Creating HDR Photos with Zoner Photo Studio

Features Used:

  • HDR via Exposure Blending
  • HDR via Tone Mapping


The human eye is still a bit ahead of cameras’ light sensors. Above all, our eyes can handle a broader dynamic range. This is a problem, and there’s a trick you can use to fight it: HDR.
It stands for High Dynamic Range.


HDR becomes attractive the moment you have a scene with both very light and very dark areas, and you want a photo expressing details in both these areas. For example, a beach on a sunny day, shot from the shade of a beach bar. Normally you can’t take a shot of this scene that keeps full detail in both the light of the beach and the shadows of the bar. Thus you can choose between a discernible bar interior with a white spot (the beach) in the middle, or details on the beach and a completely blacked-out bar.

HDR lets you give your final picture more dynamic range—more contrast—than the camera sensor lets you capture. It’s this trait that makes HDR so eye-pleasing.


There are two basic roads to HDR in Zoner Photo Studio. For one of them, you need 2-3 shots of the scene at various exposure levels. For the other, you can use one shot or a hundred.


To take multiple shots that differ “only” in exposure, use a tripod. Although Zoner offers to automatically align pictures for you, a small change of perspective is still enough to ruin the HDR process and leave you without the great picture you aimed for.

Turn on the camera’s Bracketing function while taking the shots, so the camera will automatically take several shots in a row at various exposure values. But check on-camera before you leave the scene. Even with a tripod and bracketing, moving people, clouds, etc. can still ruin a shot by leaving “ghosts.”


Now take these source shots, and use Exposure Blending HDR in Zoner to join them together. Essentially the program examines each shot, finds the parts of it with a good level of detail, and joins these parts of the different exposures into one picture. Naturally this means that for Exposure Blending HDR, you need at least two source pictures. And it’s better to use three. One with the “correct” exposure, one slightly underexposed, and one slightly overexposed.

In the Manager’s Create menu, use Exposure Blending HDR…, and then select your source photos.

The HDR via Exposure Blending menu item

Then Zoner inspects the pictures’ EXIF data to confirm which shot is underexposed, overexposed, and in the middle. If the photos have bad or missing EXIF data, you can also choose by hand. Then you align the photos. This brings us to the HDR settings step of the window.

Use the first three sliders to the “feel” of the HDR, and the last to set its intensity, that is, “strength.” Here are some good basic starting values: 100, 50, 50, and intensity to taste. Use these settings for both lights and shadows. Spend time playing with the sliders early, to get a feel for how they “work.” Be careful to avoid the notorious beginner’s mistake of getting carried away by HDR and using too strong an effect, getting a final result that belongs in a coloring book, not a photo album.

In HDR photography, there’s a thin line between creating unbelievable results and creating results that are just plain not believable. For a quick look at the latter, start an HDR job and turn the Intensity up to 100.

Once you’re satisfied with your results, open the picture in the Editor for further edits, or save it directly.


The other road to pictures with high dynamic range is tone mapping. This is also in the Create menu, under HDR via Tone Mapping…. Unlike exposure blending, this lets you work with an unlimited number of input photographs (from one to infinity). However, they must have EXIF exposure data.

For this technique a much wider range of settings is available, and above all, two methods, based on Brightness and Contrast. To simplify here: the first three settings set the effect’s strength; the rest set the picture’s tint. Each picture needs different settings, and here too it’s good to play with the sliders once before getting serious.

Tone Mapping bears an even greater risk than Exposure Blending of crossing the line from believable to “coloring book.”

The article is from www.zoner.com  Don’t forget to use the zoner photo studio coupon code HDRIT  to save 20% if interested.


Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud 2014

As we all know by now Adobe released their latest update to Photoshop CC.  I attended the very well done keynote that was thankfully streamed online.  That was a very cool touch, kudos Adobe!

I have since downloaded Photoshop from the creative Cloud.  It took me a while, and a phone a friend on Facebook, to realize that it was a whole new App.  Which brings the heartache of having to transfer plugins and all that great stuff.  Thankfully I was able to sync all of my gradients and Actions making at least one step toward transition painless!

I will not go into all of the stuff that was updated, there is just too much.  However, if you want the entire rap sheet of new stuff check out this link.

