Expose More Detail with HDR Photography

Expose More Detail with HDR Photography


5. Execute Tone Mapping (Or Just Play)


For all the science behind tone mapping, it’s really an art. And for as much as we feel an obligation to discuss color temperature, luminance, and saturation, the best instruction we can offer is this: Play. Just play with the array of buttons and sliders under the Details Enhancer tab and watch what happens. As you modify the settings, the preview will update. Depending on your Mac, that might take up to a few seconds. When you have an image you like, click Process to apply your settings, then save your masterpiece.


6. Admire Your Work

Three unremarkable photos become one amazing scene.


When processing is finished, save your image. Photomatix can save it as a TIFF or JPEG. At this stage you must choose: sit back and admire your handiwork, or go back to the HDR file you saved in Step 4 and make another one!


Then Again . . .


The simplicity of HDR photography makes it broadly accessible, but the dilettante in you may find $99 too dear. FDRTools Basic (www.fdrtools.com) is a free HDR processor that offers most of Photomatix’s feature set. It merges and aligns original images and offers strong tone-mapping tools. However, it’s written in Java and feels like a PC program, replete with menus inside windows and a gawky user interface. We also found the finished images inferior to Photomatix’s. But, hey, it’s free.




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stands for High Dynamic Range.



You wrote a whole article about HDR Photography without telling us what "HDR" means.



Is this in the mag as well, or only on the website? If it is website only, any chance we could get a downloadable PDF edition of useful things like this?



There is another technique for capturing the highest possible dynamic range out of your image; it's called film. Shoot film, and scan it yourself for the best of the old and new. Thank you!



I take pictures rarely enough that I would never finish a roll in time, as I hear you should get it developed within a certain timeframe of putting it in the camera.

I take lots of throwaway pictures.

The price of film is increasing, and developing is expensive.

The environmental ramifications of film are substantive.

Ultimately, for many many people (including me) film just is not a great option. And if I'm not mistaken, bracketing was pioneered for higher dynamic range using film cameras, and digital application came later.



More environmental alarmism. It seems to be everywhere these days.
I submit that the manufacturing and disposal of digital cameras and other often barely used electronic products is more of a tax on the environment than the occasional roll of film.
Your negatives will likely be around longer than the digital files, too.
Not because digital files can't last but technology changes so quickly and the majority of people won't do the constant maintenance of transferring files as is needed, also a waste of time, money for newer equipment, and electricity.
I saw a while back a segment on TV about a book, the premise of which was how counter intuitive good environmental practices can be. It was suggested that if you live more than a mile to the grocery store it would be better to take the car than walk.
Just food for thought.
I'm sure the self described, yet in large measure "phoney" environmentalists will forgo the new electronic craze of large flat screen TVs. The most environmentally friendly TV is the small, B&W units from years ago.
Imagine that.

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