Tuesday, July 19, 2011

HDR Success!

So I've always loved HDR pictures.

HDR = high dynamic range. ((and not high def as I once thought ;))

The iPhone 4 has a HDR setting where it attempts to replicate a HDR 'feel' to a photo but it doesn't fully do justice to a true HDR photo. I always thought that I would need a good DLR camera to take HDR pictures because they come with AEB ((I think that's the right acronym...)).

AEB = Auto Exposure Bracketing

Which basically means you push one button and it takes like four pictures at different exposures very quickly, which helps eliminate any shifts or differences between the different exposures. Because I have a point and shoot, I have to manually set my exposure between shots. What this means is that my shots are never perfectly aligned, they contain minute differences from the camera shifting.

So, I just resigned myself to not being able to take fully amazing HDR photos. Recently, however, I've been doing pana-type pictures and I was like 'hey, photoshop is amazing. Why can't it simply align my pictures? It can do all this other stuff!' So, I decided to try once again. Outside, I came upon this really good HDR opportunity. The ginkgo tree had these branches that had an amazing blue sky/cloud backdrop. A normal picture could either expose for the bright sky or the dark branches-- but not both. HDR is where you take two or three pictures, exposing for different elements and then merge those pictures. So, I took three pictures at different exposures.

Then, I went into photoshop and clicked 'automate HDR Pro' and selected my photos. Then, it worked its normal magic and gave me one picture. However, there were 'ghost' leaves. Leaves that didn't align because my hand moved the camera between shots. I hadn't found a way to fix this, but I looked closer at all the options this time-- after all, photoshop can work some amazing magic, it should be able to fix this. That's when I found this little check box that said 'fix ghost images' or something to that effect. I checked it and BAM the ghosts were gone! The images were perfectly aligned.

Long story short, I can't believe I didn't know about this before.

So, after a little editing, the final product was....*drum roll*

:D I can't wait to try this out on sunsets and other scenarios.

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