HDR How To

After my post on Colorado HDR, someone asked me how I make my High Dynamic Range images. Here’s a new one from Red Rocks…along with the 9 images that made it.

For this image I used a D3 with the fabulous Nikkor 14-24 f2.8 lens. I set the frame advance to high-speed continuous. And I turn on the auto bracketing to 1 stop increments. Depending on the scene, I’ll set it for 5, 7, or 9 brackets. Since I didn’t have a tripod with me, I hand-held while squeezing the shutter and let the camera fly through all frames as fast as possible to prevent camera movement between frames. All images are shot in RAW.

After importing to Adobe Lightroom, I check all images for brightness, color, and contrast. Then I export to Photomatix. Photomatix is a specialized program specifically designed for HDR. It can run as a stand-alone program, or as a plugin. In Photomatix I play around with the various sliders until I get the look I want. When I’m done, I save and it imports the new HDR image back into Lightroom. There, I’ll do some final tweaking to the contrast, saturation, and exposure. At this point I’m done and export the final JPG.

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