Thursday, 31 March 2011

HDR Tutorial

Ok. I promised you I'd give you quick idea of how to produce an HDR photograph. In order to do this as best as possible, you're going to need a camera that is capable of being switched into manual mode or has an 'autobracket' function and a good quality tripod or failing that, arms like Arnie to hold the camera still.

Basically you need to set your camera up so that it will take three pictures of the same correctly exposed, one underexposed and one overexposed. I'm led to believe that it's best to shoot the under and overs by 2 stops each. Gottit? One correctly exposed. One 2 stops underexposed and one 2 stops Overexposed. This will allow you to capture the full dynamic range that your eye would normally see.

Have a looky here....


This isn't bad. The camera's done a reasonable job of 'averaging' out the exposure but as it's top heavy, the camera's exposed for the sky and the hedge and trees have dropped into a bit of shadow.


Same shot but 2 stop sunderexposed. Nice detail in the clouds but you can't see too much!

Fig. 3

Nice detail in the hedge, trees and building but oh Gawd! look at that sky! Same colour as my legs...

Looking at all three, I'd like to be able to use the sky from Fig 2 and the hedge and building from Fig 3. No problemo. I just load all three into software (everyone raves about photomatix but there is some good stuff knocking around cheaply- even free that will do a good job) and let it do it's stuff. After a short while, Voila! You'll have an image that is a combination of all three which may, or may not look a tad strange depending on how your software processes it and which 'sliders' you use and to what degree.

Save that new image and load it into your photo editing software and play around with it a bit more....contrast, saturation etc until you get the effect you're after.

In  my case I was happy with this.................

HDR has taken what is essentially a boring, 'record' shot and lifted it into something more interesting, something that makes you go 'hhmmmm' (hopefully)

Right. That was a quick look at 'How to do HDR' and is by no means meant to be intended as a definitive guide. Hell no! but it does show you how easy it is to get started and produce some nifty stuff.

Have a go. It's the only way you'll learn my friend.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Yosemite National Park HDR

I've been trying my hand at this HDR lark. What is HDR I hear you cry? if you don't know, I'll try and give you a brief understanding thus....HDR is short for High Dynamic Range. The human eye is a remarkable piece of kit capable of discerning a wide range of tones in a given light situation. When you're out and about in the daytime and the sun is shining if you look up at a building, you'll pretty much be able to see quite clearly, the detail of the building. Despite it being bright and contrasty, your eyes can handle it.

Point a camera at the same scene though and you'll notice that when you look at the resultant image, there's a good chance the building will be in shadow and the sky behind it will be correctly exposed. Your camera's 'dynamic range' is nowhere near as capable as your eye.

HDR then, is a method of  post-processing either one image or a series of images, (correctly exposed, underexposed and overexposed) and combining them and adjusting the contrast ratios to do things that are virtually impossible with a single aperture and shutter speed.

HDR can be done with  single image (preferably from a RAW file) but it is always better to get at least three images as described above and combine them.

There are oodles of articles and books on the subject of HDR and I urge you to read them and practice.

HDR can bring a lot of life into your old images and using the relevant software  it gives you the back the creative urge. You can get all kinds of goofy stuff, over-saturated colours, huge amounts of grain etc or you can strive to capture a more 'realistic' image more akin to the way the eye would see it.

I'll post a quick 'how-to' next time

Have fun!

Thursday, 24 March 2011


I've always had a thing for old buildings. Don't know what draws me to them. I think it's the loneliness of a building that once hummed with activity and I wonder just what happened to these places. I try to imagine the people who worked here, what they did, were they happy, the politics, was caused it's demise.

Life unfolded inside this building and people provided for their families in it's heyday so, to see it so neglected and abandoned makes me wonder... what became of the people?

This is the old Co-Op building in Woolwich