Friday, January 02, 2009

HDR revisited, and a newbie

I was testing out my new lens (the replacement for a favorite that had an unfortunate accident) in the local rainforest. I was using it at a decent wide angle (32mm, that’s about 48mm equivalent in old-school 35mm jargon) and decided to take a EV bracketed set for some HDR post processing, even though I didn’t have a tripod.
Original exposure
I was happy with the original image, and below are the ±1.5 EV photo also taken at the same time. The exposures weren’t so long but with the mirror movement between shots it was long enough to guarantee that I might move and my photos would be out of registration. To complicate things there was a reasonable breeze moving the ferns.
-1.50 EV+ 1.50 EV
Section of the image demonstrated poor registration Since my chief bug-bear with currently available HDRi software is image registration, this is the prefect set to test out the new Picturenaut program, which is self promoted  as a new breed of HDR tools. It is free to download, small and compact, fast and easy to use. Just running with all the default settings I got the expected poorly registered result.
picturenaut HDR create screen dialogue Then I tried the the Automatic image alignment check box, and the results where not bad, still some poor registration as you move away from the center but still a much better result that most other software will do with the same image set. I think I keep Picturenaut around for some more testing! Which is a big deal for me at the moment because I am becoming more and more in favor of doing less post processing or other fiddling about on my images. By the way it has one limitation that may discouraged the die-hard digital photographers, is it does not currently have support for raw image formats.
HDRi image created with Picturenaut
My favored HDRi tool is still dynamic photo. Whilst I did have to do a lot of manual adjustment and pin adding rather that rely on auto registration, (and it did not do as good a job as Picturenaut on this example) I think the result with thw extra manual work is crisper and does give a more even rendering of the tone mappings, closer to what I believe I saw.
dynamic photo , with manual aligment and smooth compressor tone mapping
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