I’ve lost sense of time, but I’m about two weeks into the hdr trickery, and in most cases, I can make a fairly natural color image if that’s what I’m after. I don’t think I need to write about each image anymore. (I’m sure some of you are saying – yippee). But images will either be faux-hdr like this one, or real-hdr (with several different exposures).
The faux-hdr technique: you create virtual files from the master one in Lightroom or whatever you use to make tonal adjustments. In the simplest situation, one file might keep the highlights and the other keeps the shadow areas. You fuse them in Photomatix or whatever program you like.
Then the tone mapping tool is used to get to the overall look. Then back into Lightroom as a tiff for the final touches, as needed. The benefit of this method is that it can be used with any image, handheld or tripod. You don’t need to deal with the issues of stuff that’s moving and trying to match align those shots. You don’t really have the range of data that you’d have if you did three separate exposures – but frankly – for natural stuff where you haven’t clipped stuff too badly – it works well.
And then there is the “real hdr” where you are going to be using a tripod and pulling in a wider dynamic range to be merged. I’ll give that it’s own post at some point. But for anyone that’s been following this saga – the main point is that the process has helped me tremendously to get color images where the color doesn’t conflict with the subject. This is sort of the opposite of most hdr images where the effect is the subject.
Now I just need to let this stuff sit for a while and see if I feel the same way about it’s potential a month from now. In the meantime, I expect to be working in color for a while.