the HDR look to your Single images but just can’t be bothered with all the work. Well I may have a easy and inexpensive fix for your desire.
Topaz Adjust 4 from Topaz Labs
Now you may be saying, “Peter that’s certainly not your style” and you are right, it isn’t. But I have to be honest and cognizant of the fact that those styles are some of the most popular for people that enjoy HDR Photographs. And I will let you in on a dirty little secret of the Photographic Art world. Grunge and Painterly HDR styles far outsell realistic HDR styles when it comes to selling prints. So I think it would be a little foolish of myself to deny those styles or force my opinions on anyone.
Topaz Adjust 4 is a Photoshop Plug-in which you might guess means you need Photoshop but they do have a free product called Topaz Fusion Express that makes their programs compatible with Lightroom, Aperture and iPhoto along with a couple free editing programs like Irfanview.
Topaz Adjust 4 is available by itself for an inexpensive price or in a Bundle of 10 Topaz programs which works out to a very inexpensive price per program when purchased that way.
It works like most Plug-in, it is available under the “Filter” menu in Photoshop. I would suggest as I usually do, before applying or launching Topaz Adjust 4, you duplicate your layer so the effect is applied upon that layer only to give you more flexibility as I will discuss later.
Launching Topaz Adjust 4 brings up a familiar LR Style panel. Presets on the left, Adjustments on the right and Image preview in the center. The program launches quickly and also auto-previews the last used previously preset. The speed tells me this is not a processor demanding program.
There are Presets that mostly deal with color pop and those that deal with increasing detail and then of course a few that do both. You can also Save your own presets as well as Import and export them to share with other users. I found most of the presets on the heavy side but again, that’s ME. For most users the presets will be just about right and I am sure many just choose one and don’t even touch the adjustment panel
The Adjustment Panel on the right starts with an Exposure section which is where you would do work to compress the exposure of the image to get more of that HDR look, Next below that is a section to work on how much detail you want in an image and you really can go anywhere from mild to wild with these controls. The next section down controls Color if you want to add some saturation pop (or take some away) and finally there is a Noise section which seemed to be effective but limited in adjustments. This may not be a problem if you buy the bundle because you will have Topaz De-Noise which can be launched from this application. Any adjustments made were applied and the preview refreshed rather quickly.
OK, I’ll admit it was fun
NOW comes the confession. I actually had fun using this. Yeah it’s way beyond where I will normally go with images but it was nice to just play and get some wild effects on some of my images in my portfolio. And that is part of it. It can be very image dependant. Using the Automotive images I shot in the previous post were not so successful but when I opened some images from a car show I shot two years ago they worked perfectly and were well suited to any treatment I applied.
Use it on a layer
Now I mentioned using them on a new layer earlier. This is appealing to me and how I work because although I may not love the wild style, I can, by varying the opacity of that layer, have as as little or as much of that style as I want and by doing that was certainly able to find something pleasing to my eye. I certainly could see using the Detailed preset for some work.
So summing it up, it’s kinda like how I eat. I try to eat healthy as much as I can, but the truth is, I loves me some hot wings. Topaz Adjust 4 may just be your hot wings.
Here are some of images and the original to compare to ( Click to enlarge)
If you would like to buy or try Topaz Adjust 4 click here
Hope that helps,
So I have made available for download the three images I used and also the preset I used as both a starting point in Photomatix Pro and also for Nik HDR Efex Pro.
The Photomatix Preset is THI Exp.XMP and the Nik Preset is Example.NP. Load them in the Tone Mapping under Load Preset
So download the file and have a ball. Take it where ever YOU want to go with it. Mild to Wild!
If you like submit the image back to me at pt (at) thehdrimage.com and I will post a bunch of the reader versions , IF I get any back.
Or just have fun and learn for yourself
Here’s the Zip File Automotive.ZIP
Yesterday we covered the shooting of automobiles. Today we will concentrate on the post processing of those images and more specifically post processing the images as High Dynamic Range images.
