17 November 2009

Better Landscape Photography

Ever wonder why your landscape photos sometime just don’t turn out as what you see with your eyes?  Many time is either the sky is too bright or the ground is too dark and there’s just no way to correctly balance the exposure to get good exposure for both sky and land.

The reason is because of the limitation of dynamic range a camera has. Our eyes are more sensitive to light and hence able to see wide range of color and density. However in a digital camera, the sensor has it own limitation on how much color range and density can be captured.

To over come this problem when photographing a scene or landscape, there a few common ways to do it.

 

1. Use Filters.

Filter such as a polarizer or a neutral density filter or ND filter, help reduces light of all wavelengths or colors equally, hence balancing the exposure differences between the too bright and too dark. This is the most natural way to improve and enhance landscape photography.

2. HDR Image Post processing

HDR post processing basically deal with merging 2 or more difference exposure photos together. By doing so you are able to widen the dynamic range of the photo hence high dynamic range photos are produce.

Here are 3 common techniques used and each has it own differences.

HDR with Photomatix Pro

Photomatix Pro is a stand-alone program that creates and processes HDR (High Dynamic Range) images. This is the most easiest way to product HDR photos and here’s one that I have done.

 

HDR with Photoshop CS4

Photoshop comes with a automated function known as merge to HDR. It works the same as photomatix pro but cut out the density and contrast enhancement. Here one I try out with Photoshop

 

HDR the manual way.

This is the most manual way of doing HDR and basically is using Photoshop masking function. Mask the cloud into a slight under exposure picture and you will get a clear cloudy sky yet without losing details on the trees. This need a bit of practice and skill shaping before you will get am perfect HDR image. Here’s what I manage to do.

 

So here you are, difference ways to archive HDR photos. Which method is the best, well that’s up to each individual’s preference. For me, I still prefer the masking way as the images come out much more natural.

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Landscape photography
is not about a specific place, but about seeing the significance of the natural world around you every day. Your own backyard literally can be a great starting place because you know it better than any other place. If you don’t have a backyard to call your own, a city or county park, a campground or even a drainage pond bordering the local shopping mall can provide a great starting place to explore landscape photography.

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