Monday, October 25, 2010

A New Technique

Maybe you have seen a picture on the internet or in ads that just catches your eye because the details look surreal and just too good for a camera to capture.  Chances are that picture is an HDR image.  The Wiki link explains it better than I can but I'll just give you the short and dirty of what I did for my own shot at a High Dynamic Range Image- this new technique in photo editing (for me anyhow).

I took three pictures of the same image within half a second.  I didn't use a tripod but I should have.  Luckily I stayed still enough for a good turn out.  I set up my camera to ulter the three shots exposure by almost 2 stops above and below a "good" exposure.

Here are my 3 shots.  You can see the first one is pretty light and shows more details in the gravel and building, the middle was what my camera told me was a balanced exposure and the third is underexposed and dark, but shows nice color and definition in the sky and clouds.
Then I take these three images into Photoshop.  There's a feature in there where you can merge the three pictures into one, and do minor adjustments for color and contrast.  Here is my collaboration of the 3.
And then, for a little icing on the cake, there is something called tone mapping.  I don't really know what it is or how to describe it but I do know that it kind of effects more of the lighting.  Photoshop alone does not do tone mapping and I ended up downloading a special plug in- I think it was photomatrix.  And this allowed me to get the image that I think it pretty cool!!
You know, I think photography is really cool how it captures moments and memories but many times the picture just doesn't do justice to the real thing.  I think it's because camera's will never be as advanced as our eye sight and so we have to choose what we expose the picture for...  should I expose for the gorgeous sky and loose the forground to over exposure or make sure the foreground is just so but then the sky is blown out.  Well with this technique, I think you can get closer to what our eyes actually see!  It feels much more life-like to me.  There are capabilities that you can go over the top and just get a very surreal and un realistic picture but I tried to rein myself in to keep it close to what I actually saw.

Just for kicks, here's a total "grunged" out edit.

Anyhow, I'm pretty excited about the fact that it actually worked for me.  I have seen HDR imaging for a while and just been so overwhelmed and discouraged when I even thought about trying it.  Just another building block in learning more about photography and broadening my skills as a photography enthusiast!



Chey's Dad said...

you could easily become the 'Ansel Adams' of digital photography!

Mom said...

Your first make-over (to me) looks pretty much like the #1 shot but a little lighter, but on the second one... the wall REALLY pops out and the gravel, stone patio and cacti are so much more visable. I agree that it's probably more what your eye takes in that's hard to capture with the average camera. The 'grunge effect' really makes the saguaro pop out and looks haloed. Very interesting!!

Snakeye said...

Hey, I'm pretty sure Photoshop does tone matching... like matching a pictures tones/coloring to another so you can make them look like they're from the same lighting? Photoshop definitely does that.