Posts Tagged ‘HDR’

Tuesday, May 1st 2012

Lightroom 4.1: 32-bit HDR Editing

In the latest release candidate of Lightroom 4.1 (RC2), Adobe has added the possibility to edit 32-bit tiff files. This means you can merge several bracketed files in Photoshop using Merge to HDR Pro, save the resulting 32-bit file and then edit it in Lightroom using all the new fancy controls.

I gave it a try on an old HDR series I shot with my Canon 30D back in 2008. Here is the middle exposure:

After having merged the exposures in Photoshop and imported the resulting (111 MB) tiff in Lightroom, this is what it looked like:

Not so different from the middle exposure. So I got going with the new sliders in the basic panel and it turns out you can do som pretty cool stuff!

When editing a high dynamic range 32-bit file, the key is to bring down the highlights and to brighten the shadows. Lightroom 4 has two sliders that are called just that, Highlights and Shadows, so it is pretty straight forward.

The beauty of having a 32-bit file to work on is that you can make these adjustments to the extreme and keep getting more visible detail.

Here are the settings I ended up with after a bit of tweaking:

I then continued by tweaking the tone curve slightly and boosted the blue saturation (and surrounding colours aqua and purple).

Tone Curve panel in Lightroom 4

HSL Panel in Lightroom 4

I didn’t feel I had to do any local adjustments at all really. Here’s the final result:

32-bit HDR image processed in Lightroom 4

Pretty nice and crunchy! (And I didn’t even abuse the clarity slider!) Now compare it to the version I made back in 2008 using Photomatix (if I recall correctly) just Photoshop:

The new version has the advantage of Lightroom 4’s new Clarity algorithm as well as the new Defringing. The latter makes a huge difference when developing HDR images. Colour fringing can easily spoil an otherwise nice HDR image. In the old version above you can see some red fringing on the oak branches to the left.

Here’s another one I re-did now:

32-bit HDR image processed in Lightroom 4

… and the corresponding old version:

All in all, the new versions are amazingly crisp next to the old ones. Which versions you prefer is obviously a matter of taste, but there’s no denying that Lightroom 4.1 very easily can produce a nice and punchy HDR image that still looks reasonably realistic. No weird halos and none of the weird greyness that Photomatix produces.

It is really quite inspiring and makes me want to go back and re-edit a few more of my old HDR images.

Saturday, April 2nd 2011

Nya favoriter

Jag insåg att jag inte hade uppdaterat min samling med favoritbilder på Flickr på väldigt länge. Så jag gick igenom alla bilder sedan i april 2010 och valde ut ett gäng som jag tycker platsar där.

Lila/rosa Krollilja

Gul daglilja

De två bilderna här ovanför tog jag vid sommarstugan utanför Söderhamn. Fotografering är ett trevligt tidsfördriv inte minst på semestern. =)

Drommen, Jämtland

Den här tog jag i Jämtland, på ett sån där galen David-strapats vid halv fem på morgonen. När alla andra låg och sov lånade jag svärmors bil och åkte iväg en sväng i jakt på motiv. I bilden syns Drommen, en fin liten kulle på ~1000 meter som vi besteg sommaren 2009 (men valde att undvika 2010).

Hjortron i HDR

Dagen därpå gjorde jag samma sak igen, men utan bil. Jag knallade upp på Österfjället (vi bodde vid foten av fjället) och fick den här bilden vid halv femtiden. Det är en HDR-bild som för ovanlighetens skull ser ganska realistisk ut i mina ögon.


Den här är väl knappast något fotografiskt mästerverk … men den innehåller ju våfflor.


En av bilderna från en liten fotosession med Linnea i Linnes Hammarby utanför Uppsala.

Allén till Haga slott

Enköpings-Näs kyrka

Enköpings-Näs kyrka

De här tre bilderna tog jag en kylig dag i december strax utanför Enköping.

Saturday, March 26th 2011

Photomatix vs Picturenaut

Igår morse kunde jag inte låta bli att ta några HDR-bilder. Jag tog tre exponeringar för varje bild. –3, 0 och +3 stegs exponering.

Som vanligt är jag väldigt kluven över resultatet. Snyggt eller fult? Överdrivet eller dramatiskt?

Den här gången behandlade jag de två bilderna både i Photomatix och i Picturenaut. De två programmen ger väldigt speciella men väldigt olika effekter.

Först i varje par är Photomatix-bilden. Dra över bilderna för att jämföra med originalen (mittenexponeringen).

Hotell Statt och Nybron i soluppgången, HDR.

Jag gillar t ex inte de konstigheter som Photomatix hittar på vid lyktstolpen mitt i bilden här ovanför.

Hotell Statt och Nybron i soluppgången, HDR.

Hotell Statt och Nybron i soluppgången, HDR.

Hotell Statt och Nybron i soluppgången, HDR.

Den sista bilden blev extra konstig i Picturenaut, med helskumma färger på både himlen och trädet till höger. Ingen aning var Picturenaut fick de där nyanserna ifrån.

