It was still dark when I rode my motorbike from the Senggigi area to the north. The road snaking on the edge of the coastal cliffs, I continued to go to Malimbu hill. Last afternoon I was there, but was a bit disappointed because the sun was not visible. Just found some monkeys trying to steal food.
That morning I tried my luck again. I’ve been smelling the beautiful sunrises since last night. And, that’s right, the red tinge behind the hill, I really have to say wow! But, ah, why isn’t my Gradual ND filter in the bag? It turned out that the filter was left in my lodging room while packing last night. Time for the second plan, HDR!
This is what you need to do :
1. Install the Tripod
In my opinion, HDR photos must use a tripod. In fact, I always use a tripod for any landscape photos, if possible. Because in addition to stabilizing, a tripod makes us more relaxed to think.
At that time I only brought a gorillapod, and I installed it on the road divider.
2. Find the ‘middle’ exposure value
The point of HDR is to get as much dynamic range as possible. So, as a starting point, look for exposure that highlights and gets shadows. There’s no calculation, just roughly.
3. From there, take ±1 EV
That means, take one more photo to bring up the details shadow. And one more photo for highlights.
This is not an absolute rule. We may not only take 3 photos, it can be 4, 5 and so on, it may also be at a distance of 1/2, 1/3 or 1/4 EV. Adjust to the needs of the light range at that time.
The rule of thumb is to take 3 photos at a distance of 1 EV. Use the exposure bracketing feature on the camera to make it more practical.
4. Change to TIFF 16 bit
It’s time to start the editing process. This step is actually optional. From the results of my experiments, combining HDR photos with raw or jpeg formats, it turns out to leave a few ‘artifacts’. For that try a lossless format like TIFF for better results. Can use Photoshop or similar programs.
5. Tone Mapping
This is the process of combining photos with 3 different EVs earlier. I use Photomatix software. Many presets can be used, but try to adjust the existing sliders yourself.
Here, I try to combine photos as natural as possible. Because a lot of HDR photos are in color like the Harry Potter films. Too bright and like a cartoon, doesn’t look like a photo.
For that, the most important slider is the smoothness slider. Set not to be too much. This is a screenshot when I merged the photos. Open the image in a new tab to enlarge.
After being touched up again, HDR photos are ready to be enjoyed!
For those who want to try it, please download these three raw files [download]. For photomatix software, you can download the trial on the hdrsoft website.
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