WesternGuy wrote:Steven, if this is your first try with Nik's HDR Software, then I think you did a very good job and I use it a lot. I am not sure that you needed 6 images for the final HDR image, so I would suggest that you might want to try it with five (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2) or even three ( -1, 0, +1) and see what the results are.
If you are interested, Jason O'Dell, a professional photographer based in Colorado, has published three e-books on the Nik software, Silver Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro and HDR Efex Pro. Right now he has all three on sale here - http://www.luminescentphoto.com/blog/eshop/nik-collection/. I have all three and I find them indispensable as they provide an insight into the software plugins themselves, but also show you some worked examples.
Hope this helps.
Duck wrote:HDR tends to be one of those subjects that people either love or hate. There seems to be no real middle ground, although I think that is changing as HDR software becomes better and more user friendly.
There are a few tips I give my first time HDR students that I would like to share;
- Understand your scene's exposure range: HDR is designed to compensate for lighting situations outside of a camera's capabilities. When shooting RAW, it is often far wider than what we see in the camera's preview screen. If a scene does not have extreme shadows and bright areas, then HDR is likely not worth the effort.
- HDR can not even out a harsh contrast scene: If your scene has hard shadows and very little mid tones, no amount of tone mapping can compensate for that. The results will just be a muddled mess.
- Don't blind bracket: Bracketing is where you set your camera to take a series of exposures above and below your 0EV. Doing this blind is setting the camera's EV arbitrarily. Look at the scene and determine if the scene is highlight heavy or shadow heavy and compensate for that shift in overall tonality. Blind bracketing often leads to capturing exposures that may not give you enough information on one end of the tonal range or the other. Meaning, your end shots may still be clipped to black or white even though you bracketed.
- Study Ansel Adam's Zone System: The most valuable tool in your HDR arsenal is having the language to understand what you are looking at when analyzing a scene. Knowing where to place your initial exposure will ensure more consistently useful brackets.
- Always double check your camera's settings: Make sure you are on manual everything. I can't tell you how many frustrated students I've had that forgot to check this and had exposures ruined because their ISO was set on auto.
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