I’ve been wanting to play around with HDR and tonemapping for a while now.

While out and about the other lunchtime I took a series of handheld photos to make into an HDR. I had remembered the copy of Photoshop CS3 on the work laptop that lives at home, with its handy “Merge to HDR” functionality that also corrects for handheld wobbles between the photos in the series to be merged.

The free tool I use, qtpfsgui, or at least its Mac version, doesn’t yet do this (although it will soon) for HDR creation (but it has a large range of tonemapping algorithms though). I’d much sooner use it for both the HDR creation and tonemapping, but unless I try again using a tripod to take the source images, I’ll need to wait.

Here’s some results:

Ferns vs The Majestic Centre

Ferns vs. the Majestic Centre: Natural

Tonemapped Ferns

Ferns vs. the Majestic Centre: Tonemapped

Freakshow Ferns

Ferns vs. the Majestic Centre: Freakshow

OK, so the first one is by way of comparison: it’s a normal shot I took at the same time.

The others were made using qtpfsgui; the first of these is my attempt at a relatively restrained tonemap - something that might fit into the True-Tone HDR group on Flickr.

The next is, well… interesting. There are no doubt many Photoshop or Gimp filters that could achieve a similar effect. So it may or may not be a little pointless.

Like many technology-based tools, HDR and tonemapping look like they need careful and considered (and probably sparing) use to avoid a geeks-gone-wild effect.

Plus good source material, which is something I need to do more work on.

Gathadair @dubh
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