Some HDR Learnings
Written by: Tiffany Joyce
I’m an HDR novice, so I took the opportunity yesterday afternoon to futz around in my house and try to familiarize myself with the concept. I addressed things with an eye toward learning what works, and what doesn’t work. For the purposes of the exercise I used the HDR Photo Merge capability in Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3.
I set my tripod up in my game room at high noon, with the light coming in from the skylights, and also supplied by the lights around the pool table. For the first set, I took a series of three Auto Exposure Bracketed (AEB) shots at f/5.6, ISO 400, AEB +/- 1:
Then I took the same shot with the f-stop at f/10:
Next I set up the AEB for +/- 2, and did the same shots at f/5.6 and f/10 respectively:
In order to conduct HDR Photo Merge in PaintShop Photo Pro, first you open the Full Editor. Then go to File, HDR Photo Merge, and this screen will appear:
Cllick on “browse” to find the photos you wish to merge. For the sake of consistency, and to demonstrate the mechanical differences between exposures and bracketing, the ONLY thing I did for each set of bracketed photo merges was to click on “Align Images”, and set the Local Tone Mapping to 50%. I did no further post-processing, not even sharpening or increasing brightness. Much as I was inclined to do so. After everything was set, I clicked on “OK” and let the program do its thing. Then I saved each file as a JPG.
For my final experiment, I decided to merge all six bracketed photos from the f/5.6 group and f/10 group (that’s three at AEB of +/- 1, and three of AEB +/- 2), just to see what would happen. So, here’s the final merged result of six shots at f/5.6:
And here are all the merged shots taken at f/10:
- For this amount of light, I noticed that the shots taken at f/5.6 came out better, though for the AEB +/- 1 shots, there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot of difference between the photos taken at f/5.6, and those taken at f/10.
- Since the area was quite bright, the AEB 1 shots came out far better than the AEB 2 shots. I believe I would only use AEB 2 in much darker environs.
- I did like the quality of the six merged f/5.6 shots. I believe having more exposures to merge creates greater depth. Next time I would exercise the option to create six sets of exposure between AEB 0.5 and AEB 1, instead of between AEB 1 and AEB 2.
- Slight blurring still occurred within the merges, due (I believe) to the fact that though I had the camera set up on the tripod, I was not using a remote shutter release.
- There was a lot more noise in all of the f/10 shots.
Are any readers out there just beginning to experiment with HDR? What has been your learning process so far? Let us know in the comments!
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