HDR Photos [Photoshop and Luminance HDR]

HDR Photos

It’s been a while since I posted anything about HDR imaging, and I realized that I never put Adobe Photoshop CS5 to the test. I did try creating an HDR image with CS4, but was disappointed with the results…

In the image above you can see my final output of an image. On the left side is all Photoshop, and on the right side is Luminance HDR (formerly “Qtpfsgui” for you old timers.)

Now for both of these images I did the HDR+ thing I talked about a while back, where I blend an HDR image with a normal exposure. Personally, I like the way those turn out, so it’s pretty much how I do HDR.

Pewaukee Lake

Here’s the image from Photoshop. (View it large at Flickr.)

Pewaukee Lake

Here’s the image from Luminance HDR. (View it large at Flickr.)

I think the Photoshop image looks better in the sky… it looks a bit cleaner, while the Luminance HDR image has a little bit of banding going on. You can also see some differences in the trees, and the water, but I think the rocks in the foreground really show the difference, and I prefer what Luminance HDR did.

This is only my first attempt at comparing the two applications, so it’s not entirely scientific. I did go into each file and tweak it a bit to try to match them closely as far as the color balance, but the detail is where the difference is most apparent. I also didn’t see any way to adjust the tonemapping in Photoshop, while Luminance HDR has a ton of sliders and options to twiddle with.

I suppose next time I could combine the two final images into a ‘final final’ image that would be some sort of SUPER HDR+ image. (I’ll add that to the ‘to do’ list.)


Ringy Dinghy

Ringy Dinghy

This is a photo of the “Ringy Dinghy” taken at Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin…

I started with a single RAW image and created 3 different exposures by processing the NEF file in Photoshop. Once I had the 3 files, I loaded them into Luminance HDR (aka ‘qtpfsgui’) which combined them into an HDR image, and I then tonemapped the image.

This part won’t mean much to you unless you are familiar with qtpfsgui (aka ‘Luminance HDR’) but these are the tonemap settings for this particular image. (I tend to use Mantiuk the most.)


Once I created the tonemapped image, I saved that, and then combined it with the middle exposure shot in Photoshop, just slightly blending the layers. Then I saved that file as our final image.

This is pretty much the technique I described as HDR+ back in 2009, and the method I used for my Red Barn photo.


I Fell Through…

“I fell through” is what I said when I broke through the ice and fell into Fowler Lake over the weekend…

I was pretty damn matter of fact. I didn’t panic, or freak out, I just sort of had the ice give way under me, and then I was all wet, and in the water up to my waist.

It wasn’t really a matter of thin ice, but I’ll say this: If you are on the lake, and decide to stand next to a raft, don’t stand there too long, because there is a good chance the water under the raft is not really frozen, or frozen very well.

Unlike every movie you’ve seen, I did not go under the ice, or lose hearing in one of my ears. Basically, my legs got all wet, and then I climbed out of the water and onto the raft. Everyone else was freaked out, but I was just instantly wet and cold, so I wanted to go home. I was wearing a pair of dungarees and snowpants. My dungarees didn’t even get that wet, but my snowpants did, as did my Chilkats, which are still drying out 4 days later.

By the time we got home and I got out of the wet clothes, we were laughing about the whole thing. (Remember, tragedy + time = comedy.) I even came up with a headline in case the local paper wanted to mention it “Local man falls through ice” and I considered printing up a shirt that said “Fowler Lake Polar Bear Club” for myself…