What’s new function:

  1. Camera Raw got an upgrade as well that everyone seems to be overlooking with Photoshop in the limelight.  You can now click a preview button for each panel.  This was in ACR at one point, then removed, and now it is back!  Thank goodness!  The “p” button used to crash my CC when I was working with the Graduated Filter.
  2. On the Graduated Filter.  It seams it has graduated from High School to the big campus with the ability to now mask out certain areas that you do not want to be effected by the adjustment!  AWESOME!
  3. The new Blurs in the Blur Gallery are pretty sweet.  Blurring along a path will help with the Composite work I do, but I don’t see too much of a need for it beyond that.  Cool addition, but I used to do the same with a simple blur and the Warp Tool.
  4. The Focus Area selection is another awesome addition for composite work  I played around with this and was able to pull a figure from a background in much less time than using the Quick Selection Tool.
  5. The new Smart Guides are awesome!  I do a lot of graphic work with my own business among other things and this feature is something I have been waiting for for a long time.
  6. Syncing settings is now a bit easier than it was before.  I can now sync up or sync down, now I know what I am doing from my PC to my laptop and vise versa.
  7. It is now more affordable than ever.  To whoever has their undies in a bunch because it costs $9.99 a month needs to get over themselves.  The most powerful photo editing tools on the planet are almost as cheap as Netflix.  When was the last time you heard someone bitch about “renting” Netflix.  Pardon my language on this topic, I am just very much over hearing about it!

There is no more Oil Painting Filter.  My first thought was… ” There was an oil paint filter”  I never used it in the last one and therefore I can say I am not hurt that it is gone!  If anything, we will see much less fractal style paintings on the web.  This may be a good thing!


Five Tips to Improve Your Summer Photography


We aren’t going to talk about cleaning your lenses (although you should), I’m not going to tell you to use a tripod (you should know that), and I’m definitely not going to tell you to compare last year’s photography to this year’s (but that’s not a bad idea). No, I’m going to suggest you get out of your comfort zone and do something new.

If you open up your Flickr, 500px, or wherever you store your thousands of kitty cat photographs you might notice that there may be a lot of similar shots. Different subjects, but a similar style perhaps? Different styles, but the same type of subjects? Most of us have done it, it sounds like this: “I only do portraits”, “I only shoot landscapes”, or “I never use a flash”.

So, in an attempt to bust out of your comfort zones I’m going to share 5 tips with you to use this summer that have helped me overcome my own creative plateaus over the years.

Interesting fact: 77% of all photographers have at least one cat photograph in their portfolio. Another interesting fact: I have no idea if that is true, but there is a 50% chance that it is.

Five tips for improving your summer photography

Tip 1 – Same Place, Different Time

It’s time to master light, your photography will improve leaps and bounds with the mastering of one specific element – timing. Mastering the light means many different things in the art of photography; mastering your manual settings, mastering the flash, or mastering your timing. All of these things impact one another but the one that I want to focus on is timing. Besides, they say timing is everything.


Knowing when and where the light will be gives you a huge advantage over other photographers. Knowing that at around 2:30 p.m. the sun will be at an angle that paints light into the pathway is priceless if you are visiting this place and may not return in the future.

Knowing where the sun sets, where the sun rises, and how the light will illuminate various subjects during different times of the day will help you master your timing. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, if you know which direction you are facing when the sun is directly above you you’ll have a better idea what time of the day to photograph any interesting subjects or scenes you may find.

There are apps and websites all over the Google machine that can assist you when you are traveling to new and exotic places. There is a program you can download onto your phone, computer, watch (not yet but maybe someday) called The Photographer’s Ephemeris that allows you to input a location and figure out exactly where the sun will be at a given time. You can plot your position on top of a topographical map and determine what direction the sunlight will fall, and then plan accordingly.

*Topographical maps are helpful when planning a photography trip where mountains raise up high enough to throw large shadows on areas you may be planning to photograph. The topographical map gives you the height and depth of the contours of the landscape of your location.

Tip 2 – Be Specific, Don’t Spray And Pray

Do you need a fresh 16GB SD card every time you take a photo walk? Maybe you take 100 photographs in the hopes that one ends up being acceptable. Before you take a photograph ask yourself if it’s really that interesting. Is it throwing a unique shadow? Does the light hit it in a way that will catch viewers eyes? Will it cause viewers to ask a question (other than “Why would you photograph that?”)?

