August 16, 2006

Digital Photography

Ran into an interesting technique a few weeks ago. This is something that I had experimented with a few years ago but I never realized that there were actual products out there to streamline the process.

In a scene, the difference in illumination between a light area and a dark area can sometimes exceed the ability of film or digital sensors to record. You can get detail in the shadows but lighter area are rendered as all white (blown out). If you expose for detail in the light areas, the shadows are rendered as all black.

Meet HDR or High Dynamic Range Photography. You take several photographs, one exposed for the deepest shadows, one exposed for the lightest highlights and digitally combine them.

A couple of geniuses Raanan Fattal, Dani Lischinski, and Micheal Werman wrote a paper in 2002 that figured out how to tonally map the large differences in illumination onto a standard output device (printer or video screen).

The results are otherworldly and beautiful:

HDR-church-01.jpg
“Normal”

HDR-church-02.jpg
HDR processed

Links to the software:

FDR Tools
Photomatix from HDRsoft
HDR Shop from University of Southern California
(big wince factor on the price on this last one especially since a lot of it seems to run as JavaScript (S..L….O…..W……) and their “Feature List” contains the following:
The program should never 'lock up' when busy.)
Posted by DaveH at August 16, 2006 10:26 PM | TrackBack
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