Tag Archives: HDR

MacPhun Aurora HDR Pro!

MacPhun is offering Aurora HDR Pro with bonus features!

HDR can be extremely challenging for a number of reasons. Let’s look at this image I recently developed. The challenge was that the 3 bracketed images include various items in motion. For example, in the middle exposure (top left), the woman was walking away from the stopped train. But in the darker exposure (top right), there is altogether a different women in that same position. In the lightest exposure (bottom image), she is even more blurred. With other HDR programs, I have struggled with blending images with movement, even when I have selected the primary/base image. Additionally, I wanted to get the most dynamic range possible without the image looking “hdr”.

Aurora HDR Pro successfully blended the 3 images, while retaining the features from the base image I identified and the integrity of a “non-hdr” image, creating exactly the final image I was going for!

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Developed from these images:

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Key Features include: 

  • Aurora HDR Pro + Bonuses for only $89!
  • Reflect Studio App: Add stunning reflections to your images
  • Watermark Sense App: Batch Watermark images with text and/or logos
  • Preset Pack: 18 Bonus Pro Presets
  • 25 Bonus Textures
  • 4 Sets of Professional Exposure Brackets
  • Over $100 in Savings

To purchase Aurora HDR, click the link below!

Aurora HDR + Bonuses

Panoramas aren’t just for Landscapes

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Panoramas are often an effective way to showcase the grandeur of a vast landscape. A photographer can often show more in a wide aspect panorama, instead of just stepping backward or using a wide angle lens. I love shooting panoramas in the great outdoors but I also find ways to use this technique on other types of photography as well. In the image above I shot 5 vertical frames of the lobby inside the former Women’s Auxiliary Building at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. I used a Nikon 14-24mm lens at 14mm on a full frame sensor. While that lens has a very wide field of view, it was not wide enough for me to capture the entire scene in one shot.

Back in the film days you would use a special camera such as the X-Pan. This was a camera that used 35mm film and would expose the image at 24mm x 65mm, instead of the traditional 24mm x35mm that is typical for 35mm cameras. Ten years ago I dreamed of owning an X-Pan, but the price of the bodies and lenses was prohibitive. Many used 35mm film cameras have become fairly inexpensive but if you look around a used X-Pan is not one of them. The only advantage I can think of today where a film camera such as an X-Pan would have the advantage over digital is with a fast moving subject. Slow moving subjects such as clouds and water work just fine for digital panoramas.

So if you want to start shooting panoramas with your digital camera you will need to learn a little about Parallax. Really Right Stuff has a great tutorial on their site. My panorama rig is from Really Right Stuff and while not inexpensive, in my opinion the quality is the best and worth the investment. There are less expensive options for a Nodal Slide and other assorted gear if cost is a factor.

Years ago I had two or three programs I used for assembling panoramas, because when one program failed to properly stitch the panorama, another program would often do the job. But in the last few years Photoshop has gotten so good at this feature I have not needed the other programs when I switched my processing from a PC to Mac. So today all my panoramas are assembled in Photoshop.

Some cameras (including my Fuji XT-1) will shoot handheld panoramas, but the results are not always precise and in the case of my Fuji, it saves the result as a Jpg file instead of a RAW file. I occasionally use the panorama feature on my Fuji, but when the shot really counts I use my tripod and panorama rig to get it right.

Grandpa’s Truck

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Do you ever revisit your old images?  I do on occasion and probably should do it more often.  I took this picture almost 10 years ago.   It was a truck in the woods on my grandfather’s farm.  As a kid I thought I had been just about everywhere on that farm, but never saw this truck.  After the farm was sold to a developer I decided to make what I thought was one last visit, but in truth I ended up going back several times.  The developer had cut a road through the woods and this truck was visible from the road.  I think many years ago it was probably left parked at the edge of a field and over time the forest kept growing and eventually encompassed the truck.

When I shot this truck I knew that I needed to take more than one picture, but this was before I had learned much about HDR.  So I took a few brackets and it was enough to keep the sky behind the trees from blowing out.

Skip forward to today.  I loaded the 3 bracketed images into Photomatix and then moved the HDR image into Photoshop where I applied a little contrast and then used Topaz Impression for the painted look.

With today’s technology I can achieve a look that exceeds anything I thought possible at the time of capture.

Photomatix is my favorite tool for creating HDR images.  It is available as a free download and is fully functional for 30 days.  If you decide to purchase use the discount code “RRPT” for a 15% discount.

Topaz Impression is a fantastic tool for creating that “painted” look.  Use the code “roadrunner” and click here for a 15% discount on Topaz products.  Topaz products are fully functional for 30 days, so give it a try.

The Softer Side of Grunge

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When I’m shooting an abandoned building most of my pictures tend to have a “grungy” look. This is usually accomplished with the use of Photomatix and some selective editing in Photoshop. But a couple years ago on my first visit to Scranton Lace Factory I decided to take a different approach. I did some shooting with my Lensbaby and the soft focus optic.

I love the soft focus optic and use it frequently with flowers. The soft focus optic is different from the other Lensbaby lens options because there is no focus spot, rather the entire scene is soft, yet in focus. But for some reason it seemed like the right tool for the scene in front of me.

Clients of Road Runner are eligible for a 10% discount on Lensbaby Gear.  Contact us for a discount code.

Photomatix is my favorite tool for creating HDR images.  It is available as a free download and is fully functional for 30 days.  If you decide to purchase use the discount code “RRPT” for a 15% discount.

 

Seeing Differently

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Like many other photographers I enjoy visiting favorite locations multiple times.  But sometimes when you look around all you see are the same things you have seen and photographed before.  When that happens I find the best thing to do is grab a lens that I might not frequently use and see what happens.

In the case of the picture above, I used a 10.5mm fisheye and used a small window opening to frame the staircase.  Considering that I have shot this building many times, this change allowed me to see something new.