Three quick takes on HDR

Three quick takes on HDR

Every couple of weeks (on payday essentially, so I remember to do it), I go searching through my photo collection for a new Facebook cover image. There’s a couple of reasons for this I suppose: one, I like having cover images that change periodically since it allows me to show off some photos that I’m proud of; and, two, it forces me to continue to learn how to take what you might call good photos. I do not pretend to be a great photographer, but I continually try and cultivate an “eye” for a well-composed image. Some days that “eye” is there, and then some days I’m just glad I don’t use film anymore because I’d be broke.

Footbridge over the Swale

Anyway, today during my search (that resulted in choosing the above photo), I came across some bracketed photos that I’d taken for later processing as HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos. For creating an HDR image you’ve traditionally had to take three photos in rapid succession of the same scene: one at normal exposure, one underexposed by a couple of stops, and one over exposed by the same couple of stops. The theory goes that, with the right software (I use PhotoMatix Pro) the overexposed image provides detail in the shadows, and the underexposed image details in the highlights. For a lot of HDR images, the underexposed photo provides definition in the clouds in the sky, as it has for my images that follow.

The first thing that I had to do was update my copy of PhotoMatix Pro to the latest version (5.0.1 at the time of writing). I suppose I could have continued to use my previous version, but the update cost was minimal and very worth it. I then created three very different HDR images using the standard presets that come with the app. The bracketed photos I found were of the end of a lane in Muker, North Yorkshire.

Cottages In Muker (Enhanced HDR preset)

The first HDR image I produced is a more realistic view of the scene. It uses the “Enhanced” preset.

Cottages In Muker (Creative HDR preset)

Then I started to play around a bit with the Artistic presets and produced this one, which is a slightly tweaked image using the “Creative” preset as base.

Cottages In Muker (Monochrome2 HDR preset)

Finally, a more traditional monochrome image, but still HDR.

All in all, a bit of fun. Of the three, I’d have to say I do like the middle one, based on the Creative preset. It looks nice and Yorkshire gloomy to go along with the rainclouds.

Album cover for Black LightNow playing:
Groove Armada - Shameless feat. Bryan Ferry
(from Black Light)

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