As promised I will take you through this step by step just as I would do the image, so you get to see everything that “I” put into it. Just bear one thing in mind, what I do on my image may not what you need to do on your image. Even though I will give my settings in Photomatix doesn’t mean that those will be correct for your image because every image is different.
They may be a good starting point but I tweak even my starting point to get what I need out of that particular image. Plus you may not even want to have the same effect that I want. If you want a more painterly effect your starting points would be way different than mine.
Processing In Photomatix Pro 4.1
Starting with the 3 images I showed you yesterday I open them in Photomatix Pro 4.1. Even though ghosting should not be an issue, I still brought it into the manual de-ghosting screen for a check. This image didn’t need any help but as we will see in the image I shot with OCF, there were about 6 areas with Blinkie-Blackies that needed to be fixed. More on that later.
So opening the image in the tone mapping screen, Moving down the list I used: Detail Enhancer, Strength 40, Saturation 70, Luminosity -2, Detail Contrast +6.0, Lighting effect Medium,
Other settings I adjusted;
- Smooth Highlights 28, I used this to have a smoother gradation of the sky and took some of the gray out of it that can happen in highlights.
- White Point: 2.000%, this actually has a much larger effect on overall brightness of the image than Luminosity ever has. Still not sure why they call it that.
- Black Point: 0.092% just to bring back some of the shadows and blacks in the image
- Gamma: 1.20, this brings the Midtones where I want them. If you watch your histogram of your image, you will see a center peak in almost every image, this controls where that peak is. I prefer it slightly to the left of center but in the end I look at my image more than the histogram to see what look right. It’s just an interesting correlation you may like to see
- Saturation Highlights: 7.0 this controls the saturation on the highlights only. They appeared a bit washed out so I wanted to add a bit more to them.
This got the image as far as I would get with the controls of Photomatix. The image now needs some more local adjustments so I will bring the Image into Photoshop or you could bring it back into Lightroom if that is where you like to work.
This is the image as finished in Photomatix 4.1
For those of you using Nik HDR Efex Pro, I achieved similar results using these setting
- Compression: 43%
- Saturation: 22%
- Structure: 9%
- Blacks: 12%
- Warmth: 26%
- HDR Method: Natural
Final adjustments in Photoshop
The first thing I notice and should have noticed when shooting is that the horizon line is not straight. We want to look at the horizon line and not our vehicle because we shot at an angle to it the front should be lower than the rear. So using the measuring tool and Rotate Canvas; arbitrary, I straighten the horizon. (Note there are other ways to get this done in later versions of Photoshop and in Lightroom)
While I am at it since I have to crop the image anyway I will crop in a bit to eliminate some of the periphery of the background.
With our image now level and cropped at this point I will zoom into 100% and take care of any sensor spots that may be visible in the sky or other areas. Its best these are taken care of now and I use my Spot Healing Brush tool to fix those.
Now it’s time to move on examining the image and see what areas may need work
The first thing I wanted to tackle was the sky and the mountains in the background. Since this is a large area, I decided to use a Curves adjustment layer and mask it just to that area. In The curves box, I brought the highlight across a bit to lighten the highlights and then used my eye dropper to determine where the mountains were on the line and brought those down in levels. I then painted out the rest of the image in the layer mask so that this adjustment only affected the sky and bright mountains. Just to tweak those mountain ever so it more, I burned the shadows on them just a bit.
The rest of the work was just dodging and burning the problem areas. Keeping in mind that if we want to take down highlight you burn highlights you don’t add more shadow. Some times burning and dodging is not as intuitive as we want it to be so you need to work on the right segment. To bring out the wheels and headlights more, I set the dodge tool to Highlight and 10%.
After all my dodging and burning I finished off the image with a sharpening layer using Nik Sharpening Pro 3.0 set to Display: Adaptive Sharpening and 60%
Here is the final image as I see fit
You’ll probably notice these are not HUGE changes to our image but rather just the finishing details that make it the best it can be.
