Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘CS4

HDR with Photomatix Pro

with 3 comments

Alright, I finally did it. I broke down and gave HDR a try (click image above for large version). Creating a HDR or high dynamic range image involves blending multiple exposures together in order to display detail in the final image that would otherwise be lost in a single exposure. Our eyes are capable of looking at a scene with bright highlights and dark shadows and still see an immense amount of detail. Cameras simply don’t have that kind of ability, which is why blending exposures is useful when a scene contains very bright and very dark elements at the same time.

I set my D300s to automatically bracket a series of photos for me at 1 stop increments, and here’s what I got out of the camera:

Notice that if the sky looks good, the beach looks too dark. Conversely, if the sand looks detailed, the sky is blown out. There’s simply too much range for the camera to pick up detail in all areas of the frame. Yes, I suppose I could have used a split neutral density filter to even things out, but the purpose of this shoot was to experiment with HDR.

Exposure blending used to be extremely difficult, requiring the use of multiple layers, masks, and a whole lot of brush strokes to manually bring out detail in the HDR image. Nowadays, it’s dead simple. Photoshop has a “merge to HDR” feature built-in, but it’s not quite as good as standalone software like Photomatix Pro, which I used to merge this HDR image. All I had to do was drag the four bracketed images above straight from Lightroom 3 Beta 2 into Photomatix Pro, specify a few parameters, and POOF! It spit out an HDR image. Of course, what you see at the top of this post is not what you get right after the merge in Photomatix. I still had to tone map the HDR, then export it as a standard image file back into Lightroom for post-processing before it looked satisfactory.

I’m pretty excited about how easy the process was. My goal was to try to convey the scene the way my own eyes saw it, and I have to say that the final result looks very close to what I experienced that evening. Overall, I’m glad that I decided to give HDR a try, and I look forward using this photographic tool again.

___________________

Camera Specs: Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at f/13 ISO200, various shutter speeds.

More Glamour Shots

with 5 comments

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR at 155mm f/11 ISO100 1/125 Second

Here are two more images from the photo shoot I blogged about yesterday. Bridget’s look is very similar in all three in the series, but I like the crop and posing differences between all three. In these two images, I introduced a small amount of skin softening using a masked 25 pixel gaussian blur layer in CS4. I don’t think her already soft skin needed this treatment, but I thought I’d give it a try. The result sort of reminds me of a makeup add in a Japanese fashion magazine.

I had a blast with this little portrait project! Check out more shots here.

My First Photoshop CS4 Experience

with 2 comments

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 50mm f/5.6 ISO200 1/30 Second, Post in LR3 Beta and Photoshop CS4

Until today (literally), I’ve tried my hardest to stay away from using Photoshop to edit my photographs. I’d open up the program and think “Oh man, what in the world do I do with all these tools….what’s this layer thingo? Agh, forget it,” and that’s as far as I’d get.

Today I had a lot of time on my hands. I’ve got a fever and sore throat that kept me away from work, so between naps and copious amounts of tea, I’ve begun studying how to use Photoshop CS4. The result is the image you see above. This one of Bridget’s favorite close-ups from our little impromptu shoot on Saturday evening (being out in the cold that evening is probably what made me sick!). ┬áMost of the editing and retouch was actually done in Lightroom 3 Beta, including brightening the eyes and spot removing blemishes, as well as minor adjustments to color.

In Photoshop CS4, I quickly fell in love with the stamp tool, which allowed me to very easily remove lines on her face, particularly under her eyes, and bring out a little more detail in her hair. Here’s the shot straight out of the camera for reference:

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC, same settings as above, SOOC

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC, same settings as above, SOOC

Huge difference here! (Bridget still looks very lovely of course). This image was a great catalyst for my beginnings in the world of Photoshop. In all, the entire process took only about 10-15 minutes from start to finish, showing how a little touch-up work can go a long way in portraiture. What really impressed me is how seamlessly Lightroom works with Photoshop. Once I was done with initial editing in Lightroom 3 Beta, a Command + E keystroke (Mac) opened the image in CS4. When I finished with CS4, I simply saved the image and closed the window, which brought me right back to Lightroom 3 Beta with the CS4 edits applied. Doesn’t get any easier than that!

Her nose is a little red from the cold, but I’m sure that’ll be fixed as WordPress seems to desaturate my photos! What gives, WordPress?! They look how I want them too while I’m editing the HTML, but as soon as I publish the post, the colors look off. Different browsers seem to render the colors differently as well, so I’m really not sure what you’re seeing if you’re reading this! Oh well….

And so, with my fear of Photoshop gone, I’m going to hit the books and see if I can’t really see what this program can do. I’m excited!

*Cough Cough*

Written by Jonathan

November 24, 2009 at 6:55 am