Mar 162015
 

Learn to use a 10 stop ND filter for creative long exposure photography. Best practices, correcting color, getting the right exposure, and other tips.

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joshuacripps

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Feb 262015
 

Daniel Cheong says he is a digital blending freak, a post-production photography technique “that manually blends multiple bracketed exposures in order to obtain the maximum dynamic range” without getting the tiring, everything is illuminated effect of overcooked HDR. And he succeeds.

Daniel Cheong

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gizmodo

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May 252014
 
Click the image below to view the Immersive HDR panorama:

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May 252014
 

In this webinar photographer Richard Sisk demonstrates how to create stunning HDR Panoramas using the new Pano Prep Batch Processing feature in HDR Expose 3.1 and 3rd party stitching applications.

Aug 272012
 

Save 20% on HDR Expose 2 with Coupon Code “HDR360pro”

HDR Expose 2 » HDR360pro.com

Jun 212012
 

H.D.R. Photography for the Realist – NYTimes.com

Apr 272012
 

This is obvious but essential. As tempting as it may be to shoot free hand (or from the hip),if you want good, sharp HDR images you need to stabilize your camera. Ideally, use a sturdy tripod, or in a pinch, set the camera down on a solid surface.

 

 

Second, some of your over exposed frames need to capture shadow details and you may actually be shooting at shutter speeds so long that you can have difficulties holding the camera steady. So in addition to creating problems aligning frames that shifted due to the camera changing position between frames, you may also have frames that are blurry due to long exposure times. These will have a negative affect on the merge process and image sharpness.In addition to a sturdy tripod or solid surface to mount the camera, you will also want to minimize any movement caused by you touching the camera between shots. This can be accomplished a number of ways, the easiest of which is to use the self timer or a cable release trigger to fire the camera. Another option that several professionals use is Promote Remote www.promotesystems.com. This device plugs-in to your camera and actually takes over the bracketing and exposure controls. This is a huge benefit for Canon shooters with cameras that only support 3 shot bracketing.Of course if you really want to get picky and you are shooting with a D-SLR, you’ll mount the camera on a weighted tripod with a sturdy ball head, put the camera in Mirror-Up mode and use the cable release or Promote Remote to fire the camera. This adds an extra delay between the moment the mirror goes up and when the shutter opens, reducing any additional vibration caused by the mirror flipping up and down.Don’t forget, if you are using Vibration Reduction, Image Stabilized or Steady Shot lenses, turn this feature off when the camera is attached to a tripod. You don’t want to induce lens movement when the camera isn’t moving.There are some promising new camera and sensor technologies on the horizon that will allow for very fast sequential exposures that may eventually get us to the point of having a virtual 1-click HDR series that can be captured freehand without the need for a tripod. Until then, its better to not hold your breath and just use the reliable tripod.

 

Mar 092012
 

Photo: © 2012 John Santoro

Most HDR Software can accept JPEG, TIFF or RAW files as input for the merge process, and HDR Express and HDR Expose are no exceptions. If you only have JPEG or TIFF legacy images that you want to process you don’t have an option, but going forward you will get better results if you shoot and process RAW image files for HDR.JPEG and TIFF files are great final output file types, but they have been processed causing clipped exposure ranges, artifacts due to applied contrast curves and in the case of JPEG files, artifacts due to compression.

When we merge individual images into 32-bit HDR images, we need to undo most of those changes to create the linear data to process the areas of exposure overlap. In many cases this works well, but in some cases such as extreme lighting conditions working with JPEG or TIFF source files can create areas of posterization where especially highlight data can be clipped in processed files. JPEG source images have the additional disadvantage of compression artifacts that will change the between the different exposures and create alignment issues.

Closeup of merged RAW image


Closeup of merged jpeg image with artifacts circled

 

You want to isolate the differences between the bracketed images to only exposure times. If each image has different JPEG compression artifacts in different areas of the image these changes will be exaggerated when merged.

RAW Files provide us much better source data to work with. The data is linear and has not been process or had tone curves applied. Also, RAW files typically have 12 or 14-bits of data with extended highlight information. This allows us to create 32-bit HDR images with much smoother transitions and less potential for posterization with no compression artifacts.

So if you have a choice going forward when shooting for HDR set the camera to RAW and do the HDR merge and tone mapping operations first on 32-bit HDR data. Then, save the image as a TIFF file. If you still have some local corrections or retouching to do, work on the output TIFF file then.

The fundamental workflow rule of digital photography processing is to start with the big items first and work your way down to the smaller details. In HDR, processing the merge and the tone mapping are the first order of business.

For more information on Unified Color HDR software products including HDR Expose 2, HDR Express and 32 Float please click the link below:

HDR Expose discount

As a reader of HDR360pro.com you will receive a discount on any Unified Color software.

Your coupon code “HDR360pro” will be applied automatically.