Our Advanced Shoot HDR + OCF
Finishing our OCF image off was a very similar process so I don’t think I should bore you with that recap. The one thing that WAS very different was in the beginning stage when I was merging the files. As I said earlier there were areas that I needed to get rid of the Blinkie-Blackies (For an explanation of Blinkie- Blackies see this post).
These occurred because we had some bright highlights in the 0 exposure from the Off Camera Lights. These didn’t occur in our +2 and -2 frames because the lights did not fire then (On purpose) so it caused a severe difference that the software didn’t know how to handle without some intervention by me
So I selected the problem areas in the De-Ghosting section of Photomatix Pro 4.1 and selected the 0 image as the image to use to de-ghost.
After that, the workflow continued just as I did the other shot. Determine my problem areas and addressing them all as needed.
This is the final HDR + OCF image. (You may note a difference in the trucks color, this is because the color of the light was so different after twilight, I decided to keep that pink hue as that is what was there at the time. I am not a big fan over-correcting white balance to something that wasn’t there)
Now you may ask, couldn’t you have done the same without OCF? Not really because you have to remember one thing. This image was shot well past sunset. It was dark!… as I was reminded by the two packs of coyotes that started their twilight serenade…which led me to pack up and leave. But we never would have gotten the specular highlights on the trucks body without using some artificial light.
Now of course we could have, as we did, just shot earlier when that light was there. But the mountains in the background would have had a totally different look as we can see.
So I hope this help you to try and go out and shoot automobiles. Again you may want a totally different look to your HDR as many people do. So do what you want in Photomatix to get YOUR desired effect. But then take a moment to analyze that result and see where some touch up is needed. You don’t need to do my workflow or my adjustments but just understand it and what does what.
Here are a couple more shots from the night with varying degrees of success
Today we are going to look at yet another subject that can benefit greatly from shooting and processing in HDR-HighDynamicRange: the Automobile.
Automobiles are almost like shooting portraits outdoors, shot wrong and at the wrong time of day can lead to disappointment. So let’s take a close look at what it takes to get a truly pleasing shot. Today we will focus on setting up the shoot itself and tomorrow we will work on the processing.
I am also going to do this in two parts, a basic shoot and then an advanced set-up for those that may want to take this above and beyond.
Location, Location, Location
Shooting an automobile is as much about the background as it is the car itself. In the wrong environment the car will loose the appeal that we as photographers or more importantly the client, (Classic Car Owner, Auto Manufacturer etc) desire. So first we have to find the location; that may be a twisting mountain road, along the shore of the ocean or lake, In front of a cityscape, day or night or in our case, the oft used, desert dry lake bed.
For this shoot I chose the Clark Lake dry lake bed in the Anza-Borrego desert of California. My Favorite place to shoot.
My choice of locations and the desire to shoot HDR was confirmed today when I opened up Road & Track magazine and saw a shot of a 2012 Dodge Charger shot in HDR IN the Anza-Borrego desert. I regularly run into their team doing tests along the way from their Newport Beach headquarters to the desert. In fact, for inspiration for your shoot check out the better automotive publications and even the websites for car manufactures like Porsche and Lamborghini. They often have some downloadable wallpapers that have some stunning photography.
I choose the spot I wanted because having been there and shot many times I knew how the light would be at all times of the day. I knew at a certain time of day the lake bed would be pushed into shadow while the mountains behind it would still be lit and nicely lit come the golden hour. One note when shooting near large mountain ranges. You need to know that sunset behind those mountains can occur 1-2 hours before actual sunset depending on the altitude and your proximity to those mountains.
The good thing is that it provides for a very long twilight period where the sky provides plenty of light yet without any direct light on your subject. This is kinda of like working with a giant softbox in the sky. Plenty of soft natural light to make our subject look good. This lake bed has mountains on 3 sides so I knew I had to be there at 4PM even though actual sunset was 6:15PM but I actually was able to work past sunset with the aide of something else in the advanced setup of this tutorial.
