Although I enjoy photographing unusual (and ordinary) people, my real joy of photography takes me out to unusual or beautiful locations to photograph objects or landscapes, sometimes even an “urbanscape” is worthy of capture too. Regardless, not every capture can come “straight out of camera” exactly as you wish. In fact, most of the time I see what I want from the image but know that their is no reasonable way I can get what I see in a single exposure. At the same time, I know I can easily set up and capture a bracket and make an HDR from it, more often than not, I can easily get a SINGLE exposure and do some extreme editing to get the very most detail and color out of the camera RAW file as possible.
Needless to say, that is what this video tutorial is about. Although it’s not my very best work, I felt it was a worthy image and I was working on it already since I captured this image just the night before.
On to the video! Read more…
So after a year or more of beta testing the upcoming Oloneo PhotoEngine HDR software, they are releasing the full version to be purchased at a price of $149 (beta users get a 25% discount) this May. After testing and using the beta for a long time, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is clearly the best and most easy to use HDR software currently. Although they don’t have a Mac native version available yet, I have had no problems using the software under VMWare Fusion 3.x on my Mac Pro (2008 8gig, 8-core w/ OS 10.6.x). Alternatively you could run it even better under Boot Camp if you don’t mind rebooting into Windows.
On the same subject, look for my upcoming full-length DVD video tutorial showing how to do your own HDR blends based on my award winning recipe for amazing HDR images. I will post more information about that as soon as I am ready to share more.
Press release after the jump: Read more…
Although HDR / HDRi imaging is nothing new to photographers, it seems to have gained in popularity over the last two years. Due to this increase in popularity, many major software vendors have decided to develop and release their own software for generating and processing these high dynamic range images. In the past to do HDR images, software was difficult to use, very slow and often had garish and unrealistic results. How times have changed since those early days…
Due to time constraints, I am going to just post a quick few lines on the currently Beta product from Oloneo called the “PhotoEngine”. The PhotoEngine software takes working with RAW captures to a whole new level. Imagine being able to “mix” light in multiple exposures like an audio engineer might use a mixer to blend different levels of instruments or effects. The PhotoEngine allows you to do something very similar to this. It also takes HDR do a new level with an easy to use interface and very good HDR processing for accurate and very realistic results.
Like most photographers, you may have the basic software to get the job done. Typically some version of Photoshop and possibly software that came with your camera for importing and processing files. But what about software for a very specific purpose? Or better yet, what software is worth even getting? I can honestly say that I have tested and tried many of the most popular plug-in’s and programs made for photographers and image processing. Most are decent in their own way, some are a waste of money but here is my short list of those that make the cut as my favorites and/or most used programs (excluding Photoshop which is a given).
The best camera setup for shooting photos to be used in HDR conversions is roughly the same as a careful setup for landscape or just any other type of carefully planned photograph. However, in order to get the best captures we can to work with, following a few quick steps first before shooting a series of images intended for HDR will give you a much better end result and less work on your part in editing.
Ah yes, on to Part 2 of the HDR Chronicles. In this part I would like to cover Tone Mapping and explain the image controls and what they do.
Part 1 has brought up some questions from posters and some thoughts I might like to clarify. First off, HDR is used to enhance or expand the dynamic range of an image beyond that of what the camera can naturally capture in a single frame. Thus you can get more “true to the eye” look to photos, such as you would see if you were viewing it with your own eyes. Of course this is if you choose to process your images for a realistic look. Sometimes you want hyper-realistic and that is a perfectly valid use for HDR as well.
True HDR images are made from a mixture of MORE than one exposure taken with the camera. Ideally the exposures used should cover the entire dynamic range of the image you are trying to produce. If that takes +/- 2 stops on top of the main exposure, go with that. If you need 5 or even 9 stops extra to get a very dynamic environment, by all means go for it. If you want to manually bracket 32 exposures for some odd reason, give it a try, you might get interesting results. Using extra frames may not help, but it should not hurt either. And the more data the software has to work with, the more likely the end result will process with smoother gradients, less noise and more detail. I call HDR using a single frame either reprocessed to multiple exposures or imported directly as a RAW file a “Psudo-HDR”. The Psudo-HDR can give you similar results as a true HDR but generally they contain more noise and have less accurate color and detail. I will be covering this in another part so hang on for that if you are interested.