Tag Archives: hdr

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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Get 15% off on Photomatix software for your HDR work

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have not been a big fan of HDR because I thought it was too extreme. There are two people whose HDR work I really like: Bashar Al-Kuwaiti at 2 Rivers Photos (a WordPress blog) and Debi Boucher, a blogging friend from 2007-2011.

Their work has encouraged me to keep trying.

 Recently I purchased Photomatix Pro, a standalone program specifically for HDR work. It’s quite a program. There are lots of presets in the program, or you can do everything yourself, or you can start with a preset and then modify it with all sorts of controls. Here are two that I did this morning of the pier at Ocean Beach:

Ocean Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ocean Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you want to try HDR, I can recommend the program, and I can even get you a 15% discount on it. Go here to buy the program, and use the coupon code PICTURECORRECT. That should give you a 15% discount, regardless of which version you buy (I bought Photomatix Pro for $99 retail, $84.15 with the 15% discount).

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Zoey the Cool CatZoey the Cool Cat having a cat nap

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Finished product creating by combing the above pictures

Interesting, but not me

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I spend 30 minutes each day, each program, studying Adobe Photoshop CS6, CorelDRAW x6, and Corel Photo-Paint X6. Photo-Paint is where I recently learned how easy it is to create animated GIFs.

One photographic technique that seems to be all the rage right now is HDR (High Dynamic Range). HDR takes advantage of all the things that digital cameras and photo editing software programs can do to create some interesting images. Personally, I don’t like 98.27810287523478734821% of the HDR work that is out there. I think people take it to the extreme which then simply creates art, and it’s an art that I don’t really like. I don’t like Thomas Kinkaid‘s work either.

The essence behind HDR means that I should be able to improve pictures without overcooking them by going to the extreme. However, HDR typically requires that you take at least three pictures, one exposed properly, one underexposed by one stop, and one overexposed by one stop. Some people take up to nine pictures at various exposures. The theory is that each exposure captures different information which is then combined to create one picture with the best of all exposures.

What happens if you only have one picture, like from the days before HDR? Funny you should ask…. I was wondering the exact same thing!

I took one picture and then overexposed and underexposed it using Photoshop CS6 to create the set of pictures that I didn’t originally have to start with. I didn’t know whether or not this tactic would lead to anything interesting, but I think it did, not that I necessarily like it. Fine tuning might allow me to really improve some of my older pictures.

Following are the set of pictures I used for this experiment. Remember that I only had the first picture to start with, creating the other four pictures from the first picture directly in Photoshop CS6.

Properly exposed

Properly exposed

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Underexposed one stop

Underexposed one stop

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Underexposed two stops

Underexposed two stops

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Overexposed one stop

Overexposed one stop

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Overexposed two stops

Overexposed two stops

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The underexposures allow you to obtain more detail in the bright areas. Look at the silver sphere in the upper right corner. See the difference?

Overexposures allow you to obtain more detail in the shadow areas. Look at the two plants in the lower left corner.

Combining all the pictures allows one to get a more even spread of light throughout the picture. Taking it to the extreme creates surreal pictures like what Photoshop CS6 gave me:

Finished product created by combining the above pictures

Finished product created by combining the above pictures

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now what I want to learn is how to control what Photoshop does while combining the many images because the finished product there is too surreal for my tastes. Interesting, but not me.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos