About the HDR Image:
This was taken on a photo walk during a demonstration to students learning to capture images for HDR. I came across this scene of a local restaurant in a off season tourist area. It looked like a very country homespun scene that had the earmarks for a great HDR. Lots of detail to capture as well as interesting lighting to deal with.
Equipment, Software and Techniques Used:
My camera of choice is a Nikon D300 and the lens I love the most is a Sigma 10 - 20 mm. I use a dedicated HDR software which is Photomatix Pro 4. This is the software I use to produce the HDR images after taking 5 or more exp. (2 stops up, 2 stops down, 1 even or more depending on conditions) Raw files. Once the image is produced I then go to Nikons NX2 software. (Nik software is the developer and they have some fantastic products for PP.) I make corrections in NX2 (I must say that I would look at each image differently and I use NX2 because it faster and easier to make corrections in NX2 than in Photoshop.) but simple curves adjustments to correct light temp. to highlighting clouds to reducing a overly bright background. Then I finally go to Photoshop. (I actually use Photoshop 7 and Photoshop Elements 9, along with an Intuos 4 tablet.) I also do a lot of dodging & burning, layer adjustments, to darken an image. I suppose the subject matter is the most important part of my getting "that" look. I go out when the weather is lousy--the best time to get great skies--stormier the better! I have to also tell you I studied Art & Art History and the great old master painters to emulate the light that I look for or try to create. It takes me anywhere from 1 hr to 8 hours to get what I want out of an image. That's it, as I have stated this is really a demonstrable effect and not just an applied filter effect. As far as preset in Photomatix Pro. the tone mapping sliders are independent or defaulted so it's really a matter of playing around till you can get what you want.
Some of my students that I teach HDR were really shooting low dynamic or mid dynamic scenes. What you need to look for are scenes where shadows are blocked up or highlights are normally blown out during standard spot or dynamic metering from your camera. So that's about it and a lot of practice over the years to get my particular look to my images.
Tips and Tricks
- Know your camera well, learn how to set your camera up for easy bracketed shots.
- Understand the best way to process your images with current software available, and no, it's not Photoshop. I found that through trial and error, Photmatix Pto 4 is the best software for HDR that I have ever used. Some say that the new version of Photoshop is much better at HDR. I found it slow and it did not give me the look that I would get from Photomatix.
- I do have some other secrets, but I only reveal them on my blog.
Is photography your profession or a hobby?
It is my profession. I specialize in HDR photography. I also teach HDR to other photographers of varying levels of understanding & skill level. I present a seminar on HDR to various photo groups & clubs.
How long have you been interested in photography?
I have been interested and practicing photography for over 30 yrs. I started with film (obviously) and broke into digital in 2004. I have been involved in digital image manipulation since 1994. I currently also teach digital darkroom techniques privately and publicly.
You may share your website or contact information:
My website is: www.it-just-clicks.ifp3.com