Jag skulle egentligen vilja lära mig göra HDR-bilder i Photoshop och blanda dem manuellt med lager och sånt. Någon som har något bra tips på var man kan börja?

Tuesday, September 1st 2009

Summer photos from Söderhamn

We spent one week at my parents’ summer cottage in Söderhamn. Plenty of stuff to take photos of.

24972 - 2009-08-06 kl 19.50

24975 - 2009-08-06 kl 19.53

24999 - 2009-08-06 kl 21.52

25087 - 2009-08-07 kl 19.31

24759-24761 - HDR

24822 - 2009-08-04 kl 14.54

24697 - 2009-08-03 kl 17.41

24711-24714 - HDR

24723-24725 - HDR

24682 - 2009-08-03 kl 17.20

24771 - 2009-08-03 kl 22.47

Saturday, May 30th 2009

Kronskogen, Eskilstuna

Felt a sudden creative urge yesterday and headed out to Kronskogen. Nice light and some nice dandelions.

23396-23398 - HDR

And a slug.

23442-23444 - HDR

23427-23429 - HDR

And some Lilacs in the garden.

23360 - 2009-05-29 kl 19.59

Friday, May 15th 2009

Eskilstuna shots

Some more shots from my last photo hunt.

Nybyggda hus på Hamngatan i Eskilstuna

Fairly new buildings on Hamngatan.

Tulpaner i Fors kyrkopark, HDR

Pretty Tulips in Fors kyrkopark.

Eskilstunaån, HDR

Eskilstunaån, or Eskilstuna river if you wish, with the local heat plant in the background.

The first shot was made from three bracketed exposures using my Gorillapod. The last two were done the same way but hand-held. Slight movements between the three shots don’t matter because Photomatix can align the features of the photos when making the HDR image.

Friday, May 8th 2009

Paris: Tour Montparnasse

Day three was spent entirely at Disneyland Paris. Since it wasn’t a very photogenic day, I’ll just leave it out.

So, on to day four. Which consisted mainly of two things. L’Arc de Triomphe and Tour Montparnasse.

22123 - 2009-04-10 kl 10.48

The view from our hotel window.

22193-22195 - HDR

Handheld, triple exposure HDR of the Arc.

22218-22220 - HDR

22228 - 2009-04-10 kl 17.43

Jenny resting her feet (and waiting for me to finish taking my photos).

22234 - 2009-04-10 kl 19.17

Tour Montparnasse. Huge (~210 meters) office building with the top floor + roof open for visitors.

22237 - 2009-04-10 kl 19.22

The lift did 56 floors in 38 seconds!

22285 - 2009-04-10 kl 20.08

22286 - 2009-04-10 kl 20.50

Great view from the top. Very nice and relaxed since there weren’t many people there really. A great visit for any photographer.

Monday, February 16th 2009

More Shots of Stockholm


Kungsholmen seen from Skinnarviksberget.

Tyska kyrkan and Storkyrkan

Tyska kyrkan in front of Storkyrkan.

21005 - 2009-02-14 kl 16.28

Rooftops of Södermalm.

Slussen & Södermalm

Slussen, Södermalm and Riddarfjärden.

21063 - 2009-02-14 kl 17.29


Expressen & Dagens Nyheter neon signs, neonskyltar

Expressen and Dagens Nyheter. Triple shot HDR.

Ignatiigränd, Gamla stan, Stockholm

Ignatiigränd, Gamla stan, Stockholm

Ignatiigränd, Gamla stan. Five and six shot HDRs.

Stockholms stadshus and Centralbron

Stockholms stadshus and Centralbron. 30 second exposure.

Friday, January 2nd 2009

More HDR shots of Uppsala

A few more HDR shots from the same photo walk as the previous ones.

This is the big cinema in Uppsala, Filmstaden. I only needed three bracketed shots to get the dynamic range here, since the sky wasn’t that bright above the houses.

SF Filmstaden, Uppsala (HDR)

And here five shots, taken about two hours after the photo above.

SF Filmstaden, Uppsala (HDR)

This is Islandsfallet, from which the river is deep enough for boats to sail south to lake Mälaren.

Islandsfallet, Uppsala

Thursday, January 1st 2009

Kvarnfallet, again

It’s beginning to feel like I’m repeating myself … Couldn’t resist to take a few more pictures of Kvarnfallet last time I went shooting in Uppsala.

Kvarnfallet, Uppsala

I used my Gorillapod to fasten my camera to the iron fence that runs along the river, keeping the shoulder strap around my neck as extra security. Didn’t feel like loosing the camera to the ice-cold water below.

I probably looked weird to the people passing by … but hey, that’s photography.

Upplandsmuseet vid Kvarnfallet, Uppsala

For this last shot (which really was the first) I used the grey (ND) filter I was given for Christmas. Very useful for this kind of stuff to get nice long exposures.

Kvarnfallet och Upplandsmuseet, Uppsala

Thursday, December 4th 2008

Musikens hus i Uppsala

Två HDR-bilder jag tog i helgen på Musikens hus, eller som det egentligen heter, Uppsala Konsert och Kongress.