Shooting earlier in the day is not desirable, the light is too contrasty with harsh shadows and even if we could capture that dynamic range it isn’t pleasing to our subject at all
So we want to shoot later when our subject is not in direct sunlight.
Place the vehicle in the location you want. Again this may take some pre-scouting so you know where the light will be at what time and location
Having a clean vehicle
This image is going to be sharp and full of detail so a clean vehicle is of the essence. Any blemish will show up. But, we may not have the luxury of a cover trailer to bring the vehicle to the location and it may get dusty just getting there or even while on the location if winds are high. If the vehicle is not your own, DON’T Touch it. Leave it to the car owner to clean. Any scratch you put into a $10,000 paint job will be your fault.
If the vehicle is your own or if the owner needs advice on how to clean the car on location, I recommend a California Car Duster to get the big stuff off and then wiping the car down with a Micro fiber cloth using a detailing lubricant such as Meguiar’s Car Detailer. This will prevent the tiny scratches you can get from wiping a car with a dry cloth.
Once the vehicle is clean and in place you can begin to play with your setup as the light gets where you want it. Don’t wait for the light to be where you want to start to set-up as the light will change very quickly and you may only get 15 minutes with each lighting scenario so you have to be ready.
You will need to determine angle and focal length for the shoot. In general we don’t want to shoot straight on to a side or the front or rear. We may want to have those shots as alternative angles but that won’t be our money shot. In general we want to be at a 30-45° angle to the side and encompassing either the front or the rear of the vehicle. Once we determine a general shooting area we need to consider the focal length we will shoot at.
Again I will go back to the “Portrait” analogy. Just as in shooting a portrait, we want to choose a focal length that is pleasing to our subjects face or body. We don’t want any part particularly emphasized, especially if it makes the subject look odd. We want as much beauty as possible and emphasize only the positive. For this shoot I chose my Canon 24-105L 4.0 IS. It gave me the range that best suited this shoot.
On my Full Frame Canon 5D, I like to use focal length of 50 – 70mm. On APS-C bodies this may be in the 35 – 50mm range on your camera. This gets me close enough to see the detail I want, yet still gives me the perspective I need to include a good amount of the scenic background. I have used up to 200mm at times but remember with a long focal length we loose the amount of the background shown due to perspective. If you are a fan of the Nifty Fifties ( Canon 50mm 1.8 – Nikon 50mm 1.8) This may be a great time to break it out.
I don’t like to use wider angle lenses because we start to get distortion in size perspective of parts of the vehicle that are closest to the camera and that leads to a less pleasing look such as this one shot at 24mm.
Also note this is a Standard Photograph in the natural light. It doesn’t have the Dynamic range we want with the blown out sky and no detail in the mountains
The same shot at 50mm provided a much nicer perspective for our vehicle. But again note how the standard image, while getting the mountains now better lit, plunges our vehicle into darkness. Good thing we know about HDR.
We’ve got our location, we’ve got our vehicle placed there, we have it clean and we’ve chosen our angle and focal length. So now let’s shoot our HDR.
I measured the Dynamic range and knew it was well within the normal 3 Shot 2 stops apart shoot. So I set the camera to Aperture priority and Exposure Bracketing and took 3 shots. 0,+2.-2
These 3 shots get the midtones, the highlight sin the sky and mountains and the shadows of the vehicle all covered.
Tomorrow in part 2 I will cover in its entirety the processing of these images.
The previous was our normal HDR shoot and will be perfect for almost everything we want to do. But there are conditions where we may need to take it to the next level.
In Photography we either need to “find the light” or “Create the light” I wanted to shot later into the actual twilight. The only problem with this is I loose some of the natural softbox lighting I get earlier in the evening, especially low on the body and into the wheels and tire area. So to fix that…
HDR + OCF = OMG
OK so let’s decipher those acronyms. We know HDR, High Dynamic Range. OCF is, Off Camera Flash. If two things are all the rage in photography right now it is HDR and OCF. So why not combine the two. OCF is a way to tame dynamic range. You use the natural or ambient light to light your background and then provide strobe lighting for your subject and in a lot of cases that is good enough to get the image you want, But of course not for me. I want to take it one step further.
