Nature Notes

November 9, 2009

HDR Lite

Filed under: Photography Tips,Photoshop Tutorial,Processing Tips,Waterfalls — Tags: , , , — Harold Stiver @ 7:10 am
Borers Falls: Finished Image

HDR Lite

For my purposes, HDR processing is successful if the viewer is not sure if it was used. Lets call this HDR Lite.

I have been working on a project to photograph Ontario’s waterfalls, and often these images have a large dynamic range. Consider that these images my be required to record the near white of the water to the near black of rock crevices and it is easy to see that it could be a problem for any camera.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) processing is designed to tackle this type of problem, it is a process where a series is taken of the same scene with a range of exposures. An example may be three images taken at -1, regular, and +1 exposure. These are then combined in the computer for a composite image. I use Photomatix for this.

Minus 2 Exposure 0 Exposure Plus 2 Exposure

Above are the base exposures used at -2,0,+2 exposure (You can click on them for a large resolution). While I didn’t want an extreme example of HDR processing, I did want to bring out the natural fall colors as well as the complete dynamic range. Photomatix has different processing methods available but each on their own was not what I was looking for. Lets take a look.

Details Enhancer

The above image is the result of using Details Enhancer at the default settings. I like the foliage detail it has brought out but it lacks contrast and is too light.

Tone Compressor

This image above was processed using the Tone Compressor method. I like the contrast and color but it is too dark and lacks detail.

Lets see if we can get this porridge just right. I opened both images in Photoshop and copied one as a layer to the other. I then adjusted the Opacity of the second layer to incorporate the best features of each image. This can range from 30-70% but often I find I am happy with it at 50%.

For waterfalls, HDR processing has a bonus in that it gives the water a nice blur.

Thanks for reading this, I hope you find it useful.

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  1. […] Read this article: HDR Lite | Nature Notes […]

    Pingback by HDR Lite | Nature Notes | PhotoShopped — November 9, 2009 @ 11:26 am

  2. Did you try any other layer blending methods besides normal ?

    Some of the blending methods might produce different or intesting results when combining these 2 seperately HDR generated images. It’s a matter of just trying out every blending method, since the names don’t really always explain what they do. Seeying is believing here.

    Layers, blending and layer-masks is what makes PS so cool.

    Comment by Richard — November 9, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  3. I haven’t but I think that is an excellent idea, thank you.

    Comment by Harold — November 9, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

  4. I agree with your concept of HDR. I hate these HDRs with unnatural look!

    Comment by macroinstantes — November 10, 2009 @ 4:21 am

  5. Thanks for the kind words, its good to hear from you.

    Comment by Harold — November 10, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

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