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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Cabot, AR USA
    Posts
    312

    Exclamation My method of photography....pic heavy

    I don't have the ability to make this a PDF file, so if someone wants to...feel free!


    Disclaimer: I don't own any of these programs, nor am I paid to tell you about them....I just happen to use them and they work for me. You can play with the free stuff, but it will leave a watermark over the photo until you 'pay for it' on the PhotoMatix, but Picasa stuff is free!

    Links to the programs I use:
    Picasa3: Picasa
    PhotoMatix Light: Download HDR Photography software Photomatix

    This is my method of presenting photo's of the item(s) I make. The simple title should read: HDR your pens!

    Step one:
    This is the part that may take you a few tries to get right. But basically, you need to take three photographs of your item without moving the camera(this is very critical-a solid mount will give you the best results)!
    I like to use the f/45 setting on the camera(it gives the best depth of field inside my light tent-or in other words...'everything should be in focus'). With the camera mounted on the tripod and the f/stop set, I take three photo's, only changing the EV setting in between(do this carefully to keep the camera from moving).
    Here is the result of the three photo's:

    Photo #01:

    The above photo is the result of:
    f/45
    EV-1.0
    (2second shutter delay used)
    exposure time 0.6s

    Photo #02:

    The above photo is the result of:
    f/45
    EV+0.3
    (2second shutter delay used)
    exposure time 1.6s

    Photo #03:

    The above photo is the result of:
    f/45
    EV+1.6
    (2second shutter delay used)
    exposure time 4s

    (I know it would have been a good idea to copy/paste the complete EXIF data file(but it would have been huge and probably confusing for a lot of people) But you can see from the limited data I did use that the only thing that changes is the EV setting, and the exposure time.

    Here's a screen shot I took from my screen showing all the photo's I took this morning using the pretty much the same setting for each. EV-1.0, EV+0.3, and EV+1.6
    (Note: You can take as many photo's with different EV settings as you want, it will give you 'smoother transitions'. But the downside is you have to be more careful to keep the camera still!)

    Photo #04:


    Don't worry, after you run the original photo's through the software you can delete the files to reduce the number of photo's you have in the computer!


    The next step is to open the program called PhotoMatix Light 2.0, and then select the photo's that I showed above:


    From this shot you should be able to see the 'NEXT' button under the larger photo to the right. You will need to 'click' on that to go to the next screen(you can also 'de-select' photos on the left side of the screen to adjust the outcome).


    The next photo is the actual merge screen(I call it that, cause I'm not sure of the actual name for it):


    This is where you can play around with different 'sliders' and preset options. I use the Exposure Fusion defualt setting, unless I what to 'blow-your-mind' with some 'grunge' stuff(it doesn't look too much like the pen anymore, but it's fun to play with). Anyway, this screen shot should show the 'Process & Save' button(lower left)....you'll need to click that. When prompted you can save it as a file with any name you choose.

    Here is the original 'Saved Photo':




    At this point I reopen Picasa3 and make the corrections.
    Here's a screen shot showing two extra photo(one of which we all going through-I just happened to do two sets cause I didn't know which one I was going to use):


    I use only minimal adjustments for 'Fill Light'(to try to re-produce the actual color of the background), then I hit the "I'm Feeling Lucky" option. After that I generally remove the fuzzies in 'Retouch', 'crop' it to show more detail, adjust the 'Sharpen' somewhat.....you get the idea, common stuff you probably already do. And the ending result is:




    Of course you can add 'text' in the photo or anything else for that matter. I use to put a border on the photo using Adobe Lightroom to give the photo the 'off the page' look, but I haven't done that for quite sometime? This whole process(the three photo's and then the processing) takes about 4-1/2 minutes, but improves the light seen(or not seen) in the photo.


    Guess that's about it....any questions?

    I am still shipping Internationally for now.
    www.slabsblanksandboards.com

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Dandenong, Vic
    Posts
    2,032

    Default

    No PhotoMatix Light on that download page.
    A few 'Lightroom' plugins?

    Maybe its no longer supported?

    OK, Just tried searching for an another possible DL Sites and "Photomatix Essentials for Windows (Note: Previous name was Photomatix Light)".
    Download Photomatix Essentials 3.2 for Windows (previously known as Photomatix Light)

    So we want "Photomax Essentials" now?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Nerang Queensland
    Age
    62
    Posts
    10,578

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    I'm a bit confused why you take 3 photos. I take it you play around with all the images and then chose the best one at the end?
    Neil
    ____________________________________________
    Every day presents an opportunity to learn something new

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Bendigo Victoria
    Age
    75
    Posts
    16,562

    Default

    I'm not convinced that HDR is the right technique for a subject like a pen taken under relatively flat light conditions such as a light tent.

    Always thought that the object of HDR was to get a greater dynamic range in a subject, ie get detail in both the light and shade areas of high contrast scenes etc., eg High Dynamic Range.

    Normally quite a number of exposures are used from over-exposed to under-exposed to get the details in both the light and shadow areas. But in a light tent there are no real shadow areas.

    Like Neil said above, I can't see that being achieved with only 2-3 exposures?

    But maybe I have misunderstood what you are doing?

    The other point that concerns me is that most lenses the more they are stopped down lose sharpness, if stopped down to F45 a lens is certainly not performing at it's optimal sharpness, which for most lenses is in the F11-F16 area.

