If it ain’t broke find a new tactic

I have been trying to write over the last couple of weeks about HDR photography. I think there are many great things that HDR can do and sometimes it can be daunting to know where to start. Following the mantra of my blog; Showcase, Share, Discuss, I thought HDR would be a great topic.

Part of the writing  has been research. My own forays into HDR have been through trial and error and a few articles. However when I am putting this down on paper I am conscious that i want to write something that is correct. Through my readings and notes I found that most of what i have done in my own work has been good or correct according to the god of photography (ie people who have written stuff).

I have always used Photomatix and my results have meant sometimes a little extra work in photoshop, especially with local adjustments.

Today though i was watching a lecture about HDR photography and the speaker recommended NIK Software HDR Efex Pro. I have just tried it out and wanted to share the result.

This picture was taken not really for a HDR but i had the three exposures and a wide range of contrast in the image and I thought it would be a good image to experiment with.

The first thing that was different was that I could load the images from Bridge into the Photoshop plugin. I have never done this before with Photomatix as i only use the standalone editor and not the plugin. Once in the HDR Efex the options for my image were more generous apart from a huge number of presents. The software was more than just about tone mapping the image and spitting it out, HDR Efex allowed me to make choices for example darkening the sky or editing one area, using the information that i feel now is lost in Photomatix.

The image above does not look like a HDR image just like as I like but the image looks clean and smooth.

For comparison I have also edited the same image through photomatix and my old work flow.

I think I will keep both packages and see which one over time I come to prefer with this image though i much prefer the HDR Efex Pro image to the Photomatrix one.

It is said “it is ain’t broke don’t fix it” maybe it should be “If it ain’t broke keep looking for alternatives because you never know what is around the corner.”

Let me know which one you like and what software you use for your HDR images.

3 thoughts on “If it ain’t broke find a new tactic

  1. I am impressed with the result you got from HDR Efex, I have loved Photomatix, but I also know there are problems with it and there are things about I don’t like. I will try this and see what happens. Thanks for the tips on how to load the images into it, I was a bit stuck on that, haha.

    • I have not yet deleted photomatix as i am sure i will still use it from time to time like when i am making HDR panoramas and need to batch process but otherwise i have moved over to HDRefex. You are right about the presets they are really useful esp when you want a certain feel and then tweak it later. Glad you liked the post and thanks for taking the time to pop over and taking a look.

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