Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More Tilt-shift and HDR

I've spent a little more time playing around with my photos. This past weekend, we drove to Salem, and I took some pictures with the different software in mind.

First, I took some photos of the town from the top of a parking garage and edited them in Photoshop using the tilt-shift method, as well as enhancing the color saturation:
Then I took photos with HDR (high dynamic range) editing in mind. The best way to do this is to find interesting subject matter and take at least three photos in different exposures. The point is to highlight different parts of the photos using the different exposures and then combine the photos so it appears more true-to-life. For more explanation on HDR photography, check out this guy's page. He goes into a lot more detail. My camera has auto-bracketing, which means I can make the camera do all the work. It's a setting that enables the camera to take three photos in quick succession, using the three different exposures (-2, 0, +2). Ideally, you want to use a tripod so there's no movement between the photos. I didn't have one but was able to align the photos using the HDR software. I'll admit I wasn't too pleased with the results. I think it's because the subject matter of my photos wasn't ideal for this kind of manipulation. Based on photos I've seen on HDR sites, you get better results with clouds, water, sun, and interesting buildings all in the same shot. If you visit the above link, you'll see what I mean. Or just click here for images on Google.

Below is what I was able to get. Mind you, I've just started playing with the software and have yet to find more suitable subject matter:
Since I didn't post the originals, you can't see the difference. So let me show you a few before and after photos I created using RAW photos from my San Francisco trip:
Notice how the colors are brighter and more pronounced? The HDR photos actually look more like what I saw in real life than the originals.  I'm still working on getting photos that can get cool results like in some of the links I showed you. Unfortunately, I don't often travel to Europe!

Here is a photo I edited using both HDR and tilt-photography methods:

And here is a photo I edited using HDR to enhance the colors in image and then Aperture to gray out the background:

More to come, once I can take more pictures and get better acquainted with Photomatix Pro. It doesn't help that the trial leaves a watermark on all the HDR photos, which I then have to manually remove in Photoshop. *sigh* Maybe once I get a full-time job I can afford Photomatix!

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