HDR

 

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High Dynamic Range photography can result some stunning photographs.  I do not consider myself as an expert in the process, but have some experience that I think can be beneficial to other photographers.

The process starts with bracketed exposures.  I recommend at least 3 exposures. Most D-SLR cameras can take 3 bracketed exposures at +/- 2 EV.

Memory cards are inexpensive.  I like my Canon T1i where I can save both RAW and JPG.  For most shooting (except action shots) I take 3 bracketed exposures.  That way I can make an HDR photo if I want.

As I started shooting more and more HDR photos, I realized I needed a point & shoot camera to carry in my bicycle jersey pocket.  Purchased my Canon S95 because it does bracketed exposures and can record in both RAW abd JPG.

 

 

HDR Software

 

The first thing you have to do it decide what software you want to use.  As HDR photography has been gaining in popularity, more software is coming on the market.  

Software vendors will allow you to download a trial (demo) version of their software.  This generally means there will be a watermark embedded in saved images.  Each software company uses its own tone mapping algorithm.  They can produce very different results.

HDR photographers recommend that you try the software.  Some are better at enhancing "normal" images.  Others are better at creating "art" where the process is taken to extremes. Select 2 or 3 different outputs that you like. Purchase the software and enjoy.

I have included a table listing the various HDR software packages which I have found. At this time, I use Photomatix Light and HDR Photo Pro.  Short discription of these 2 software packages and links to my experiences with them are below.

I prefer to start from RAW files for processing HDR images.  That can cause problems when you purchase a new camera.  Software companies can be a little slow developing RAW convertors.  In those cases, I have to use the JPG files.

 

 

 

Photomatix Light

 

This was the first HDR processing software that I used.  I am using the current 64 bit version 2.0.2.  This software has been updated to version 3 and the name has been changed to Photomatix Essentials

Photomatix Light by HDRsoft.com
$39.00 download

This is great software to use as you learn about the HDR process.  The price is right and you can get some stunning photos.  It is a little too easy to end up with a "over done" photo.

I recently started using the newer version Photomatix Essentials.  It has more pre-sets, including B&W conversions.

 

HDR Photo Pro

 

I have been using this software for most of my HDR work.  It gives me the best "true to life" rendition the tones.

HDR Photo Pro by Everimaging.com
$129.00 download (Price dropped to $79.00)

This software came on the market the end of 2010.  It is currently in version 1.0.0.

 With the uncertain status of HDR Photo Pro, I have been looking at additional HDR software packages.  Fhotoroom HDR shows some promise (previous Artizen HDR).  

Also evaluating Luminance HDR.  This is open source software (you Linux users know about open source software).  It is available in Windows 32, Windows 64, Mac OSx, and Linux versions.

Tom Winfield PhotographyEquipmentSoftwareHDR

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