Tidal pools along the Oregon Coast and a bit about the magic of HDR

For the better part of about 2 and a half years now, I have been enjoying the results that Photomatix and Photoshop can bring to an image. I know I’ve mentioned my techniques a little bit here on the blog, but I plan on going a bit deeper here shortly. As just a teaser though, I have posted the following strip of exposures that were taken straight out of the camera. As you can see, the left image has some great detail and color in the sky, but what’s with the rest of the scene. Deep dark shadows, thats what!

Lets back up here a second….

First off, the camera is locked down on the tripod. I like to find scenes that are high contrast like this one. The extreme high dynamic range of a sunset while shooting right into the sun is a great candidate for HDR photography and photomatix processing. As far as camera settings, basically your best bet is to turn off all auto functions and head into manual mode or aperture priority mode. As you can see, the aperture here was f16. I then varied the shutter speed to let in more light to capture the full dynamic range of the scene.

Its a bit deeper than that, but its a quick start to understanding the basic HDR image capture. The object is to capture all that light range. Your eyes can do it, but the camera sensor….not so much…..

Of course, it gets even deeper after this. Once the images are off the camera card in the computer, its time to churn them thru the Photomatix or similar HDR processing software. For me, the process then continues as I refine it in Photoshop before presenting it here on the blog.

I know a few of you out there have done this successfully on a regular basis, but a few are still not sure how its done (or don’t really care how its done actually!) If your interested in the my process and want me to dive in a bit deeper into my own HDR and image processing and refining, please let me know! Are there any specific questions you have?

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  • Flickr: Gold41 - August 16, 2010 - 3:21 am

    Wow! Great colors and a great find. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Doug - August 15, 2010 - 9:24 pm

    I am most diffenetly interested in the detail’s of your processing from beginning to end and the little secrets in between.
    You mentioned, that after you are on aperature mode you adjust the the shutter speed. How do you accomplish this in aperature mode? When I shoot my photo’s (Brackets) in aperature mode the camera automaticaly shoots all 3 exposures and adjust’s the shutter speed.
    Do you take each exposure individualy and adjust the shutter speed manualy? If so, how do you determine what speed to use.
    Sorry for all the ramble but I’m very earger to klearn.
    Thank YouReplyCancel

  • Flickr: maccie1 - August 16, 2010 - 11:42 am

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. The colours are amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Flickr: RICHIGRAFIK - August 16, 2010 - 12:06 pm

    great colors. the little sea animals look cool!ReplyCancel

  • Flickr: Björn Burton - August 16, 2010 - 1:39 pm

    Nice HDR!ReplyCancel

  • Flickr: Fraggle Red - August 16, 2010 - 1:52 pm

    Very nice composition and superb processing, Mike.ReplyCancel

  • Flickr: p.m.w - August 17, 2010 - 2:07 am

    thank you so much, that’s beautiful, even colourful starfish and everything wow, i love thisReplyCancel

  • Flickr: H-L-Andersen - September 14, 2010 - 12:21 pm

    Great shot and treatmnent
    Like the details whit the starfish and snails ReplyCancel

  • Flickr: K I M M O - December 8, 2010 - 8:15 pm

    Very beautiful photostream!!! Keep up good work!ReplyCancel

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