Monday, May 7, 2012

HDR Image Processing

Most of the time during our trip to Champagne, Lorraine and Alsace, the sky was very cloudy with occasionally patchy blue sky and sunshine.  It sometimes made very dramatic lighting conditions for the landscape as the cloud moved through the scenery.  However, it made normal photography in the city very difficult.  The sky was often over blown with the cityscape low in contrast and appeared washed out.

We dealt with this situation using HDR Image Processing.  We would either take photographs at series of different exposures then merged them together in the HDR software, or I would take an evenly exposed picture (RAW) and used RAW processing software (NX2) to create a series of images at different exposures then merged them together.

My HDR software (Photomatix Pro) basically has two types of processing to choose from: Exposure Fusion and Tone Mapping.  Exposure Fusion creates more natural looking pictures, Tone Mapping can create very dramatic artifical look.  The following three sets of images are the same or similar images processed by these two different methods.  

In most situations, we did not have much room in the villages to position our camera in perfect height and distance to gain correct prospective of the buildings.  We would try our best then correct the prospective of the images later in Photoshop.  For these three sets of images, I was able to stand on a bridge to get correct prospective and composition thus very little post-processing adjustment was needed.

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