Lake Murray under threatening skies

How I Did It

Now that I have a fine fine fine super computer for all my digital photo editing needs, I’m testing it out like there’s no tomorrow.

One of the software programs that I have always wanted—but didn’t want to pay $99 for because the full-featured trial program never would operate on my old computer—is Photomatix. Photomatix takes pictures, preferably a set of bracketed pictures, and creates a high dynamic range (HDR) picture.

Today I downloaded the trial version. It worked. So I paid $99, got a registration key, and went to town. Following is my first HDR picture created from three bracketed pictures of -1, 0, and +1. I look forward to trying this with -3, 0, +3 and even -5, 0, +5.  Since Photomatix can use many many pictures, maybe even a bracketed set of -5, 4, -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3, +4, +5. It will be interesting to see what I can create.

Lake Murray, La Mesa CA, under threatening skies.Lake Murray, La Mesa CA, under stormy skies

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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23 thoughts on “Lake Murray under threatening skies

    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Thank you!
      “Bracketed” means that you take one picture at normal exposure, another picture 1 stop underexposed, and another picture 1 stop over exposed. Or 2 stops. Or 3 stops. Or 4 stops. Or 5 stops. The underexposure brings definition to bright areas. Overexposure brings definition to dark areas. Visualize a dark room with a bright window. If you take a picture to bring down the exposure of the window, your room will be a silhouette. If you take a picture to bring up the light in the room, the window will be just a big bright blob. Bracketing solves those problems and gives you a finished product that shows good definition in the room and in the window. You might even be able to see the view out the window!

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          Most software today (Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, etc.) have a menu setting for creating one HDR photo using three or more pictures. Photomatix is dedicated to doing that. Some (Photoshop, Photomatix) can even simulate an HDR photo by using just one photo. One could also create three photos using one photo by increasing or decreasing the brightness of that one photo and then saving the resulting pictures. Then take those three pictures into an HDR program. It all is so much fun, but it can be confusing, as it was to me when I first tried doing it.

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          1. acflory

            Meh…I actually have Paintshop Pro as part of my Corel X8 package but I’ve never learned how to use it, possibly because I don’t really work with photos. In this case though, the finished item is so nice I’m almost tempted to learn. 🙂

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            1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

              I think you have Photo-Paint as part of the X8 package, as do I. I used to use Photo-Paint and Draw exclusively but as Adobe took over the world as a default, I moved to Photoshop and Illustrator. If only Corel did better marketing……… Photo-Paint will do HDR, though, as will Paintshop Pro (which I also have).

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              1. acflory

                ah! lol I know the naming of these products was deliberate but my tired old brain always mixes them up. I did try Photoshop a long time ago but I went back to Corel because it made more ‘sense’ to me.

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                1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

                  You’re not the only one for whom Corel makes more sense. I just wish more people used it, and they probably would if Corel would learn to do marketing like Adobe does. Another problem is that Corel doesn’t build for the Apple iOS. That’s a huge market they are dismissing.

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                  1. acflory

                    Yeah, it’s a bit like Intel and AMD when it comes to cpu’s. Intel has a great marketing department.
                    Corel keep sending me offers to upgrade to the latest version. It’s fairly cheap but I’ve already spent a bit on X8. Don’t know if it’s really worth it. Any ideas?

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                    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

                      Intel & AMD is very, very similar! I have not upgraded from X8 yet but I’m not sure I ever will since I have dedicated myself to all things Adobe at this point. So I don’t know the differences between X8 and X10.

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                    2. acflory

                      Ah, rats. lol I was hoping to pick your brains. Well, if I do decide to upgrade I’ll let you know.
                      Speaking of Corel and marketing, I wonder why none of the big developers keep a ‘back inventory’ – i.e. older products at a much cheaper price. I know they want everyone to upgrade and pay more, but in terms of users, there will always be a continuum ranging from those who have to get the latest in everything, to those, like me, who are price conscious amateurs and never buy the latest. If Corel made their older products available, I’d be happier paying them rather than some unknown seller on Ebay.
                      I guess the disruptive technology hasn’t filtered that far down the food chain yet.

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                    3. Russel Ray Photos Post author

                      Don’t be afraid of the “unknown sellers” on eBay, though. eBay has a super Money Back Guarantee. Look for sellers who have been around a long time but remember that any seller who has been around a long time is going to have some negative transactions. I recently bought my new Tamron 150-600 lens from a seller who has been at eBay since 2003 with over 265,000 transactions but a 98.6 satisfaction rating. My other choice was a seller who got started in January 2017, had 57 transactions but a 100 rating. With the first, I had a significant chance of being in the 98.6, but with the other guy, I was afraid that I was going to be his first bad transactions.

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                    4. acflory

                      lol – I do understand those numbers! And I agree with you re the 98.6% satisfaction rating. My only real concern re the X8 was that it might not be ‘genuine’, as in, I might not be able to register it is a proper commercial licence. Thank goodness everything went perfectly, but it was a niggle until I knew for sure.
                      I assume you’re happy with your lens?

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                    5. Russel Ray Photos Post author

                      Gray market items are always a problem, but possibly even more so with hard goods rather than software. I bought my Tamron 150-600 lens with all sorts of bundled goodies for $1,399. The lens itself retails for $1,399, so when someone bundles $500 worth of goodies with it, it’s a cause for concern and usually means the main item in the bundle is a gray market item. I took a chance because of eBay’s Money Back Satisfaction guarantee. When I got the lens and went to register it, Tamron accepted it as an original United States lens, registered it, and gave me the 6-year warranty. This is not the first time I’ve bought like this, but something that I do subscribe to is buying from an outfit located in the United States in order to get those United States registrations and warranties. The U.S. still is the largest market in the world so we get a little extra from manufacturers.

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                    6. acflory

                      Whoa…that’s a big leap of faith! I’m glad it all ended well. To be honest, all the items I’ve bought on Ebay have been good so I have no reason to be so wary but…as you say, gray items are gray items. Your point about US sellers is not something I’ve thought about before but it does make sense. I’ll check the seller location next time I buy something. 🙂

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