Thursday, March 1, 2012

How To Get Great Shots of the Arboretum

How to Process Great Shots of the Arboretum using HDR (High Dynamic Range) Software

One of the big problems photographing any outdoor scene is the huge amount of contrast you might encounter. If you expose the picture at a high ISO you get more details but your color seems washed out, expose at a low ISO and you get vast amounts of shadow that take away from the image. Now there is software that can take 'bracketed' (two or three pictures taken of the same scene; one at the recommended exposure and the other one or two a step above and/or below that value respectively) The software evens out the tones and keeps the contrast from being too high. It can also compress the tones to make them more colorful and dynamic, but not to the point where believability has to be suspended. Below is an example two photographs I used HDR on to make a single, dynamic and impactful image. 
Shot of aloe section and cactus and succulent section at recommended exposure level (Nikon D5000)

Shot of aloe section and cactus and succulent section at  1 step under recommended  exposure level. 

Composite of above images created  using HDR software. 
Right now I'm using Photomatix Pro for my HDR processing, it's about$90 and you can download a trial version (it leaves a watermark on the image when your done). 

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