TheJoyOfHack

For people who like to make things

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?

The Underexposed Image
The Underexposed Image
The Overexposed Image
The Overexposed Image
The Blended Image
The Blended Image
The Correctly Exposed Image
The Correctly Exposed Image