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In this course, photographer Ben Long describes the concepts and techniques behind high dynamic range (HDR) photography, a technique used to create images that have a wider range between the lightest and darkest areas of a scene than a digital camera can typically capture. The course begins with some background on dynamic range, on how camera sensors detect shadows, and on the kinds of subjects that benefit from HDR. Ben then describes and demonstrates several methods of generating HDR images, starting with single-shot HDR, which relies on masking to subtly enhance the dynamic range of a shot. Next, the course covers multi-exposure HDR, which involves shooting several photos of a scene, each at a different exposure, and then combining them using software tools. Ben demonstrates how to use Photoshop and the popular Photomatix software to process HDR images whose appearance ranges from subtle to surreal.
Single shot or faux HDR is the process of spitting out three separate exposures from the same RAW file and then merging those. We looked at how to do that in Photomatix. Now we are going look at how to do it in HDR Efex and it's actually very simple. I open an image in Photoshop just like I normally would, go to Filter > Nik Software > HDR Efex Pro, and it takes care of generating those different exposures from the same image data, and now I've got all of my normal HDR controls that I would have even if I was working with a bracketed set.
Just as in Photomatix, all of these sliders are going to do far or less than they would if I was working with a real HDR set and for the little bit that they do, I am going to run into highlight clipping and shadow clipping much sooner than I would with a real HDR set. So this is not a substitute for full HDR, but again, it's a great thing to have for times when shooting a bracketed set is not practical or possible.
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