I’m interested in tinkering with High Dynamic Range photography, but before I get Photomatix, the software that’s recommended most often, I thought I’d try out a technique that’s a very crude approximation of HDR. It involves taking one image that’s underexposed, and one that’s overexposed, and merging them in Photoshop. The technique is described in this article at luminous-landscape.com. Essentially, you put the underexposed image in a layer above the overexposed one. Create a layer mask on the darker layer, and copy the brighter image to the layer mask. Apply a Gaussian blur to the layer mask, and you have your blended image.
I took 3 shots, one underexposed, one overexposed and one correctly exposed (the Programed Auto setting on the camera). Then I blended the first two images and compared the resulting image with the correctly exposed one. I like how the blending brought out the dark areas, and lessened the washed out highlights. I can’t wait to try this outdoors, when the weather gets a little warmer. It’s a very quick and simple technique, and might work out well for some kinds of landscape photography.
What do you think? Is the blended image decent?