Sunday, April 9, 2017

Playing around with the HDR Soft Filter

I've got a couple different shots of the Monorail at the International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot at Walt Disney World, so today I decided to try a different look by playing around with an HDR soft filter in HDR Efex Pro 2 (a free plug-in).

I little more of technical post today.  I deliberately was not trying to get a realistic looking picture, but rather just something different.  In order to get this, I first started by capturing three separate images bracketed at three different exposures in my camera.  One at the normal exposure which was set to aperture f/8.0 (to get a fair amount of depth-of-field throughout the frame since I  wanted the flowers in the foreground as well as the monorail in the background relatively sharp), 1/250 sec shutter speed (to freeze the monorail since it was moving, albeit rather slowly), ISO100 (to minimize noise) , and 16mm focal length (to capture the wide scene).

Whenever I process HDR images, I first merge the images in Lightroom, as opposed to allowing HDR Efex Pro 2 merge them.  I do this because I think Lightroom does a better job at minimizing that "outline" effect you get when merging very bright and dark areas of the frame.  I then do any other basic post-processing like applying the right lens profiles, removing any chromatic aberrations, cropping and cleanup (i.e removing sensor dust spots etc.) in the merged DNG image in Lightroom before I begin to process the image in HDR Efex Pro 2.

Then I export the single DNG image into HDR Efex Pro 2.  From there, it's just a matter of picking a filter that suites the effect you are going for.  In this case, I chose the soft filter.  Once the soft filter is applied, I may make other final adjustments in HDR Efex Pro 2 such as tone compression, tonality, color, curves, etc. to tweak the basic filter settings.

So that's how I got the image above.

Have fun capturing the magic of Disney.