HDR – moving along

Just over a year since my last post. Am I still interested in HDR? Probably not to the extent of when I first took up digital photography, but am enjoying all the “newer kids on the block”. Having moved over to Adobe Lightroom a couple of years ago, my style of processing became a theme of “I’ll do what I can in here (Adobe Lightroom ) and leave all the wizardry for PhotoShop, if I felt inclined”
I did download a paid plugin for Adobe Lightroom so that I could do some HDR within the program, and while I was happy with the efforts (bringing the image right back into LR as a 16bit TIF) It seemed that it was a better way to go.

However, Adobe has now rolled out there LR6/LR CC and with it comes a merge to HDR function, again, not leaving the program, but as a bonus, creating a DNG files (have no idea how they are doing that) but for me, looking the best alternative available. The scope there to pull detail from shadows and protects those highlights, while there to a decent degree already available, it opens a new avenue of exposure. (and for those that WISH to create those garish HDR images… go right ahead).
I think from now people may have a new appreciation for the dynamic range on offer (couple with better sensors as we move along)
I’ll endeavour to pop a sample up of what came be achieved, within 12 months I promise :)

Merge to 32-bit HDR Plugin for Lightroom

Been a while since I’ve posted a blog on HDR, so whatever audience I had before, I may well be posting into the wilderness.

Anyway, the point of the post is I’ve not been to far away from HDR in some shape or form. Having taking up Lightroom more seriously over the last 18 months, I was able to create a “faux” HDR and the results weren’t too bad. As long as you are not tempted to pump up that saturation, which some just love to do, your results will get good mileage.

I stumbled upon a post talking up Photomatix and their Merge to 32-bit HDR Plugin for Lightroom. Being familiar with Photomatix I thought that maybe, just maybe, this would be worth a look at. The video that came along with the post got me excited, Not because of what it produced but the fact that I could group the different exposed images right within Lightroom, but it would return it right there, no need to leave the program, or even open up Photoshop, surely that workflow would interest anyone.

So I downloaded the sample (which works perfect, although there is the watermark) but you do get to see how it will perform. Processing the image in LR is a breeze.

I also downloaded their sample images to see it in action on my own computer, suffice to say, I went back to the site and purchased on the spot. I’m far from a compulsive buyer (been know to mull for months before parting with $$$) so obviously it made an immediate impact.

Time to go back and find a time when I did some multiple exposures with HDR in mind (and never did anything with it)

How often will I use it? Probably more now because of ease of use.

Oh, and for this plugin ( you must have LR) a mere $25US (even less if you can find a discount code, like Trey Ratcliffe’s blog)


and here it is, taken in 2012, so as you can see HDR was way off on the back burner.

For anyone who does read this, I would encourage you to at least download the trial version and run through some of your own images.

John C.

HDR and ND400

That’s quite a few acronyms, we know what HDR is (or at least should do) but what is ND400? Well, ND is for neutral density and the 400 is, well, almost a ten stop filter. Not quite welding glass material, but getting there. Handy on it’s own for creating different finishes at unusual times. How about a 5 second exposure with midday sun on the beach, or positioned for traffic of passers-by?.

Enough of that, the warmer days are getting closer so I decided to do a sunrise (although on this particular morning it wasn’t all that mild) As we set off, the were no clouds in the sky, so with the prospect of a bland dawn, we headed away from the sun and set ourselves up to capture the light as it fell upon the old dilapidated pier once the sun had risen a bit.

© John Conway 2010  ” HDR – Dell”

(click the photo to see the bigger version)

It was at this point I had the ND400 on to smooth out the waters that I thought, why not try an HDR. I find with the ND400 on I get quite an intensity of colours, blues more noticeable it seems. The 10-15-30second exposures gave me a result I wasn’t expecting.

When I process in Photomatix, I try and not exceed 80% for HDR and 65 for saturation (unless I want a specific look) I had it toned down quite a bit but it really finished up looking quite 3D looking. Not sure if it is the colours itself or the use of the ND400 (or a combination).

Given the chance I might do a few more of these over the coming weeks to see how they work out.

Let me know your thoughts (even for those that just use an ND400 or equivalent)

Winter is over!!!

Well, that’s my excuse for not doing any HDR shots lately. Last week went out for a shoot with a friend, who besides being a “photo nut” also happens to ride Mountain Bikes. (These guys are loco)

Anyway, off we went to a local track, it was midweek so it was quiet, just what I wanted as I was trying out some “off Camera flash” using radio triggers to fire my speedlites (one a Canon and one  Nikon) (Triggers were Pocket wizards II)

© John Conway 2010  ” At the top”

Pretty happy with the results and before anyone comments (if anyone at all) this ISN”T HDR, so why is it in here? Good question.

I’m thinking with external light(s) creating a sculpturing of light around an object, isn’t that what HDR does in a way? brings out detail in those shadows that would be lost.

A bit of burning and dodging and a touch of tonal contrast was all that was needed to get this finished result.

Your thoughts?


Must be about time I updated this. (Has been almost a year)

Chrysler Car Show in Geelong last Labour Day weekend, with the prestigious Geelong Grammer School as a back drop.

This is a one shot RAW file exposed three times. Tone mapped twice. I’ll upload a larger version elsewhere and update so you can see the detail.

© John Conway 2010  ” Regal”

HDR – ‘Henry’ gets the makeover

It has been a while since I have done a HDR of any description. One of my own favourites is this one

So, when the chance arose from visiting the same area (Queenscliff, VIC) I wandered down to the coastal railway, and lucky for me, with the Easter holidays upon us, it looked like they’d ‘dressed’ up one of the engines to look like Henry (from the Thomas the Tank series on TV)

I did two takes on this, both were 3 shots (shot in RAW), 1 stop apart, hand held (well, sort of, I was resting on a wire fence)

Shot with a Canon 40D, with a Sigma 10-20 attached (and polariser)

Processed and Tonemapped in Photomatix, finished off in Photoshop.


© Henry – #1

You can find a larger version here

This is a closer shot of ‘Henry’ I quite like the “cartoony”  look and probably works better with the subject chosen.


© Henry – #2

You can find a larger version here

HDR – The Boot

No, I have’nt got rid of my HDR urge (although I have been slack with my uploads)

The Boot refers to my shot I took tonight, I should do a few more over the weekend, they will be of the Hot Rod variation (and maybe a seascape thrown in)

Without further ado, I give you, a cropped section of, The Boot.


© The Boot

Processed in Capture One. In Photoshop, use of ReDynaMix was applied in sections, with some masking in use.

A larger version can be seen at RedBubble


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