Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Broke a Cardinal Rule of HDR...But Really, It Wasn't My Fault

One of the cardinal rules of HDR photography is to always, always shoot with a tripod...and I always do, except for when I can't...or more importantly when I'm not allowed to.

It's obvious that we use a tripod to have a stable platform, especially when shooting multiple exposures for HDR images because we want to minimize any camera movement so all those exposures will align properly in post. However, there are some really great places to shoot, usually inside, that will not allow you to use a tripod or a monopod. Dundurn Castle in Hamilton is one of these places.

I found myself there not too long ago and saw that they do regular tours, but they don't allow tripods (or monopods) as the place is over 175 years old. It's an historical site and preservation is critically important.

So I'm inside, with some really good natural light, but in a number of rooms it was a little spotty. Knowing that I was going inside I immediately thought HDR would be my best bet to draw out all of the tones that a single exposure would leave behind. But without a tripod I had to shoot handheld. This is where things got a little tricky.

I had to raise my ISO to 1600 and sometimes push it a little bit further so noise was going to be an issue. I was shooting a 5 exposure bracket and my wide open exposures were getting up to 1/10th and sometime 1/5th of a sec...yikes! Handheld at 1/10th and 1/5th? That for sure will cause some issues. I was shooting with the Nikon 10-24mm wide angle lens at the 10-12 mm end, as well as bracing myself to walls, doorframes or anything else I could find, so I was hoping that I would be able to get away with a few of those exposures.

I was pleasantly surprised find that I had a few that worked out pretty well. More than I was expecting. However, some were a little soft with the slower shutter speeds...oh well, it wasn't my fault remember?!?

I got to try out Nik Software's HRD Efex Pro 2 for the first time and I'm totally sold on it! I love the new features. Finishing was done with Viveza and Color Efex Pro.



1 comment:

  1. Hi Darren:

    I am not a big fan of HDR but I like what you did here. I am headed to Dundurn Castle on the 28th (my work is sponsoring a tour) and I hadn't even thought of bringing my camera but now that I have seen what you've done I think I might try it. My hands are shaky though, so without a tripod I'm useless. I guess I could try the 50 mm 1.8 and a prayer.

    Good post. I found my way here by following a bunch of links from Rick Sammon's "I Hate HDR?" post.