My HDR Workflow-News-Features!
I thought that I would take a few minutes and write about my HDR workflow, which I see to get a lot of questions asked about. I suppose I work VERY different than what most people who do HDR....ya call me an oddball, I know lol When I first started seeing HDR shots, I really didn't care for them at all, they often seemed overdone, with 'tonemap crap" (as I call it) all over the darn place. Halo's everywhere, distortion of color....on and on. I then started to see images which took on a more natural look and feel about them, and I found that interesting, along with intriguing. Shots that looked as though they had Grad ND's used in them but didn't. It was this look and feel I started to study, and the more I did the more I wanted to do it.
Now here comes the oddball part. I work in a variety of ways, and no photo is usually the same. A few things are pretty much a constant though, I only shoot in RAW, I use PS for final output (NEVER for the HDR process itself) , and HDR is done through Photomatix Pro. I do single RAW HDR and Bracketed HDR. Photomatix Pro has the ability to open single RAW files and tone map it. I essentially work in a few ways when it comes to my shots and the technique using RAW:
* Use a single RAW file inside Photomatix and tone map it
* Open my RAW files inside PS using ACR and save as 16 bit TIFF files (this can be 1 shot or 7...if multiple, I change exposures in ACR) then pull then inside Photomatix Pro and combine my images, tonemap, and save.
* Bracket my shots in camera when out in the field. This is the ideal technique actually, and I shoot in -/+ 3EV. I then pull these into Photomatix Pro to do HDR.
These are pretty much the basics which I use, though I have been known to get a lil extreme using advanced editing techniques. Enter LucisArt. I virtually use LucisArt in every shot I take, and it has become a stable of my workflow. It has the ability to bring out the details which are in the clouds and landscapes, which are there, but really kinda hidden. A prime example is the images below.
When you look at the above images, LucisArt really came into play with the texture and look of the clouds, bringing out the dynamic range and the details.
I also use a lot of layer masking inside Photoshop to bring out the light and detail in my shots. I really want a look that is natural, and not overdone in my images, and when I do HDR, this is of no exception. One of the VERY BEST techniques around for showing a style similar to mine (though he uses gradients a lot more than I do) is Andy Heatwole. He has a video
posted which will show you the technique which is similar to what I use. Though he doesn't do HDR, and it is geared towards LucisArt, but I suppose you could say that after I do my HDR and save, I bring my shots into PS doing something similar along these lines. Just not as drastic as he does.
As always, I am still learning and HDR is VERY new to me.....And basically you are all along this lil adventure with me. "Learning by doing" as the Germans say, and that is exactly what I am doing! News!
The birth of Autumn is beginning here in the High Country of Colorado....another 7-10 days and we will be in prime! I have waited all year long for this, and this Fall looks exceptional! Ahhhh nature in Colorado, gotta love it!
My new lens is on the way! I honestly got a steal on Ebay. I snagged a Kalimar 28-70mm f3.5 (constant) Macro for a mere $15! [link]
These lenses are pretty nice, and sharp as a damn tack! Gotta love 20 year old glass that costs next to nothing! I'll do some experiment Macro shots with it using my Diopters, I really needed more light, and the constant f3.5 will be a BIG help.
Saving my money outta my stock photography and print sales to buy the new Sony a700 camera. So this means I may not be to active on DA in weeks to come, I have a TON of shots to process and submit to the stock agencies I am part of...and as of this writing I am buried on here. But as true working photographer, and with Autumn coming, my time will be llimited. I'll do the best I can though!
Thanks all, for the comments, fav's, and my new watchers for the support. I can't say "Thank you" to everyone, and watch everyone, but I do the best I can. There simply isn't enough hours in the day/week/month/year/lifetime to allow for it. I also will be cutting back a tad on comments on my shots, with the "Thank you's"...it isn't that I don't appreciate it, it's that it takes away time for me looking at and commenting on others work. I really hope ya'all understand. As I said, I will do my best! And generally if you comment on my shots, I return that on yours