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Author Topic: Aligning images for HDR  (Read 649 times)

RMW

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Aligning images for HDR
« on: June 23, 2022, 05:02:11 pm »

Hello All,

Some of you may have seen my fotos from the marshes and swamps of Louisiana. I go out into them in a 12' kayak with my Nikon D610 camera. Have been doing this for 15 years.

One challenge I continually face is the high contrast of the scenes. There's sun and sky, there's water, and than there's intense reflection -- while all around me are dark tree trunks and very deep shadows.

I try to use ISO 100 for maximum DR, but the boat is often moving just enough to blur the image even with image stabilization. ( There's no practical way to make the little boat completely steady)

So I bracket to increase DR, however the images don't line up exactly when I use PS HDR. (Theyr'e all handheld.)

Has anyone any ideas about this?

Which of the HDR software programs does the best job at aligning the images?

Any help is much appreciated.

Richard
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PeterAit

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Re: Aligning images for HDR
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2022, 11:38:44 am »

Load the images as layers and then use Auto Align command on the edit menu.
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Peter

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kers

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Re: Aligning images for HDR
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2022, 03:57:03 am »

Load the images as layers and then use Auto Align command on the edit menu.
and shoot the bracket ( -2 - 0 - +2) with fastest speed multiple exposure + use a shutterspeed that is fast enough  to get sharp images.
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Pieter Kers
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RMW

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Re: Aligning images for HDR
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2022, 04:46:29 pm »

Good suggestions.
And they work ! Auto align is pretty effective.
Thank you both.
Richard
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langier

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Re: Aligning images for HDR
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2022, 05:38:54 pm »

Many times I've got to gun and run with my HDR. I use auto bracket and most cases 3 shots at +/- 2 stops works fine. For my hand-held HDR, I set the FPS (motor drive in older terms) to it's fastest, usually from 5-8 fps, and either process the HDR in ACR or open the processed stacked as layers, align the layers then blend the HDR frames into the final image.

It does a reasonable good job overall, especially if there is some kind of movement, light when I have to shoot a portrait or small group under dreadful lighting/contrast situations, sometimes with dappled lighting.

Don't be afraid to crank up the ISO to get additional shutter speed. The slight loss of DR vs. having motion stopped in your situation for a better HDR stack is more than outweighed, IMO. IQ at higher ISO speeds with most cameras manufactured in the past few years is simply phenomenal I've found.
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Larry Angier
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Chris Kern

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Re: Aligning images for HDR
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2022, 07:59:24 pm »

One challenge I continually face is the high contrast of the scenes. There's sun and sky, there's water, and than there's intense reflection -- while all around me are dark tree trunks and very deep shadows.

I'm not familiar with the sensor in the D610, and obviously the technology has changed quite a bit since that camera was introduced, but with my Fuji XT3 and XT4 crop-sensor bodies I have found that a three- or even a five-frame bracketed set of exposures and HDR processing often doesn't produce a substantially better result than (1) optimally exposing for the brightest part of the image (just short of clipping except for unavoidable specular highlights, such as sun reflections on water, that are guaranteed to exceed the dynamic range of the sensor) and then (2) pulling up the shadows to reveal the detail in the darker parts of the image.  I previously needed Photoshop to implement this workflow, but now use Lightroom since its new masking tools have greatly improved its functionality for making local adjustments.  No doubt there is other post-processing software that would work similarly.  My point is that the current generation of digital sensors is capable of recording enough detail in the shadows to produce at least a reasonable approximation of a group of bracketed exposures.  You might try renting a more modern camera for a week or so to see if investing in one might be a better option that trying to combine multiple exposures made from a moving platform.

RMW

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Re: Aligning images for HDR
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2022, 06:22:06 pm »

Hi Larry.

Thank you for this description of your process. Would you elaborate a little on what you mean by, "open the processed stacked as layers, align the layers then blend the HDR frames into the final image".
Not sure what this means, especially "processed stack". Please bear with me to be so ignorant of the terminology.

Thanks again,

Richard
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