The photos below are a mixture of single raw files tweaked to the maximum to get the most out of the data, and a combination of three raw files with an exposure range from -2 to +2 tone mapped using the photomatix HDR plugin for Aperture. I am quite pleased with the photomatix results as the camera was only handheld to capture the images and so any movement would have resulted in a halo kind of effect on the final image. Fortunately the Canon 7D has such a high burst rate on the high speed setting that it enabled me to fire off three shots in less than a second which limited the amount of movement that might have been apparent at a slower frame rate.
As you can see from the images (with the bloomin watermarks all over) the photomatix plugin is running in trial mode. I would like to upgrade to the full version but as I would use it that infrequently I can’t quite justify the $119 price tag. However, now that I know I can good results from shots handheld it might be a purchase to add to the list for the future.
What do you think of the images? The photomatix ones are easy to spot because of the watermark – how do you think the others compare to the supposed “true” HDR images? Comments greatly appreciated!!
As I move forward with my photography I am always looking at better ways to manage my image workflow. Currently I am using Aperture for organizing and processing my Canon RAW files. Whilst Aperture is extremely powerful, and with an apparent endless array of external plugins, I am always on the lookout for other software that will allow me to showcase my work. Since buying the iPad I have been using a program called Snapseed which is produced by Nik Software. What this piece of software gave me was the ability to upload photos to my iPad and then process them whilst on the go. I was impressed by the different filters and styles that could be applied to an image, however, the only downside was that I was constantly having to synchronize my photos to my main image library. This afternoon, after much reading on the ‘tinternet, I decided to get Snapseed for my iMac. The desktop version works pretty much in the same way the mobile versions do yet I feel that you get a little extra in the way certain portions of the image can be manipulated. One of the benefits of having snapseed on the desktop is that I can send images from Aperture for external editing and then have the changes update automatically back into the Aperture library – HEY PRESTO! no more manual syncing of images!!
I am sure there are many great reviews of Snapseed available on the web so I will only leave you with two images. One manipulated with Snapseed and the other with no modifications (aka straight out of the camera) so that you can see the kind of results you can get with a little jiggery pokery!
On Monday evening me and the missus decided that we would make use of the last night of freedom together before the cheeky monkeys come home from their summer holidays with the Grandparents. We booked to see Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, at a new cinema in New Brighton. On the drive over we came over the crest of a hill that presented us with fantastic views of the Bay of Liverpool and out towards the Irish Sea. What presented before us was a fantastic cloud formation of a storm gathering pace and intensity – appearing to hover over the wind farms out in the bay! Now unfortunately I only had my iPhone with me and as good a camera it is for a phone I was cursing that I hadn’t got my proper camera with me; so much so given that I nearly decided to bring it but didn’t feel comfortable leaving it in the car whilst we were in the cinema. Anyway, despite this shortcoming the iPhone coupled with Instagram has provided some pretty intense looking images of the impending storm.
Whilst we were enjoying the film little did I know that the storm I had nonchalantly photographed earlier was wreaking havoc over the northern part of the Wirral leaving roads flooded and rivers bursting their banks. Hopefully no long term lasting damage was caused.
Currently, Louise and I are enjoying a few kid free days as they are having a holiday at their Grandparents in Lincolnshire. You would think that as this doesn’t happen very often we would be making the most of it and going out most evenings? Unfortunately this hasn’t been the case as Lou is currently in the middle of a course that has 2 exams (all done by Friday though, YIPPEEE) and there is just far too much good sport on TV to necessitate leaving the house. However, this evening it was beautiful with lovely warm sun and a lush blue sky – perfect weather for a stroll and take pictures. The area around New Brighton on the Wirral has recently undergone a huge development with the building of a new leisure complex (cinema, casino etc) and a number of bars, restaurants and coffee shops. I have to say that it is a massive improvement on what was there before, and given the number of people who were taking advantage of the facilities, I would say lots of other people think the same way.