There is a wrecked ship lying in The Gurpur River near Tannir Bavi, Mangalore. Locals claim it was wrecked during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. It provided me a very nice opportunity to test the new version of Photomatix Pro 4 software. Even though Adobe Photoshop has now built in HDR function, Photomatix is one of my favorite HDR software.
High dynamic range imaging (HDRI or just HDR) is a set of techniques that allow a greater dynamic range of luminance between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging techniques or photographic methods. The human eye can perceive scenes with a very high dynamic contrast ratio, Human eye sees more than 15 stops with a contrast up to 16384:1. Adaptation is achieved in part through adjustments of the iris and slow chemical changes, which take some time (e.g. the delay in being able to see when switching from bright lighting to pitch darkness). At any given time, the eye’s static range is smaller, around 10,000:1. In contrast digital photographs, color negatives and slides consist of multiple film layers that respond to light differently. Most digital camera sensors have 11 stops of light with a contrast of 2048:1. To obtain High dynamic range we need to resort to High dynamic range imaging technique.
I used my Canon EOS 5D mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L USM Lens to take this photograph. I shot three bracketed shots with 2 stop exposure variation between the shots. So one shot was 2 stops under exposed than the normal exposure, second shot was correctly exposed and third was 2 stop over exposed. I fed these 3 shots into Photomatix through Adobe Lightroom using the new Adobe Lightroom plugin. After going through the Photomatix it produced a 32 Bit file which I did tone mapping to my taste. After developing in tone mapping process of Photomatix it was imported back to Lightroom as 16 bit Tif file. I exported the correct exposure file and the HDR file to Photoshop to remove the ghosting artifact. Once corrected I re-imported back to Lightroom.
I would recommend any HDR enthusiast to refer to the invaluable HDR website along with very informative tutorials by Trey Ratcliff called Stuck In Customs. It has given me several insights, tips and methods to improve on my HDR photos.