Pre-Monsoon clouds were gathering as I shot this photo at Seethanadi Nature Camp inside Someshwara Wild Life Sanctuary, Hebri Karkala. I used Canon EOS 5D mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L USM Lens on a tripod to get 3 bracketed images at 2 stop difference. I used Photomatix Pro to fuse exposure of these three bracketed shots to produce this photo. In Exposure Fusion a series of bracketed images are processed to produce a dynamic range image. It takes the best tonalities from each image in the sequence and combines them to create a single image. Best part of each image gets recorded and fused together to combine all of the best elements in final image. You have quite a lot of control to adjust which tonality of the exposures are used in the final image.
You might ask how is Exposure fusion is different from HDR? The only resemblance the two have are that they combine a sequence of bracketed images together. In Exposure Fusion the final product looks more realistic to how the scene really would like. This means that the shadows maintain a certain amount of shadows and the highlights remain brighter in higher tonalities then a high contrast scene.
HDR takes the sequence of images and blends the images seamlessly but does its best to even the tonalities in the extreme tonalities of shadows and highlights. That is why HDR the appears artificial and unnatural.
Exposure Fusion after fusing the images together keeps the tonalities how they would appear if one was to be looking at the actual scene being photographed. HDR image most of the time shows the uneven transition between the luminance and can therefore lose the appeal of realism. Exposure Fusion produces results that are truer to the scene that the photographer is trying to capture.
Photomatix Pro produces both fantastic HDR as well as Exposure Fusion. Try it and you will love the results. Trial mode is also available for Photomatix Pro.