Sunday, December 05, 2010

Watkins Glen Revisited - HDR

I shot these images of Watkins Glen back in the late spring of 2010. I was fairly happy with the original shots, but struggled with capturing the whole contrast range of the scene. I found I had shadows and highlights that were off of the scale even shooting long exposures in the early (5:30am) light of a rainy day. I was able to capture the scene really feels like using HDR or High Dynamic Range software. Essentially you take a normal shot and then one over exposed and one under exposed of the exact same scene and the software uses the best parts of each file to compress the scene into a tonal range you can work with. These images are much closer to the magic you feel wandering the trail along the falls in Watkins Glen. The only trick is to always setup on a tripod and bracket the scene with one normal and one under and over exposed shot. There are a tone of shots I could have done this with as I always bracket my images... Alas as part of my work flow afterwards I decide which image of the three is best and delete the other two so I don't have a lot of shots I can do this too. I will however keep this in mind as I shoot new images because this can help me produce breathtaking images. Like any tool the trick is to know when to stop so you do not take it too far.

You should give it a try you can get some amazing images. You can really open up the shadows and pull out detail this way while retaining the highlights.

On a technical note my HDR Software is HDR EFEX PRO from NIK Software and is available from the good folks at Digital Silver Imaging.

Keep Makin' Art!


Karen Martin Sampson said...

I looked at today's post and then went back to this one to read more about HDR. Does the software you mentioned work with Canon DSLR's? I am looking to upgrade next year (if I can ever afford it!) from my little
Canon G2 (which has been a great camera since I got it ten years ago but is limited in what I can do with it).

Carl said...

Hi Karen - Yes the HDR Efex and Silver Efex pro are both working fine with My Canon DSLRs and Photoshop CS4. So far I am thrilled with all the products NIK software is putting out for Photoshop.


Victoria Fatum said...

These came out really nice, Carl. Nice color in the water!

Carl said...

Hi Victoria. I just got 11x14s back from these on metalic paper they look amazing.

Jerry Deese said...

These look spectacular. I have yet to try a waterfall shot, but ones like these inspire me.