Photomatix Pro

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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 »

2011 Gift Guide

Monday, October 17th, 2011

My Top Picks

Apple iPad 2 MC775LL/A Tablet (64GB, Wifi + AT&T 3G, Black)

If you plan to use the iPad to display your photos, get this model which has 64GB. The 3G network isn’t manditory but I have found myself wishing that I had gotten the 3G version when there isn’t a Wi-Fi network in the vacinity. iPad apps such as NIK Software’s Snapseed and Adobe’s Photoshop Express make this gift a no brainer — display and edit your photos. Who can resist that combination?

Eye-Fi Pro X2 8 GB Class 6 SDHC Wireless Flash Memory Card

The Eye-Fi Pro can wirelessly send your photos to your computer, iPad, iPhone, Picassa, Facebook, Flickr, or YouTube. When combined with an iPad or iPhone, you have got a great combination that works with or without a Wi-Fi network. The Eye-Fi can now create its own network for the iPad or iPhone to join! The new iPad software for the Eye-Fi is much easier to use and can now change the configuration of the Eye-Fi card. This is a welcome addition to the software. Some digital cameras can even communicate with the Eye-Fi card. Other versions of the Eye-Fi card to consider are the Eye-Fi Connect X2 or Eye-Fi Mobil X2.

Epson Stylus R2000 Wide-Format Wireless Inkjet Printer

Pigment inks that last a 100 years, individual ink cartridges, accepts paper up to 13″ wide, and wireless 802.11n support round out the features of this robust printer. The ink is Espon’s Ultrachrome Hi-Gloss pigment ink. The Epson Stylus R2000 can even print on glossy, matte,  fine art paper and canvas. Being able to also print on ink jet printable CD/DVDs is a bonus. It can also load cut-sheet or roll paper in sizes up to 13″ wide.

Photomatix Pro

Photomatix Pro gives you incredible control over the look of an HDR image. You can produce images that range from natural to extreme and everything in between. It comes with many presets that help you to instantly create dramatic results. This software is my first choice when creating HDR images.

Framed Artwork

Of course, you should have guessed that my gift guide would not be complete without mentioning my own photographs. You can order many different sizes to fit your budget. The prints can be framed or mounted on foam core. There are even gallery wraps available.

You can also have your own photographs framed or mounted by going direct to MPix. This is the company I use for printing and framing the artwork ordered through my gallery.

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 »