Taking a great photograph doesn’t generally happen by accident. Ansel Adams once said a great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed. How many of the thousands of photographs squirrelled away on your hard drive were taken with the type of forethought Ansel Adams described?

This summer, challenge yourself to contemplate each shot, think about whether or not the subject is interesting enough to take the time to photograph. What you will find is that if you take the time to contemplate a shot before you press the shutter you’ll have less overall shots but more “keepers”.

Tip 3 – Use A Different Focal Length

Get out of your comfort zone and force yourself to use a different focal length this summer. If you don’t have multiple lenses then use a different focal length on your zoom lens. By using a different focal length you’re forcing yourself to think before you shoot. You’re forcing yourself to compose the image in your mind before ever putting the viewfinder up to your little peepers.

Renowned photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson used a 50mm lens almost exclusively when he wasn’t on assignment. By using the 50mm lens so frequently he was able to see, and compose, an image without putting the camera up to his eye. If you focus on a single focal length long enough you’ll learn what will be in or out of the frame without having to take the shot.

Tip 4 – Roam Free Like Buffalo. You know, before we shot them all.

Get off the beaten path. Literally, get off of the trails, paths, and otherwise marked walking areas to find hidden gems buried in hard to reach places. The summer’s dry weather creates safer hiking conditions as well as the longer days which allow you to venture further off the beaten path without worry of being eaten by wolves in the dark.


This shot was taken with the Nikon 16-35mm at 19mm, ISO 100, f/10, 15 seconds.

There are a couple of ways to find hidden gems around where you live, searching the internet is the easiest. Flickr is a great resource, you can search the name of your home town and once you find an interesting area you can check the photographs info for a location (assuming the photographer included it). The other way is to grab a hand held GPS (or your phone) and venture off into areas you have not explored before, like Indiana Jones minus the whip and man-purse.

Tip 5 – Photograph In Bad Weather

Bad weather can be a bummer, moods get bent and plans are spoiled. Most people pack up their gear and head home (or don’t go out at all) if the weather is anything but perfect. Take advantage of the warmer weather and plan a photo outing next time the weather looks foul.

Plan to visit places that are normally bustling with people for an opportunity to capture unique shots. When bad weather strikes you’ll have an opportunity to capture people scrambling for a dry place or reflections in puddles. Alternatively, you have an opportunity to capture photographs of places that are normally busy, void of life (think empty sidewalks in the city).


Beaches are a great place to go right before or after a storm, the ominous clouds and rolling fog create dramatic scenes. Be sure to be prepared for rain and/or strong wind, Adorama has cheap covers for your camera that will keep the water and sand from damaging your precious gear. Try not to change lenses in sandy, windy, and wet conditions, there is a good chance that you’ll end up with debris inside your camera or lens.

Summer photography offers hundreds, if not thousands, of opportunities to practice photography morning, noon, and night. The weather is warmer and the days are longer, there are festivals for everything almost every weekend. If you’re having trouble coming up with something to photograph check out local towns websites for their calendar of events, there is a good chance something is going on near you.


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Repeat your editing actions across multiple images.


Topaz Labs DeNoise 50% off Sale

From Today till March 31st. Topaz Labs is offering their great noise reduction Software – DeNoise for 50% off

Noise is a big problem for HDR makers and even for those that like to push the controls in Lightroom or Photoshop, or you simply made an exposure mistake and it’s a photo you just can’t get rid of.  Well you don’t have to.

Topaz Labs DeNoise is an “Extra Strength” noise reduction, It may take a little longer but the result is you can reduce noise without loosing detail which is the result of what a lot of noise reduction programs  do

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To Take advantage of the 50% sale click on the Link below and enter Promo Code mardenoise

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What is the best workflow: Exposure Fusion or HDR Tone Mapping?

What is the best workflow: Exposure Fusion or HDR Tone Mapping?

This depends on the dynamic range of the scene, the characteristics of the differently exposed images and the effect you want to achieve. Our recommendation is to try both. The table below lists the main pros and cons of both processes.


