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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.