Here is my Basic Set-up. Two Flashes on stands, One Canon 580EX and One Vivitar 285HV. And Cactus wireless triggers to fire the flashes remotely. I used 42” Shoot-through Umbrellas (I added the second after I shot this shot on the Vivitar). I also moved the flashes closer to the subject later to create a larger light source.
Of course we could do an entire lesson or website just on OCF, so I won’t. I will just show you some possibilities of using this set-up. But I will give you some pointers that can help.
- Make your light source as large as possible. This means having the lights as close to your subject as you can without being in the shot and also using a large diffuser to eliminate hotspots, This can be a Softbox or an umbrella or even shooting through a large diffuser, remember we are trying to evenly light a large object so we need a lot of nice diffuse light
- Watch for reflections. We are also shooting a highly reflective object so we have to watch for distinct reflections of the lights. We do this primarily by using “Angle of incidence, angle of reflection” Meaning if the light is at the same but opposite angle our camera is to the subject. We will see a reflection. So if the camera is at a 45° angle to the car, we don’t want the light at an opposite 45° angle to it.
One lucky part of doing this shoot for HDR, that would be a bad thing in regular OCF shooting, is that the flash takes a second to recharge. In a normal shoot this would mean some missed shots if you shot too quickly. I used this to my advantage because I only wanted the flash to fire on the 0 exposure shot. If I quickly took the +2,-2 shots afterwards the flash did not have enough time to recharge to fire. If I really needed to, I easily shut the trigger off on the camera after the first shot if I needed more time.
To give you an idea what the shot looks like lit by the OCF flashes here is an example. What should be noted here is this shot was shot well past sunset and it was in fact quite dark. If you look at the shot settings you will see that it is ISO400 f/10 and 1.6 seconds of exposure! But also note that the strobe light matches the ambient which is something we would want.
Tomorrow we will look at this image processed with the other two for our final HDR. I know this doesn’t really delve into how to do OCF. It’s not meant to other than just give you a feel for it and see if it is something you might like to attempt.
We still can get a great image using HDR alone so this may not be worth YOUR time.
So be back tomorrow for part two of this tutorial. Post processing where I will take you step by step on how I finished two images and the final results.
I know, you don’t want to wait, but my typing finger is sore.
Bokeh is a term used for the Quality of the OOFF (Out Of Focus Field) in an image. NO IT IS NOT the term for an image with a shallow depth of field. That would be: An image with a shallow depth of field. LOL
But a great bokah in an image is a very desirable things. Most times when we shoot HDRs we really don’t worry about this because we are shooting for a very deep DOF. Bokeh would be irrelevant for most of our shoots.
But suppose we want to be different, we want to use our artistic side and we want to shoot a subject and then have a very shallow DOF. No problem shoot away BUT as nice as HDR will make the subject of your image it will have a totally detrimental effect to the OOFF area and destroy any great bokeh your lens may have.
Let me show you, For this image I used my Canon 70-200L 4.0 lens which is known for it’s excellent bokeh. I shot a day lillie in front of my home with 3 exposures and at 200mm f/7.1. Now you may say f/71. That’s not going to give you a very shallow DOF, actually it’s probably still not enough since my Focal Length was 200mm and my distance to subject was 5 feet, that still gives me just a few inches of DOF. Shooting wide open would have given me less than an inch of DOF.
I processed the images in Photomatix Pro 4.1 and used the Painterly preset, Just taking the strength down a notch and adding a bit to the black levels.
Here is that image
Now some may say,” That looks great”. And to an untrained eye it may. Because HDR brings out detail and perceived sharpness it is applying that to the background to the same degree that it does out subject where we do want the fine detail visible. The same thing can occur when someone oversharpens a standard photograph and applies that sharpening equally to the background. You are sharpening something that is not meant to be sharp and it destroys the look of the image.
But now look at the OOFF of a standard image with the true Bokeh of that area.
