Here in the United States its Thanksgiving, a day to be with friends and family. In the spirit of sharing, I thought I’d post one of the images that blends a technique I’ll be writing more about soon: blending HDR and stitching to get large photographs with incredibly wide tonal values while still looking pretty “normal!”
Recently I began working more with landscape photography and, in turn, my old habit of making multiple photographs of a scene and stitching them together. Related to that, I recently began to explore what would happen if I made multiple versions of the multiple pictures to be stitched together: that is, what if you bracket for High Dynamic Range photography with each “view” in a panorama or other stitched image. The results can be pretty amazing, but so is the amount of work that can be required to pull it off! I’ll be writing more on this topic after Thanksgiving!
While I was experimenting with a 5D Mark III camera body on loan from CPS, I discovered that one of its killer apps is for high dynamic range photography. No, not its built-in HDR functionality (which is rather underwhelming). Rather, I am referring to its ability to set autoexposure bracketing for up to seven frames and, when the shutter button is depressed, automatically go into mirror lock-up and rapidly fire each frame in sequence. The one wrinkle? If you already have mirror lock-up enabled, this while actually cause a hiccup: it will want you to hit the shutter for each frame. Canon, please fix this quirk in your next firmware release!
This is much more useful than previous incarnations of autoexposure bracketing: three images really is not enough for HDR photography. Seven? I can work with seven!
I’ve been going through my photographs from Utah, and found a few images I intended to blend together to form high dynamic range photographs. The above is one such image, made on a tripod at 100 ISO and f/16, with my shutter speed going from 1/2 second in the first exposure to 1/4 second, and finally 1/8 second in the third and final image.
I blended them together in Photomatix last night, and then applied curves and selective color, as well as a healthy dose of “local contrast enhancement” (Unsharp Mask @ 15%, Radius 60).
Fittingly, it was made at a place along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway in Utah named “Christmas Meadows!”
Update: Here’s one more from the same evening and location. Oh, and I’ve got a panorama or two (finally) coming together to post here as well.