Tech Tuesday:HDR with photomatix and LR/Enfuse

I am starting a new weekly blog report where I will talk about photography and post processing techniques. It may be something I do personally or something I come across on the web.

Today’s tip is about HDR. I want go into great details about HDR, you can read more here HDR. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Basically it is a computer way to extend the range of highlight and shadows in a photo. Our eyes can see much larger variations from light to dark than the sensor in our cameras can record.

Basically you take a series of photos set to record, the highlights, mid tones, and shadows. Then use a computer program to combine them

The most popular program is Photomatix Pro 3. I have and use this program. It is very good and fast and if you have the latest version you can export right out of Lightroom and when it finishes blending it will import it right back in. I have found they usually need a little contrast boost, and color tweaking.

I just found out about a program that works right from Lightroom and doesn’t cost a fortune. Just a small donation. It is called LR/Enfuse. Both of the links above have much information, videos and tutorials.

I am going to show examples of images done with this expensive program then one done with a shareware you can get with just a small donation.

First here are the three exposures I used to capture the scene.

Correct overall exposure. This would be what you would get from a single image, metering on the sky. Not much detail in the shadowsCorrect for the shadows. if you expose for the shadows the skys get blown out and lose detail.and exposed for the highlights. if the sky is correct then the shadows lack detail.

Now the image blended by Photomatix.

As you can see there is detail in the sky, foreground and shadows.

Now a photo done with just LR/Enfuse.Actually pretty good. It takes a lot less time and processing power to use Ensure than Photomatix. Of course you will have to make some adjustments back in Lightroom, but hey I have to do that with Photomatix also.

I apologize for the small size photos as I am using the trial version that only saves to 500 pixels on the long side. I plan to donate and receive my product number soon.

If you want to try HDR give Ensure a try.

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