Feb 062012
 

Community

HDR Expose 2

HDR Expose 2 » HDR360pro.com

Coupon code: “HDR360pro” saves 20% on HDR Expose 2!

Click image to enlarge.

Feb 062012
 

“This week it was a real thrill for me to host a live webinar with photographer Richard Sisk to talk about HDR panoramic photography. Richard has been shooting panos professionally for many years and was able to share some of his legacy work as well as tips and techniques for creating digital HDR panoramas.”

John Omvik, Vice President of Marketing, Unified Color Technologies

HDR Panorama Photography with Richard Sisk Parts 1 &2 recorded on 1/31/2012

This presentation looks best in full screen.

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“In this next tutorial photographer Richard Sisk shares his tips and techniques for creating stunning HDR Panoramas. In part 2 of 2 Richard demonstrates how he processes his stitched and merged 32-bit HDR Panoramas using HDR Expose 2.”

John Omvik, Vice President of Marketing, Unified Color Technologies

This presentation looks best in full screen.

Community

Save 20% on the new HDR Expose 2 by clicking the link below:

HDR Expose 2 » HDR360pro.com

Coupon code: “HDR360pro” saves 20% on HDR Expose 2.

Download the free trial now!

Nov 122011
 

Useful Tips on Creating HDR Images from John Omvik!

 

In order to capture the dynamic range of an HDR scene you need to bracket several exposures. For the best results you must ensure, that with the exception of exposure times, little varies from frame to frame. The best way to do this is to lock your settings in manual mode.

Most modern cameras allow you to save custom user settings in the camera so that they are easy to recall when you need them. If you are serious about HDR photography it makes sense to dedicate one of these custom user settings for HDR.

Here is the list of settings I recommend.

– RAW Image Capture: This ensures that you get the most from every shot. Some cameras allow you to choose between 12 and 14-bit RAW files. If you have an option always go with the higher bit depth. Never use reduced resolution RAW files, always choose the full size. Like my grandmother used to say, never worry about the sausage that is too long, you can always make it shorter, but not the other way around.

– Manual White balance: When shooting RAW, the white balance really doesn’t matter since you can always change it later. I recommend picking one setting and sticking with it. Choose Daylight or Tungsten, if you are really picky create a custom WB setting, but always use the same setting for the whole sequence.

– Shoot Aperture Priority or Manual Exposure: Regardless of which one you use, you want to lock the aperture down and only vary the shutter speed. Varying the exposure with different aperture settings or f-stops will set a different depth of field for each frame which will create problems in the merge and alignment process.

– Set your EV increments to 1EV: Most cameras are set to 1/3 EV increments by default, each time you move the command dial one click it changes the exposure by one third of a stop. For HDR 1/3 EV is just too fine an exposure resolution. Change the camera settings so that a single click adjusts the exposure by 1EV and you’ll need to touch the camera less between each exposure.

– Use the AF Lock button to focus: Most cameras are set to focus by default when the shutter button is pressed halfway down. This is a great feature for most types of photography. For HDR however, you don’t want to have to acquire focus for each shot of a sequence and risk focusing on different areas of the image by mistake. Having different areas in focus can also cause problems in the merge process. It is much better to set your camera so that it only focuses when you press the AF-On or AF-Lock button. This way you can lock your camera down on a tripod, frame up your scene, acquire focus once and lock it and shoot your bracketed set of images without refocusing. Just make sure to lock down the focus first for your next scene as well. Remember even if you use a cable release, if the camera is set to focus on half shutter press, pressing the button on the cable release will be the same as pressing the actual shutter button.

If you follow these tips and set your camera up in manual mode, you will get much more reproducible bracketed exposure series and be more likely to get better HDR results.

In the next tip, I’ll explain in more detail why RAW capture produces better HDR images than TIFF or JPEG.

HDR Software | HDR Photography | Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture Plug-ins

Please see the “HDR360pro” discounts page:

Unified Color » HDR360pro.com

Sep 042011
 

 Click HDR to enlarge

Capturing the full dynamic range is critical when making HDR images.

Take a look at this article from John Omvik of Unified Color to learn more about HDR capture:

John Omvik’s HDR Tip 2 – Capture The Whole Range

 Unified Color » HDR360pro.com 

Coupon Code: “HDR360pro”

Aug 262011
 

Please click the link below to read this new article by John Omvik:

New HDR Tips from John Omvik, VP Marketing at Unified Color

Mar 252011
 


Feb 082011
 

Here is a terrific tutorial by John Omvik from Unified Color:

HDR Software | HDR Photography | Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture Plug-ins

Dec 072010
 

I am pleased to announce that readers of HDR360pro.com will receive a 20% discount on the fine Unified Color Technologies software products by applying the discount code HDR360PRO upon checkout.

Download trial versions of these innovative products at the Unified Color website today.

