HDR Photography

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PhotoTube: Tutorials and Videos for Photographers

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

PhotoTube.info is a website dedicated to photography videos containing tips for producing HDR, infrared, landscape, portrait, flash, macro, night, and product photographs. It is a relatively new website but already contains hundreds of instructional videos. Here is a list of some of the most viewed videos:

  • phototubeDSLR Tips: Night Photography
  • Strobist Preliminaries
  • DSLR Tips: How to blur backgrounds on portraits
  • DSLR Tips: How to blur water for a dreamy effect
  • Merge to HDR in Photoshop
  • Long Exposure Turorial
  • DSLR Tips: Using polarizing filters
  • Secrets of Amazing HDR Photography
  • Night Photography: Finding Your Way in the Dark
  • HDR Photography
  • Strobist Softbox Technique Tutorial
  • In-Camera HDR Using Multiple Exposure
  • Photoshop Tutorial: Creating an HDR Image from a Single RAW File
  • Canon T2i 550D HDR Tutorial
  • Shooting the Moon
  • Landscape Photography Tips: Creative Composition
  • 20 Essential Things for Landscape Photography

It is easy to see which videos have been Recently Added, Most Viewed, and Top Rated as well as many categories. PhotoTube is definitely worth checking out! Oh, by the way, it is completely free!

Tutorial: How to Shoot HDR Images

Monday, November 26th, 2012

17th Street Causeway Bridge (HDR)HDR (High Dynamic Range) emphasizes texture and color. It has become extremely popular for landscapes and cityscapes but is also used for food and sports photography. HDR images of food look delicious and the essential oils glissen. For sports such as body building, every muscle and vein pops off the page. HDR images actually have greater color depth than a standard digital photograph. Click to continue »

Review: HDR Efex Pro 2

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Summary: HDR Efex Pro 2 is a major improvement over the original version. Not only is it much faster, the presets are usable right out of the box. Finally, Photomatix has competition. I highly recommend upgrading. If you already own HDR Efex Pro, the upgrade cost is only $49.

Review: I seldom used the original HDR Efex Pro. It was deadly slow and, quite frankly, I hated the presets. Version 2 fixes all that and more. I could now find HDR Efex Pro 2 my go-to program for HDR. The new presets are extremely usable and the program is now speedy. Click to continue »

Bracketing

Monday, July 30th, 2012

What Is Bracketing?

Backeting is taking several shots of the same subject using different exposure settings. Usually three shots are taken.

  • The exposure the camera thinks is correct
  • One shot darker
  • One shot lighter

Any of the settings that affect exposure (aperture, speed, ISO) can be used to manually bracket shots.

Why Bracket?

The main reason I bracket is to produce three shots that can be merged together as an HDR image. When bracketing to create an HDR image, don’t change the aperture — just change the shutter speed. If you change the aperture, you will also change the depth of field in each of the bracketed shots. Changing ISO could introduce digital noise. Since HDR images are already noisy, reducing digital noise is the better choice. When bracketing for HDR, exposures are usually 1-2 stops  apart. I have successfully used 3 stops between exposures.

Another reason to bracket has to do with lighting conditions. If your camera is having problems finding the best exposure, you can turn on bracketing so that you have a range of exposures for every shot. When bracketing to get the best exposure, use more subtle settings. Depending on your camera, you can set the bracketing to 1/3 or 1/2 stops between exposures. Click to continue »

Photoshoot: Spanish Monastery

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Spanish MonasteryOvercast skies would have produced rather flat photographs so I waited for a bright sunny day. Finally the weather allowed me to schedule the photoshoot. I called ahead to ensure that there weren’t any conflicting events. I was told that weren’t any events until after 3:00 PM. That wasn’t quite accurate.

When I pulled into the parking lot at 11:00 AM, it looked full so I expected quite a few people to be roaming around the monastery. Unfortunately, I had to share the monastery with a band that was taping a video. They had staked out the back half of the monastery. They basically stayed in their area but did come into my field of view several times. I was able to take quite a few photographs but I had to use a vertical composition to keep the band members, videographers, and their equipment out of my shots. Next time I visit the monastery, I hope to be able to take some horizontal shots.

I was glad that I had thought about the photoshoot and was prepared but I still felt rather rusty when I started to take photographs. Photography is like playing a musical instrument. You must practice to be proficient and I hadn’t been on a photoshoot in about a month! It took a few shots for me to feel comfortable with my camera’s settings. My subject wasn’t going anywhere so I didn’t miss any shots but I did feel awkward at first. Click to continue »

Photoshoot: Spanish Monastery (Preparations)

Monday, May 21st, 2012

The Cloister’s of the Ancient Spanish Monastery is extremely popular site for weddings, receptions, and quinceañera’s in South Florida.

History of the Cloisters

The Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux was built in Sacramenia, in the Province of Segovia, Spain, during the period 1133-1144. It was originally dedicated in honor of the Blessed Mother and named the “Monastery of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels.” Upon the canonization of the famous Cistercian Monk, Bernard of Clairvaux, a leading influence in the Church during that period, the Monastery was renamed in his honor. Cistercian monks occupied the monastery for nearly 700 years. The Cloisters were seized, sold, and converted into a granary and stable due to a social revolution in that area in the mid-1830’s. In 1925 William Randolph Hearst purchased the Cloisters and the Monastery’s out- buildings. The structures were dismantled stone by stone, bound with protective hay, packed in some 11,000 wooden crates, numbered for identification and shipped to the United States. Click to continue »

Video: Photomatix Pro Tutorial

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Photomatix Pro is a program that can create stunning High Dynamic Range (HDR) images from high contrast subjects that defy being captured in one exposure. The results can range from ultra real to surreal.

The thumbnails below are images created with Photomatix Pro presets:

Usually, it is best to take multiple exposures of a subject in order to create the RAW files that will be combined into an HDR. For this tutorial, I created multiple exposures from a single RAW file by using Photoshop. Click here to read my post about creating the exposures needed to make a fake HDR image.

Click to continue »

Secrets of Creating a Fake HDR

Thursday, July 28th, 2011
Faro Blanco HDR

Fake HDR

A real HDR is created by taking a series of photographs with different exposures then merging them together in software in order to tone map the separate exposures into one HDR image that has an extremely high dynamic range. Since the photographs used to create the HDR are separate shots, anything that is moving can be problematic because a moving object is in a different spot in each photograph. The HDR software can’t align a moving object. It is possible to remove the ghosts but I have experimented with creating fake HDR images of moving subjects such as water. Instead of using multiple exposures, I take one good exposure and create separate files from one RAW photograph then merge the files together into an HDR image. The resulting image does not have the same dynamic range as a real HDR but it does have the unique look of an HDR. Expect additional noise in the shadows. Click the image to the right to see what I mean. I have read that you can’t or shouldn’t create exposures from one file but I find that the process can create a compelling image out of a lackluster one. Take a look at the difference between these photos and judge for yourself.

Here are the steps that I took in order to create the HDR pictured in this post. Click to continue »