Look at the softness and smooth transition of tone in the background. But we loose the extra tone and detail we may want in the our subject; the flower itself.
So is all lost? Not at all. Through the magic of Photoshop and our friend the layer mask, I took the HDR image and dragged it on top of my standard image and then just masked off the background to reveal the standard image background. Problem solved.
QUICK HINT: If you are dragging an image on top of another image and want to make sure that the two images are aligned. First start by dragging the image with the shift key held down. Then to fine tune the alignment, change the Layer mode on the top layer to “Difference” and the image should turn black, The better you align the images the more black the entire image will look especially on edges. Once you have the images aligned, return to Layer mode to normal.
This is the final image, HDR Subject, standard background with that creamy Bokeh
So I will accept images to be Highlighted once a week.
I want to break it up into Two categories for different purposes
If you submit an image for a Feature Image, it is your best of the best but of course I’ll be the judge of the best of the submissions and I’ll feature what I think is an outstanding image. Doesn’t mean I don’t like you or I didn’t like your image. I just think this one does something for me and I also think it will be enjoyed and learned from by others. I’m not going to Critique it, just give you a general Attaboy or may say why I picked it.
If you submit an image for critique, it may be your best of your best or it may be an image you are having a problem with. This is purely for a learning experience for yourself and others. BUT, you have to have a tough skin. I will not gloss over anything and will critique both on quality of the HDR and also the quality of photography. I will not be critiquing on artistic style. There can be no hard feelings about it. It’s not personal.
How to submit an image
Prepare your image as such
- Image Size: 1000 Pixels on the longest size
- Watermarking: You may Watermark as you feel necessary but do it tastefully. If you are afraid of someone stealing your image, don’t post it on the internet.
- Color Space: sRGB But I can fix any that aren’t
- Exif: Keep intact, Do not use save for the web if possible
Tell me about the photo:
- Where the image was shot
- Camera and lens Used
- Number of Images and stops apart
- HDR Processing Software and any Presets you may have used.
- Any post Processing you may have done.
- And any short thing you may want to say about the image
- Your Name and whether you want your full name posted or First name and last Initial
Submit your image to pt (at) thehdrimage.com You know, put an @ where the at is. In The subject line of the E-mail say either: “Image for Feature” or “Image for Critique”
I’ll probably pick one Image a week and will decide on what day of the week to do this
OK Legal stuff: By submitting your image to me you grant me the license to post the Image on the HDR Image site. You also grant me the right to rebroadcast that image on any Social Media that the HDR Image may use. No other License is granted nor implied. You retain the full Copyright to your image
I’d like to have at least a post a day but trying to come up with ideas of what to talk about can be difficult and I don’t want to do articles on things that maybe you just have no interest in ( I think color management may have been one of those such posts)
So tell me in comments or email me of something that may be of interest for you or even a question you have that may make a great subject for a post.
After all, this blog is for YOU, I hear myself talk all day long so I don’t need to hear what I have to say
Like I said, no opinion was right or wrong. It was just to see for myself what people prefer and maybe even for YOU to see what you prefer.
The two images were the same combined 7 Exposure 1 stop merge
Each were processed using a Photomatix Pro 4.1 Preset, Image A was the “Grunge” Preset in Photomatix. Image B, was my own preset that I made and use for my starting point for almost every image.
My Preset consists of the following: Detail Enhancer, Strength 70, Saturation 70, Lighting Adjustment: Natural, Gamma 1.20
In Contrast (Pun intended), The Grunge settings are: Detail Enhancer, Strength 100, Saturation 80, Luminosity 10, Detail Smoothing 10, Lighting Adjustments: Surreal, White Point 1.779%, Black Point 0.20%, Gamma .80
Or I guess we could say, as far apart as possible.
Neither one was finished with any post processing. I wanted to see the reactions to the Presets in Photomatix alone.
The actual finished image using my Preset and then finishing in Photoshop would have looked something more like this.
Thanks to all that participated, I found it interesting. I hope you did too.