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January 29, 2008

Aperture vs Lightroom

I was just reading a thread on Apple's support forum asking people the "Aperture or Lightroom" question.

Here's my 2 cents that I added to the discussion:

I started using Aperture the day it was released. I became somewhat of an Aperture evangelist, I blogged about it, talked about it on my podcast and became an author on O'Reilly Media's "Inside Aperture" blog.

...However about 3 months ago I bought Lightroom and gave it a try. As of a few days ago I have totally made the switch from Aperture to Lightroom. There are certainly things in both programs that make them fantastic pieces of software and now that I'm a Lightroom guy there are a few features in Aperture that I miss but in the end I made the switch for one main reason: In Aperture I always had the feeling that I was doing a chore, what I was doing in Aperture felt like something that was required of me after a shoot ... in Lightroom I have a totally different feeling, I feel like during the entire post processing phase I am being creative, it's more of an extension of the creative process of photography and I feel like there is more I can do within Lightroom and therefore I think I get better results as opposed to just cataloging and rating shots. I know that's not a technical review of the products strengths and weaknesses, but in the end what really matters is how the software helps or hinders your creative process and frankly I feel a lot more creative since switching to Lightroom.

The bottom line (for me) is that I think my photos look better now that I've switched to Lightroom and I'm having more fun working on them. Sure, tasks like rating, keywording, etc are still a bummer but the rest of it is more fun and that matters to me.

January 07, 2008

Questions about HDR

balloon.jpgI received this question from flickr member "Heff" regarding my HDR images from the Indio Balloon Festival.


I just stumbled on your HDR image from the Indio Balloon Festival and I had a question for you...

How do you do HDR with people or action? I've seen a few like yours that show actual action and the people are not blurred. Obviously you can't get the people to stand still, so how do you do it in an HDR image?

Also, what do you use to composite the HDR? I've been toying with them using the compositor in Photoshop, but have been wondering if there is a better, dedicated HDR compositor out there.


Here is my response:


I shot the pix at the balloon fest in aperture priority mode (like I shoot most things) and opened up the aperture pretty wide so that the shutter speeds would be pretty fast. I sat there and waited until I saw little or no movement and then squeezed off my three shots. I do my HDR shots in Automatic Exposure Compensation mode and high speed drive mode so all three shots are usually captured in less than a second ... therefore minimizing the chance of any movement being detected. Also remember that slight movements far away are not likely to show in the composite as much as if someone walked across the frame 10' in front of me. So I'm always waiting for a lull in the action.

For processing the HDR files I use Photomatix ( www.hdrsoft.com ). I've tried the HDR function in Photoshop and I'm not happy with the results. CS3's HRD function is better than it was in CS2, but still not as good as Photomatix. Photomatix is about $100 I think, but you can download a demo and play with it and see if you like it.


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