Click link:

HDR Software | HDR Photography | Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture Plug-ins

Dec 062010
 

YouTube – Introducing HDR Express

HDR Express Demystifies the HDR Workflow for Photographers, Providing the Fastest and Easiest Tools to Create True Color HDR Images

South San Francisco – December 6, 2010 Unified Color Technologies, the experts in high dynamic range imaging (HDR), today announced the immediate availability of HDR Express which is specifically designed to meet the requirements of professional photographers and photo enthusiasts who are new to HDR software and looking to create stunning images quickly. With HDR Express, Unified Color has automated some of the most complex aspects of HDR photography and replaced the traditional HDR workflow with a lightning-fast alternative for creating the most realistic HDR renderings possible making this once-complicated process accessible to even the most novice user. The software is available for purchase through Unified Color’s website at www.unifiedcolor.com/hdr-express.

HDR Express automates key aspects of the HDR production process, such as tone mapping and halo elimination, offering a streamlined and very easy-to-follow workflow. After merging the multiple exposures required for the HDR process into a 32-bit image, the simplified user interface presents an animated exposure range preview of the HDR image along with five tone mapping preset options. For the fastest results, users can then choose from a series of color and style presets or create their own presets using the program’s adjustment sliders which manipulate brightness, highlight and shadow recovery, black point, contrast, saturation and white balance. In addition to workflow enhancements, the newly developed processing algorithms in HDR Express enable users to view edits in real-time.

We have developed an entirely new workflow that makes HDR Express a real game changer” said Alfred Zee, CEO of Unified Color Technologies “With HDR Express we’ve dramatically reduced the steep learning curve for HDR photography software, while significantly improving performance and image quality. HDR Express makes true color HDR accessible to photographers at any skill level.

Like all Unified Color products, HDR Express leverages the company’s patented 32-bit Beyond RGB™ color technology, resulting in the most true-to-life HDR images possible. Beyond RGB separates brightness from color information and performs all editing operations on the full 32-bit color data, thus eliminating the color shifts and halo artifacts often associated with the “HDR look.” As a result, HDR Express produces a more accurate representation of the colors and tonal range of the original scene that the photographer saw in the viewfinder.

Whether using HDR Express to apply HDR effects to a single image or merging multiple exposure brackets to maximize the dynamic range, the software accepts popular JPEG and TIFF files as well as many of the major manufacturers’ RAW formats. The included plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop® Lightroom TM and Apple’s® ApertureTM also allow users to seamlessly “round trip” images from their libraries. Once the work has been finalized, users can save the results as a JPEG, 8-bit or 16-bit TIFF, or preserve the full dynamic range of the HDR image by exporting in Unified Color’s native 32-bit BEF file.

HDR Express is available for $99 at www.unifiedcolor.com/hdr-express as an electronic download. Throughout December, Unified Color is also offering a special holiday promotion, during which the software is available for just $85. Current Unified Color customers looking to take advantage of HDR Express’ streamlined workflow can purchase the software for $50. A free, fully functional 30-day trial version is also available allowing anyone to take HDR Express for a risk-free test drive on their own computer with their own images.

System Requirements

PC: Windows XP, Windows Vista (for 20 MP image or larger, 64-bit Windows version is recommended.) 2.0GHz dual core minimum, 2GB RAM (recommend 4GB), 128MB video card memory.

Apple: Intel Macintosh 2.0 GHz dual core CPU with 2GB minimum RAM (4GB is recommended) running Mac OS 10.5.8 (Leopard) or Mac OS 10.6.4 (Snow Leopard).

About Unified Color

Unified Color Technologies is redefining the capabilities of visual technology with a unique color system that powers the next-generation of high dynamic range (HDR) imaging devices and software. A significant improvement over current industry standards, Unified Color’s new Beyond RGBTM color model presents a versatile color platform which is able to map a much larger color space encompassing the full human visual spectrum including colors found in nature and man-made light sources. Beyond RGB is available for licensing to digital imaging companies looking for a competitive market advantage. Powered by the Beyond RGB color model, the company’s flagship HDR software offerings have set a new industry standard for creating, depicting and editing the most realistic HDR images. More information about Unified Color can be found at http://www.unifiedcolor.com.

Nov 152010
 

This was an image that I made with the Canon 5D and Seitz VR Drive during a trip to Colorado in the fall of 2007. Recently, I noticed that I had never processed this HDR panorama. So, I thought I’d try using some new software. I used DXO Optics Pro 6 to process the RAW files. I did this to eliminate chromatic aberrations and to reduce image noise. For stitching, I used the latest beta version of Autopano Pro from Kolor, which has a fabulous new stacking feature. It stacks the bracketed exposures and then stitches them in perfect registration. I used HDR Expose to merge the three resulting files. Finally I did some post processing in Photoshop CS5 and the Viveza2 Photoshop plug-in from Nik.

Kolor, AutoPano Pro – Panorama stitching software – Panoramic photo software – image stitching

Nik Viveza 2, Precise Selective Photo Editing

See it here, Richard Sisk Productions

This HDR image does not look like an HDR and that is intentional!
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