M3 Tank, Pseudo HDR

Pseudo HDR – Revisited

Pseudo HDR is a variation of the HDR process that I’ve discussed in previous posts.  Lately, I’ve had the occasion to refine my technique.  Instead of waiting until the end of this post to show the result, I’ll show you now:

M3 Tank, Pseudo HDR

Above – M3 Tank, Pseudo HDR, processed from a single RAW image.

The image above is from this single RAW file below (converted to .jpeg for this post):

M3 Tank, Original

Above – Original image, Olympus E-P3 RAW file.

To begin, a definition of what the heck pseudo HDR is would be in order.  Pseudo HDR is the process of taking a single RAW image, and creating several additional images from the original.

Why would you want to do this when it seems simple enough to have your camera bracket 3 images (+1 and -1 f-stop from the original)?  There are many reasons, including not having a tripod available, moving subjects, or even having a camera without the ability to bracket shots.

Once you have your single RAW image, you can begin processing.  In fact, having a RAW file is essential (I suppose you could use a .jpeg file but your results may not be as good).  With a RAW file, you have enough data to create multiple images with varying exposures from +2 to -2 f-stops.  I don’t want to get into a discussion of what’s better, RAW or Jpeg. If you’re interested in that just do a search and you’ll find plenty of opinions, I’m just offering mine, based on my experience.

The screen shot below is an example of Camera RAW and the options available.  While there are other options such as LightRoom, I prefer to use Photoshop and Camera RAW.

Camera Raw Screenshot

Above – Camera RAW screen shot, note the arrow pointing to the Exposure slider.

In the photo above, the arrow points to the Exposure slider.  You can use that to adjust your exposure + or – up to 2 f-stops.  After you make the adjustment, click on the “Open Objects” button on the bottom.  This will open the image in Photoshop where you can save each file.  I like to save each adjusted file in the .Tiff format.

Now that you have 3 files of varying degrees of exposure, you’re ready to begin processing.  I like to use Photomatix, but there are other options.  Since this isn’t a discussion of further processing, I’ll leave that topic for another time.  Suffice it to say that you can spend a lot of time adjusting and tweaking.  What I will do is point you to a great website for everything HDR – HDR One

One last image to share, this is the same M3 Tank as the one at the beginning of this post but converted to black & white (another photography passion of mine).

M3 Tank, Black and White

Hopefully you can see that the possibilities are endless!  All you need to do to get started is to get yourself some images (RAW format images).  So get busy!

To close, I’d like to offer my services.  If you have an image in RAW format and would like to see what could be done using the pseudo HDR technique discussed in the post, let me know.  I can use it to share with others and would post the process step by step.

Until next time, Happy Shooting!