For those who think photoshopping is bad
When Borders went out of business last year, the first thing I did was take advantage of my employee discount to get some books that I didn’t need right then but that I thought I would find interesting sometime in the future.
One of those books was “Practical HDR,” by David Nightingale (ISBN 978-0-240-82122-1).
I have rarely liked any of the HDR pictures I’ve seen. They just seem way overdone for me. Of course, they are art, so I let the artist have his day in the sun. Who am I to diss someone else’s art?
Photoshop CS6 has a HDR function that I have looked at but not really used. The recently released Paintshop Pro X5 has a new HDR function, and since I just upgraded to PSP X5 and saw the news about its HDR, I thought I would get out the “Practical HDR” book and do some light reading.
On page 7 in the Introduction, is the following. I have not fact checked it.
“…the earliest photographers looked for different ways to record high contrast, or “high dynamic range” images. In the 1850s, Gustave Le Gray produced a number of dramatic seascapes constructed from two negatives — one exposed for the sea, the other for the sky. He cut both negatives along the horizon, then used the two parts to create a single photographic print. In this way he was able to capture all of the detail in the scene, which would have been impossible with a single exposure. Motivated by the same problem, Charles Wyckoff developed a wide dynamic range film composed of three layers, each of which had a different sensitivity to light. He used this to produce photographs of nuclear explosions, which first appeared on the cover of Life magaine in the 1940s.”
I’m sure just about all of us have heard the fairly recent news about how the venerable Ansel Adams created his great pictures with dodging and burning, multiple exposures, and the like. His pictures didn’t just come out of the camera like that!
So why not recognize that, as my wise old grandmother said, “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with,” and use everything at our disposal to create the best pictures possible, or at least something that we consider art?
I was playing around with some “bad” pictures — i.e., underexposed and overexposed — and wondered what I might be able to obtain by merging them using the HDR functions in the two programs. Here is my most interesting art of a lone tree during sunrise at the top of Mount Helix in La Mesa, California:
I decided I liked that because of the ethereal, out-of-focus nature of everything except the center of the photograph. This resulted because the two pictures I used were handheld and slightly different in what I had focused on, exposure settings, and even the focal length of the lens. One picture was 57mm and the other was 55mm. Thus the two programs could not align them exactly.
Here are the two bad pictures I used:
With the many controls available in digital photo editing programs, even the two bad pictures could be cleaned up and made into very good pictures — especially if the file is a RAW file instead of a JPG file — using such things as exposure, contrast, brightness, highlights, shadows, etc. For example, here are the same two bad pictures cleaned up some:
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Posted on September 17, 2012, in Adobe, Corel, Digital photo editing, How I Did It, Mother & Father Nature and tagged la mesa sunrise pictures, mount helix sunrise pictures, san diego sunrise pictures, tree silhouetee pictures. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.