Multi-multiexposures. We, photographers, love Photoshopping

If someone has wondered why I use HDR the respond is – as I commented a few days ago with a photographer buddy through Facebook – maybe, ‘cos we are crazy and we love editing pictures.

In fact, he was telling that he had problems manual blending the lights and shadows of a metallic tower structure. I suggest him blending it automatically using Fusion Mode, for example, in Photomatix and later doing little changes with the exposures manually in PS.

But on the other hand, from a technical point of view, the use of multiexposures techniques is due to the limitation of cameras. The human eyes can see more tones than a camera sensor. And scenes like night-shots have extreme highlights in the bulbs, for example, and dark in the sky. So it is necessary to cover all dynamic range to use DRI or HDR.

And we can go far away, and do it more complex with something that we can call with a new ‘term’ as multi-multiexposures. I am going to explain it with some examples:

HDR/DRI Pamoramas or Vertoramas: a composition of several images horizontally or vertically overlapped between them, taken 3 or more exposures for each one. Processing them individually and merging them later with a panorama edit program. Someones prefer another workflow – as you wish – each one has its advantages and disadvantages. See Klaus Herrmann.

HDR/DRI Time lapse. It this case, we combine images at different time but focussing the same spacial elements, so we capture how some objects are moving in the scene, for example the clouds motion and how the light changes in the scene in the static elements, for example the ground.

Stars trails. A composition of trails generated at different time intervals. For example, each interval for a bit of curve generated from an exposure of around 30s with interval of 5 s with the following one. Later, all exposures can be stacked with a special program like StarStaX, in order to generate curves (stars lights trails).

Full control of DOF. To clarify the situation, the example can be marina shot with artificial lights at blue hour. The approach can be an HDR or DRI to cover the scene but the problem are the boats on the foreground. As a night-shot, to get more sharpness and less noise, it is usual to shot with a small aperture, around f11-f16, and low ISO, around 100-400. But then, the long exposure time does that the boats near the photographer are moved and as consequence we have objects with blur. Then, to get them with sharpness you can shot with a wider aperture or increase ISO. You should take a compromise between reducing DOF or increase noise in a little zone … just the boat. That depends on your camera. Changing aperture to change the focal plain. So if you combine these images, you have the same result as in macro photography when due to little distance to subject only a little zone of the photo is in focus and you can blend different shots with different focus zones to get the overall image in focus.See Daniel Cheong.

Digital Art. Another option can be multiexposures for photo montages when you want different images to do a composition or transparencies or matte-paintings (see Giuseppe Parisi).

>Still< :: HDR :: DRI

Puerto Deportivo, Marbella (Spain)

Canon EOS 450D | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 DC EX HSM @ 10 mm | f11, 8s, ISO 100.
HDR/DRI from 6 exposures:1 @ f5 and 2 @ f11: -2..0..+2, to get the boats without movement and the sharpness all over the picture.

3 Sunrays Sunset

What do you think that is the most wonderful light for a photographer ? The blue or rush hour after the sunset or before the sunrise, when the sky is blue in contrast with yellow-orange tones of the artificial lighting ? The magic or golden hour around dawn or twilight ? Or what is know as transient light ?

Just for me, I have it clear, the transient light. It is a light that you suddenly find for example, when some sunrays are appearing across the clouds and you see how the rays are crossing the sky and proyect their light temporarily in a determinate zone on the ground, that as consequence is the focal point of your composition, ‘cos human eye tend to look for hightlights.

The following image from Marbella is a clear example of this light and the luck for a photographer. Before I did the photo-session, I was walking to this site with some rainy intervals and seeing in the distance how the sunrays were appearing and disappearing between the clouds.

I recommend you to read a book about light quality by Ian Cameron.

3 Sunrays Sunset #1 :: HDR :: DRI

El Ancon Beach, Marbella (Spain)

Canon EOS 450D | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 DC EX HSM @ 10 mm | f22, 1/6s, ISO 100. HDR from 3 exposures @ [-2 EV .. 0 ..+2 EV]

She’s A River

An old version of this picture was one of the winners of the International HDR Day. The pictures were selected by the HDR guru, Trey Ratcliff and Rick Sammon.

I was not happy with the final result of this image, so as I am usually doing in last weeks, I have re-processed it again. The picture had artifacts due to an usual problem with tonemapping software is the objects in motion. In particular, the water streams like waves on the sea or fountains.

Photomatix or other HDR programs don’t correct efficiently the ‘ghost effect’ produced by the water motion, so the best way to correct this is to manually blend in Photoshop the tonemapped image with one o several exposures. Although I don’t explain this in the photo-feet because I do in a shorthand. I usually do this, also knows as Digital Blending or DRI (Dynamic Range Increase) in my current workflow ,for so many pictures, to get a more natural look on them.

The manual blending is done, working with different layer masks for each of the exposures and the initial tonemapped image. I really love to do this. It is like painting. I was afraid when I was a beginner but now, I enjoy. You can try it. Just put your tonemapped image in a layer and one of the exposures in another one. Create a layer mask and select a soft black pencil with some opacity ( that depends in the image) to make transparent the above layer. They are combined to get the final image before removing noise and sharpening the picture.

In this case, I used the 0EV exposure to correct the ghosting in sky cloud and fountain water and the -2EV exposure to get more details in the water flow.

She's A River :: HDR :: DRI

Plaza de España, Madrid (Spain)

Canon EOS 450D | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 DC EX HSM @ 10 mm | f11, 2.5s, ISO 100. HDR /DRI from 3 exposures @ [-2 EV..0..+2 EV]

Streamlines At El Capricho Park Lake

Streamlines could be a work for the university when I was studying Aeronautical Engineering more than a photo title. But in this case, we could say than both of them.

The use of neutral density (ND) filters permits during the day to shot long exposures. As result, the water flow is showed in the picture like star trails in night shots. It is so curious how what I mathematically learnt is drawn here on the water.

After a rainy winter and beginning of spring, although this is an old pic, the image shows the usual leaves green tones at the beautiful El Capricho park, that this afternoon I am going to enjoy again with a walk there. Unfortunately, it opens only the weekend and has a restricted and scheduled access.

Streamlines At El Capricho Park Lake :: HDR :: DRI

Parque El Capricho, Madrid (Spain)

Canon EOS 450D | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 DC EX HSM + HiTech ND 0.9 filter @ 10 mm | f22, 1s, ISO 100. HDR /DRI from 6 exposures @ [-3 EV .. -2 EV .. – 1 EV .. 0 .. + 1 EV .. +2 EV ]

The Fullmoon Mirror

During this shooting, I was stopped another time by security guards. This time was in a public park, and they said to me that it was not permitted to shot with tripod, saying that it is considered professional photography and then, I needed a permission from the city council. So I asked them if I could without tripod, so I shot long exposures using fixed surfaces. In this example, I use a support on the fence.

To process this picture, my French HDR photographer buddy Anto XIII suggested me to try Oloneo PhotoEngine HDR Software for blue hour and night shots and this is my 1st attempt. I am happy with the result because with other softwares, I had problems with the clouds motion in the different exposures and with Oloneo, I got what I wanted and later I could mix the HDR processed file with the 0EV exposure.

The Fullmoon Mirror :: HDR :: DRI
North Pond, Juan Carlos I Park , Madrid (Spain)

Canon EOS 450D | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 DC EX HSM @ 10 mm | f4, 81s, ISO 100.  HDR/DRI from 3 exposures @ [-2 EV .. 0 .. +2 EV ]