photomatix

Derwent Valley in the High Peaks by Neil Alexander

Tree in the Derwent Valley, High Peaks (Click to view larger)

Further to last week's post on Stanage Edge in the Peak District,  here's a couple more images from that weekend that I've just processed. Multi-frame HDRs processed in Photomatix Pro and then tweaked in Photoshop and Lightroom. Got quite a few keepers that weekend, so there'll be more to come....

Tree in the Derwent Valley, High Peaks (Click to view larger)

Shortest post ever I think today. Overload of processing to catch up on, early sunset to make something of and car to be collected from VW.

Have a great weekend y'all

Malta in HDR by Neil Alexander

Typical street scene in Victoria on the Island of Gozo, Malta (Click for larger)

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Don't believe everything you read about HDR techniques!

Whilst on a whistle stop tour of Gozo in Malta last week, I shot quite a few street scenes but as this was a family trip I decided not to take a tripod for this particular excursion. I came across several scenes that I knew would make for good photographs, but the light was quite harsh and the contrast between the highlights and the shadows was extreme to say the least. I could see just from looking that a solitary frame was going to leave me with either blown out highlights, or very dark shadows and a middle of the road exposure would leave me with a bit of both. So not knowing what would really happen in post, I shot a 5 frame bracket. Holding my camera as steady as I could and shooting on burst mode (8fps), I got what appeared to be a fairly well lined up sequence. Initially I tried an automatic alignment in HDR Efex Pro, but the results were far from satisfactory. I then tried Photomatix, and was blown away. Using the semi-auto alignment setting, the application managed to perfectly align the images possibly losing only about 5% of the frame in the process. From there it was a simple case of manipulating the sliders until I had an image I was happy-ish with. Then I opened up the result along with a couple of the other frames in Photoshop. A little masking and selective manipulation and here's the result. Admittedly the fact that even the brightest of the frames was shot at a decent 1/125 sec at F8 with VR helped, but it just goes to show that a tripod isn't required for HDR 100% of the time.

Fishing boat in Marsascala Birzebugga harbour, Malta (Click for larger)

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This one of the boat was a little easier. It was shot around 30-45 minutes after sun up, so I was on a tripod anyway, but the boat was bobbing around in the water a little. I generally always try to use the MB-D10 grip on my D300 when I'm shooting specifically for HDR. The fact that I can shoot at 8 frames per second definitely helps when you're not shooting a scene that is completely static. Show me one that is - even clouds will blur if you take long enough between your exposures.

Southport pier by Neil Alexander

These two photographs were taken on Southport beach looking towards the pier at sunset. They were both shot using the D300 & 18-200mm VR lens (I remembered to switch image stabilisation off whilst on the tripod this time!). As far as post-processing is concerned, I've just installed the Mogrify & Photomatix plugins for Lightroom. The former gives you the ability to add frames and has vastly superior watermarking abilities to Lightroom, and as I use Photomatix as a standalone application often the latter plugin means that I can export an HDR series straight from Lightroom into the Photomatix application without having to export the files to Windows first. Both real time savers, and free Thumbs-up

Southport pier at sunset by Fabrizio Filippini

Southport pier at sunset by Fabrizio Filippini