Thursday, 20 January 2011

HDR Images Part 2 - Taking those Images and turning them in to something

So, a quick recap -

Camera settings
Your camera should be set to AV or aperture priority.
Your ISO should be no more than 100 (to reduce noise in the photo).
Your camera should be set-up for bracketing of -2,-0,+2 exposures.
Your should be using a high aperture setting such as f16 to ensure the foreground and distance are both pin sharp (for landscapes focusing a third of the way in to the scene should enable you to get good focus and sharpness from the foreground to infinity).
For long exposures use a release cable or remote.

OK you have your basic set-up, so what now? What I would suggest is test shots and lots of them. Especially if you have been previously unfamiliar with bracketing exposures I found it useful to practise because you are essentially setting up your camera to take 3 perfect shots which can take some doing.

To start with you need to have 3 images of the same subject (you can increase this to 6 and then 9 once you have mastered taking 3).One normally exposed image to capture the mid ranges, one under exposed to capture the shadow detail and one over exposed to capture the highlight detail. However do consider that you can under expose an image too far which will cause you to loose too much detail in the shadows and likewise over exposing a image can cause loss of detail in the highlights. Also please ensure you are correctly exposing the mid ranges too! Your histogram can really help at this stage to work out if you over over or under exposing too much.

Please don't think at this point that it is overly complicated and difficult because it really isn't! It just takes practise. It is very similar to the way in which you first learnt how to expose an image correctly by adjusting the shutter speed or aperture. You just need to keep in mind that you will be doing this but for two extra images at the same time! This is is why I mentioned early in part 1 "Firstly an HDR image is not just created in photoshop or Photomatrix etc, an HDR image starts with the first image you take. You have to consider the exposure of your first image with the frame of mind that you are taking it for High Dynamic Range".

The above three images enabled me to create the image below. To find out how you will need to read Part 3 - The Post production Options. Coming soon!

Full size here! 

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