Archive for HDR Photography

Oct
26

Cityscapes: After Dark

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Allow me to introduce myself. I am known as an HDR photographer of cityscapes, landscapes, and urban exploration. About a year ago I decided to take photography very seriously. Some of the questions I had asked myself were, what did I want to photograph? What exactly were my intentions behind the camera? I thought Philadelphia would make a beautiful canvas to start my photography journey, and so it began. Most of the available time I had to shoot was during the evening, so I first set out with a tripod and cable release to capture non HDR long exposures after dark. I think any photographer beginning today with an interest in HDR can benefit from this structured workflow. Long exposures at night can teach you the discipline in which HDR photography revolves around.

One of the hardest things about shooting after dark, is being able to see thru your viewfinder. These conditions also make it difficult to focus your lens. It’s always best before composing your shot, to zoom in and focus on an area that has available light. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve composed first, to discover that I can’t lock in my focus point. Once you have locked in your focus point, turn off autofocus. You don’t want your camera to refocus before the shutter opens. Read More→

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Love it or hate it, high dynamic range photography (and video if you’ve been keeping an eye on Soviet Montage Productions) is the future. HDR photography isn’t new by any means but the technologies that are evolving are quite exciting.

Photoshop CS5 was shipped with it’s latest HDR innovation and Canon have raised the game with their recent patent application (USPTO Appl. No. 12/630,594). Without going to to too many details, it seems that Canon have found a way to alter exposure values at pixel level, thus creating a single image, from a single frame, with a wider dynamic range than we’ve seen from any DSLR.

Now that’s pretty exciting wouldn’t you say?

I had plans to head to the PhotoCreative workshop and build a camera from the ground up which uses a beam splitter optic and two full frame sensors… but this might prove a tad time consuming and somewhat expensive so I’ll wait to see what Canon come up with!

The thing is I’m not really a massive fan of HDR software… I’m a wedding and portrait photographer, so posing a subject in a Daguerreian style whilst a capturing multiple frames it’s terribly practical.

Till Canon tempt me into another camera body with this new technology, I’ve settled for merely taking advantage of the wonderful range that my RAW images already have.

Just for the record I don’t use Lightroom or any ‘reclaiming’ tools. All of my RAW files are processed using Aperture (which gives you a better range to work with than Camera RAW). The changes after that are all done in Photoshop utilizing the channels.

Here’s quick example of how I like to increase the dynamic range of my images…. (This isn’t a full on tutorial but the fundamentals are there) Read More→

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So, you finished reading ‘HDR Best Practices Guide – Part I: In The Field’, and went out for a shoot. You had all of your wits and your gear about you when you set up your tripod and fired off those lovely brackets. You’ve got the raw materials (fine, pun partially intended) and now it’s time to refine them into something truly beautiful.

My original intent for Part II of this HDR Best Practices Guide was to delve into the actual tone-mapping and post processing steps around HDR. But, I felt that I would totally be glossing over an extremely important part of the whole HDR photography lifecycle by ignoring Image Management. So, I decided to devote Part II of this Guide to this topic because a clean home is a happy home. Part III will nose dive into the goodness of Photomatix, Photoshop, and everything in between.

I could write a whole book on the importance of image management. Many people already have. Your images are your primary, precious  resources. As such, they have to be properly cataloged and inventoried so that you know exactly what you are looking for, how to find it, and how to deal with it. Image Management is critical when you’re simply dealing with single images. Imagine what happens when you’re dealing with several brackets per HDR image. Here are some ‘Best Practices’ that I religiously follow to help prevent myself from losing sanity over my  abyss of brackets.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye, 15mm, F 5.6, ISO 100, HDR, 9 Exposures - Click on image to enlarge

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One of the most common questions that I get asked by readers is how does While Balance and Color Profiling play into my HDR work flow. I think it is an extremely valid question to ask and it is critical that you address in your own work flows. Unfortunately, I don’t think that many people consider this when shooting brackets. So, I wanted to add this blog post that I wrote for X-Rite some time ago and breathe new life into it. I hope it helps give you a better idea of how integral it is to achieve correct white balance and color profiles.

Old car photo

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As photographers, we all have stories about how we have grown, refined, and crafted our individualized techniques, all with the goal of capturing the best picture that is within our means. For me, it has been more of an evolution than actual growth. It wasn’t so much building on top of what I knew as it was morphing it into something different. It was about addressing a mental itch and experimenting with all sorts of deviations until I took my next evolutionary step in digital photography. And that is how I found myself truly immersed in High Dynamic Range (HDR) Imaging. Read More→

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Hello.  My name is Brian and I love HDR.

Brian Matiash HDR House Image

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L, 17mm, F 4, ISO 100, HDR, 9 Exposures

Ok.  It has been said.  So, what do we do now?  Well, I figure that if you’re going to obsess about doing something, at least obsess about doing it the best that you can.  And that is what my hope is with this post – to share the knowledge that I’ve picked up after over the years shooting brackets for HDR imaging.

I have been inspired by the selfless sharing of knowledge from some of my favorites in the HDR world, notably Trey Ratcliff and the wonderful folks at The Windy Pixel.  And so, I began putting together notes that I have kept in my head or in my Evernote book and compiled what you are about to read.

I recently had the opportunity to present on HDR Photography to a group of photographers and one part of my presentation dealt with the best practices that I follow every time I go out to shoot for HDR, as well as when I’m at home processing the shots.  It turned out that this part of the presentation was very well-received and so I figured that it may help to share these tips here. Read More→