Trying HDR part 2

Today I took another look at a series of shots I took on my Mount St. Helens trip. I chose another bracketed series of photos. The reason I took this shot in the first place was because of the two dead trees sticking up in front of the picture. I found it interesting that both were side by side, the dead and the living, standing as witness to the devastation and renewal.

This photo was taken using my 28-135 mm lens, using a tripod. It was processed in Photomatix as an HDR image and then tweaked in Photoshop CS5.

You’ll notice the dark underside of the clouds; especially the clouds nearest the front of the photo. I love HDR, but I’m not happy with this effect. Part of the issue is the fact that it was cloudy that day and those clouds were a bit ominous looking to begin with. The other issue is the merging of the three bracketed photos as an HDR image. The clouds came out dark, right at the beginning, but once I tried to sharpen the contrast, zap! The clouds got too dark. This is where my lesson came in….after the fact, of course, and had I taken the time to learn about lighting before I went on the trip, then I would most likely have gotten better photos to start with.

I have a Canon EOS 50D camera. What I’m gonna tell you next is how it works on my camera. Note: You have to be in one of the “Creative Zones” on the shooting mode dial, like P or AV, for example, otherwise you can’t override the automatic mode on your camera. Back to White Balance adjustment. It’s quite simple really and you might be thinking what a bonehead I am, but honestly, it’s about laziness and impatience with me. So, I found this out: If I would have just gone to the menu on the back of my camera and gone to White Balance and set the camera for “cloudy”, I might not have had this problem. These settings adjust the color balance. Yes, light has color in it. Another way to adjust the White Balance is to push the WB button, which is located near the small screen on the top of the camera. Once I hit WB I then use the Quick Control Dial (the big one on the back of the camera) to set the White Balance that way. It changes these little icons on the screen that signify the different settings like, cloudy, sunny, tungsten, etc. If you are unsure of what the little icons mean, use the White Balance setting on the menu at the back of the camera, as it tells you what each symbol means.

Another tool would be the histogram on the back of the camera, found under the “info” button on the back. Problem with the histogram in an HDR series might be the fact that you are taking bracketed photos at -2, 0, +2, so the underexposed and overexposed shots will have the histogram messed up to begin with. I’ll have to research that further and get back to you on it.

Hopefully you aren’t as much of a bonehead as me, but hey, at least you can learn from my mistakes. As one of my photography idols says, just shooting pictures is the best teacher.

Happy Shooting!

tj

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~ by redplaidboots on September 17, 2010.

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