Musikens hus i Uppsala

Musikens hus i Uppsala

Wednesday, November 26th 2008


Friday, November 21st 2008


I was off work today, so I went out at dusk to grab some more HDR photos. I had a few ideas of what to try. They’ve put up the Christmas lights all over town, so I thought I would see how they looked tonemapped.

I went into town at about two pm, thinking I would be there just before they switch the lights on. (It starts going dark at around 2.30.) It turned out I was a bit early and stood freezing for almost an hour.

Köpmangatan, Eskilstuna, tonemapped

While I was waiting I took some shots when the sun went down. The sky was rather dull so I didn’t think they would be very interesting. But I’d say they turned out at least as nice as the shots I got with the Christmas lights later on.

Köpmangatan, Eskilstuna, tonemapped

When my toes were about to fall off and I couldn’t cope with waiting any longer, I went to the paper where I work to get my core temperature back up to normal.

Just as I was about to head off again, they switched the lights on. So I set up my tripod in the middle of the cycle path (why are the best places for tripods always in someone’s way?) and got a shot of Nybrogatan.

Nybrogatan, Klosters kyrka

I also got a few of the main shopping street, Kungsgatan.

Kungsgatan, Eskilstuna

I finished off back at Köpmangatan where I started. I tried making them as saturated as the first ones, but that didn’t really look good. So I went with fairly muted colours instead.

Köpmangatan Eskilstuna, HDR

Tuesday, November 18th 2008

Playing with Photomatix

Klosters kyrka i HDR

During the weekend I got my hands on Photomatix and have started experimenting with it.

For those who didn’t know, Photomatix is software for combining over- and underexposed shots into artistic-looking HDR images.

In the Flickr community, there seem to be basically two camps. Those who love Photomatix and those who hate it. I’ve always been somewhere in between.

The program allows you to create really eye-catching images, but they will look nothing like real life. If you just accept this fact and see these overcooked HDR images as an artform slightly beyond photography, then you can have loads of fun making them, as I’ve now discovered.

Also in defense of Photomatix (not that it needs it) is the fact that far from all photos treated in Photoshop look real either.

Bostadshus i solnedgången i Eskilstuna i HDR

Yesterday I went into town just before sundown with my tripod to see if there was anything worth pointing the camera at. The photos above and below are a couple I came away with.

I’m slowly beginning to learn what all the sliders in Photomatix do. There are a few more than I had reckoned and they don’t all do what you expect them to. The key ones seem to be strength (obviously), luminosity and light smoothing as well as the tone settings (gamma, white point and black point).

Eskilstunaån och Fors kyrka i solnedgången, HDR

Seeing how much fun it is to make these images, you’ll no doubt see more here in the future…

Monday, October 6th 2008

Some more HDR

Just playing around really, hardly very interesting shots. But this is definitely a good use for HDR, shooting out through windows.

19124-19126 - HDR

And the regular exposure:

19125 - 2008-10-04 kl 15.37

19115-19117 - HDR

And again, the medium exposure original:

19116 - 2008-10-04 kl 15.33

I did these the cheating way with only three exposures, -2, 0 and +2. By using the camera in high speed drive this is quite good for when you don’t have a tripod around. You still need something to hold your camera against though.

Thursday, October 2nd 2008

HDR – Getting it Right

Today I sat down and went about creating HDR images out of the multiple exposures I took on my last photo excursion. It was pretty tricky getting the settings right in Photoshop and it took a couple of hours of experimenting before I felt the output was what I wanted.

(If you just want the photos, scroll down.)

The main problem seems to be that when you press a large tonal range into 8 (24) bits of colour you easily end up with a very dull looking photo.

The fix for this dullness is using curves and local adaptation when converting from 32-bit to 8-bit. But, with endless possible combinations of settings it takes a while to find something that looks good and realistic.

I finally ended up with these settings:

  • Radius: 120 px
  • Treshold: 1.0

I also adjust the curve to only just clip the information in the 32-bit image:

Screenshot of the 16-bit conversion dialog in Photoshop with my favourite settings, radius 120 px and treshold 1.0

Those settings give me this:

A19070 - HDR

And for comparison, the original (metered exposure):

19070 - 2008-09-29 kl 17.46

I have put the best shots in a Flickr set.

Getting the shots right

While making the HDR images I realized that I didn’t take dark enough exposures to retain all the detail in the brightest highlights. I used the cameras auto-bracketing feature and did -2, 0 and +2 exposures, except for the last shot I took where I manually did -4 EV to +3 EV at 1 step intervals.

And it is only in that last shot that I can get all the detail around the sun.

So if you’re including the sun or a bright sky, you should probably go at least four stops below the metered exposure, and four above. If you follow Denny Tangs advice here that means that a series of -4, -2, 0, +2 and +4 should do the trick if you’re using an SLR.

If you use Photoshop for merging into HDR I’d love to hear what settings you tend to use.

Edit: Since posting I have decided to also add a very slight S-curve for slightly more contrast. The photos on Flickr have been updated.