    I don't think I even own a lens that stops down that far, my Canon 60mm Macro lens goes to F32 but I have never stopped down that far. The majority of my pen photos are taken at F13, ie between F11 and F16.

    Like you, I use Picasa 3 for the majority of my photo manipulation, great program for that and organising my photo collection. Love the way it integrates with Pica Web Albums and the ease of uploading my photos to the web.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Cabot, AR USA
    Posts
    312

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dai sensei View Post
    I'm a bit confused why you take 3 photos. I take it you play around with all the images and then chose the best one at the end?
    I use the photo's with different EV settings. A camera has a limited amount of 'range'(seeing from light to dark), and the eye eyes' range is huge. The processing tries to bring the camera lense closer to the human eyes ability.


    The program processes all the images and then merges them together(you could actually use as many photo's with different EV settings as you like to take-but it makes for a huge file and slows even the fastest processes down some). Basically removing the dark(shadows) and blowout(highlights)....even in a light tent, your going to end up with a shadow somewhere(unless you're running twenty lights).


    Scott (hope that helps) B

    I am still shipping Internationally for now.
    www.slabsblanksandboards.com

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    3,260

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    The biggest problem with an HDR image comes when you save it.

    Unless you are making up for severe under or over-exposure, all your efforts will be for pretty much nothing once jpg compression hits it; even more so once you have resized an image to 96 dpi. A lot of information has to be thrown out to create a smaller file size, and jpg compression is (even on its highest quality setting) lossy - it is destroying information that the compression algorithm deems unnecessary.

    Photoshop can work with and store 32 bit per channel images; but as soon as you save the merged image as a jpg, it's back to 8 bit depth for each colour channel (where 'maximum white = 0 and maximum black = 255').

    While this may sound like a small number, it still gives you 16.7 million possible tones, which is about 4 million tones more than the human eye can see, so it's fine as a 'final' format, but not so as an intermediate format while editing.

    And for HDR work well, you really need about one full stop difference between each exposure; one correctly exposed, and one each of one stop over and under.

    You'd probably find a better solution to your exposure problem by saving a single, correctly exposed image in RAW format rather than jpg; most cameras shoot at 12 or 14 bit depth, so a RAW file gives you some 70 billion to 4 trillion possible tones. You can then tweak the RAW file to bring out the detail you feel is important, and when happy, save the image to a significantly smaller file. Once you've made the adjustment to one image, you can then go and automatically apply that to every other image you've taken in that session.

    And...a four second exposure is seriously suggesting that you need more light or a pretty heavy tripod...

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Cabot, AR USA
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    312

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    Quote Originally Posted by Master Splinter View Post
    The biggest problem with an HDR image comes when you save it.

    Unless you are making up for severe under or over-exposure, all your efforts will be for pretty much nothing once jpg compression hits it; even more so once you have resized an image to 96 dpi. A lot of information has to be thrown out to create a smaller file size, and jpg compression is (even on its highest quality setting) lossy - it is destroying information that the compression algorithm deems unnecessary.

    Photoshop can work with and store 32 bit per channel images; but as soon as you save the merged image as a jpg, it's back to 8 bit depth for each colour channel (where 'maximum white = 0 and maximum black = 255').

    While this may sound like a small number, it still gives you 16.7 million possible tones, which is about 4 million tones more than the human eye can see, so it's fine as a 'final' format, but not so as an intermediate format while editing.

    And for HDR work well, you really need about one full stop difference between each exposure; one correctly exposed, and one each of one stop over and under.

    You'd probably find a better solution to your exposure problem by saving a single, correctly exposed image in RAW format rather than jpg; most cameras shoot at 12 or 14 bit depth, so a RAW file gives you some 70 billion to 4 trillion possible tones. You can then tweak the RAW file to bring out the detail you feel is important, and when happy, save the image to a significantly smaller file. Once you've made the adjustment to one image, you can then go and automatically apply that to every other image you've taken in that session.

    And...a four second exposure is seriously suggesting that you need more light or a pretty heavy tripod...
    I'd be interested in seeing a detailed pictorial showing your method....

    I only put this out there due to the overwhelming responses in the penturning area by folks saying my photo's are outstanding and show great detail. I have 'no dog in the hunt' by giving away the details of my photo'ing process...it is simply to try to help others.

    And a 4s exposure time at f/45 isn't what I'd call too long(if it were a 4s exposure time at f/2.8 I'd certainly agree). Even some of my macro flower photography in sunlight at f/45 has exposure times in the 3 to 7 second range.

    As for compression, it is determined by what you set the levels at. These are set at 240dpi, I have more then enough disk area to store large files(terabytes of it)...so I don't reduce the quality. flickr is probably the 'weak link' in displaying photo's, but it's all in how much your willing to spend on it(it's still free).


    Scott (ya ain't gotta do it) B

    I am still shipping Internationally for now.
    www.slabsblanksandboards.com

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Nerang Queensland
    Age
    62
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    10,578

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    Quote Originally Posted by SDB777 View Post
    ..The program processes all the images and then merges them together...
    Thanks Scott, didn't pick up that the program merges them.

    I do concur your photos are really good in the pen forum, and I too wanted more info, so appreciate the effort to explain.

    Cheers
    Neil
    ____________________________________________
    Every day presents an opportunity to learn something new

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