I am getting my feet wet with High Dynamic Range Imaging or HDRI or HDR. For the most part I see these images posted on the internet -- Flickr and the like -- and think...why? Why would someone do that to a perfectly good photo? Why cartoon or comic-book it up like they do?
Well -- I have seen some lately that don't come close to looking cartoonish (not that there is anything wrong with a cartoon -- but you know what I mean). Some I have seen -- usually the more architectural -- look pretty darn good. Still crossing over the threshold of a photo to blend photography and computer graphics -- but looking great.
These make me curious...
I kind of like them -- and that means I want to do one. So far all I have done is download a trial version of some software and play with a couple old photos I had. The software I chose is Photomatix from HDR Soft. You can download it -- the full version -- play with it and if you like it buy a code that will remove a watermark from your finished photos. I say I like this -- I don't know if I like it enough yet to buy the software. My feeling has always been -- I like to take a nice photo with the camera -- or I woud rather spend time with my camera than I would with the computer. Having the laptop has made this a little easier though. Now my 'darkroom' work is done in the evenings, after dinner, sitting with my feet up and I am on the couch. You have to admit there is not much worth watching on TV anyway -- so I might as well edit photos.
When you create an HDR photo you essentially have taken three photos of the same scene; one overexposed, one underexposed and one spot on. Since I am playing with old photos -- I only have the one version -- spot on. So I went into Elements to create the others. I opened my photo (jpg) in Camera RAW and used the exposure slider to create one photo +2 exposure value and another photo -2 exposure value. I saved each and of course the original. Then it was time to move on to the stand alone program of Photomatix and let it do its thing.
From there I followed directions and created a couple photos I thought looked OK. This is still very new to me and I don't know how much attention I will give it. I know I need to find some excellent architecture and give that a go. I have some old photos that would work -- but I really want to do it completely correct -- taking the three shots of the same scene and then merging those. I have never really used that auto exposure bracketing feature on the camera -- now it will get a work out.
The photos on the blog today are the regular and the HDR version of my 'Drought at Line Creek.' The lighter one is the HDR. If you look closely, you will see the Photomatix watermarks in the photo.
Also -- funny thing -- after I downloaded the program yesterday and started to play I checked out a friend's blog. Andy is a photographer I have known for a while. Guess what his blog post was about yesterday....HDR! Great minds think alike Andy! For more info on HDR -- check out Andy's blog here: Light Centric Photography.
Another thing I did yesterday was download the 7 Photography Questions podcast on HDR. Now I need to carve out a few minutes to listen to that.