Dealing with Movement in HDR

Posted: December 6, 2011 in Blog
Tags: , ,

HDR photography is about merging multiple exposures together to extend dynamic range beyond camera’s capability. In perfect situation you’re locked down on a sturdy tripod, using cable release and nothing in a scene is moving. But in real life this doesn’t happen too often. During shooting in cities you can get people, cars, leafs or other stuff moving in your photograph and you have to deal with ghosting. A lot of software gives you a possibility do de-ghost a photo, but what if you want to show some movement?

I was shooting on a river bank in Prague and was thinking about using long shutter speeds to show movement in water and put it into contrast scene against architecture in background. You don’t have to remove ghosting from river, but you have to do something with ships passing by. Each exposure captures ship in a different position and with different length. And what software to use for correcting this type of image? Best would be Photoshop (of course) but you can get away with almost anything that can handle layers. And how is it done?

First of all generate your HDR photo in your favorite program, mine choice is Photomatix. Remember or save settings you used for that image. When it is processed pick a photo where you like a place where the boat or anything else is and create a Pseudo HDR shot. You’ll load only that one image in PS, Photomatix or whatever you use and process it using same settings to get exactly same look. After processing just load those two processed files into Photoshop as layers as layers and using masks remove the moving object from merged file and overwrite it with just that one object in Pseudo HDR file. You’ll get same look but without that crazy movement. Here is an example of this boat shot.

  1. Sugel says:

    You can achieve a similar result using Photomatix. Convert the RAW files to 16bit TIFF’s and generate a HDR image using this guide. Once in the Tone Mapping interface set the strength to 1, Micro-smoothing to 30, luminosity to 0, light smoothing to 0 and micro-contrast to 0. The image will then be similar to Photoshops. I found that Photomatix’s result was brighter in the shadows, but this was before playing with the “Local Adaption” feature in Photoshop. The benefit of Photomatix over Photoshop is that you have far more control over the end image. You have control over the luminosity, micro-contrast, light smoothing, micro-smoothing, etc. So you have the ability to tweak the image further than you can in Photoshop. How far is up to you.

    • Garfield says:

      One of the points why I use Photomatix instead of Photoshop is speed. PS is really slow in generating HDR and I can get the look I want with Photomatix easier and faster. That is the reason why I use this software for most of the time, sometimes I merge image using Nik HDR Efex Pro.

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