Pros Cons
  • HDR Tone Mapping
  • HDR image file can be saved, enabling to tone map the same image with other methods or other settings.
  • Ability to preserve details in shadows and highlights even when the dynamic range is particularly high
  • High degree of parametrization, i.e. tone mapping methods can offer many settings to adapt image to one’s liking
  • When source images are noisy, tone mapping may further increase noise.
  • In spite of the availability of settings, controlling the tone mapping operation is not easy.
  • Exposure Fusion
  • Fusing the images has the effect of reducing noise
  • Fused image is close to the source images giving it a “natural” look
  • Easy-to-understand process, no or few parameter setting
  • Lack of local contrast when dynamic range is high, “flat-looking” results in some cases
  • Memory required for Exposure Fusion increases with the number of source images and bit-depth.

photomatix 5 review

20-Nov-13: Photomatix Pro 5.0 released: Adds Contrast Optimizer Tone Mapping for realistic-looking results, new Fusion method for real estate photography, multiple settings batching, and option to enable fusion from a single RAW file.

Hi Guys,

have you checked out the Beta release of Photomatix Pro 5 yet? I have posted a little review video of the new features last week. Maybe you’ll find it useful:

Finally had a chance to try out Photomatix Pro5.0 today, since the final version was released on November 20th, 2013. I didn’t have any luck using the beta version back in October because of error messages. I’m really glad this is a free upgrade for previous owners of Photomatix Pro 4.0. Some of the good things I’ve’ve been hearing about in the new version of Photomatix Pro 5.0 are listed below.

  • Contrast Optimizer
  • Fusion/Real-Estate
  • Batch Processing
  • Better image alignment

The above photo was taken in a park in Upstate New York while heading towards Woodbury Commons.

Technical Information: ISO 100, 18mm, F8.0, [3.0 + 0.8 + 13.0 sec]

Post-processing information: Lightroom 5 Adjustments, Photomatix Pro 5, Topaz DeNoise, OnOne Perfect Effects 8 Beta 3 and Topaz Detail.

from my prespective, now keep in mind this is what I think; I don’t usually offer criticism but you specifically asked for it.

your biggest overall problem is your shadows lack detail, and so do your highlights. This is what HDR is supposed to fix.

photo 1 I see nothing wrong with this one, its well exposed.

photo 2 no detail in the water falling out of the fountain. The fountain is in the middle so it is taking the role as the main subject so I would want to see more detail in the water falling out of the pool. There is lots of detail in the side buildings but they seem to be stealing the show from the main subject.

Photo 3 the top of the buildings have no details, its like your overexposed image is missing.

Photo 4. I can see texture in the clouds, but no drama. the underexposed image should be able to pull the detail out of this sky. Keep in mind that in a photo like this the sky takes up about half this image, so attention needs to be given to the appearance of the sky. Now if you had a long exposure and the clouds were moving that could explain the lack of detail but not knowing your shooting time i can comment on that. Also the colors in the buildings seem a bit flat, I don’t know how to fix that, it has to do with the angle of the light when this image was taken. If you look at the top image the tone in that one was much better. The colors seem to be alive, but in photo 4 they lack this vitality.

Photo 5. No problem with the lack of detail in the shadows here, this image is meant to have a solid black background. and the glowing gold works so well against the dark BG. In my opinion this is probably the best of the bunch.

Photo 6. I like the b&w format. works well, there is good detail in the shadows, the misty skyscrapers in the background is awesome. Again the sky lacks definition. HDR does wonderful things to skys. I recommend you pay more attentions to the sky when processing the image.

Well there it is. My thoughts. They are all good images, I nitpicked them but only to provide you with direction on where to take your next crop.

I would like to leave you with an image to illustrate what I am talking about.

“The Photomatix details enhancer does a better job of rendering shadow detail than the comparable local adaptation algorithm in Photoshop, and produces images with a distinctive ethereal appearance. Photomatix is polished software, backed by a he




Now it’s finally available for beta download on this special Photomatix page. There is all new tonemapping algorithm and all kinds of cool stuff a’goin’ on. Also, if you decide to buy the full version (you’ll get the free upgrade), we have a new Photomatix coupon code of  15HDRIT.


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VIDEO 1: The Photoshop Workspace
No more feeling like you’re lost in the cockpit of a 747! Now you’ll know how to find, arrange, and use the Tools and Palettes, and how to work in Photoshop the easy way.

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The single most important topic in Photoshop—Layers—finally explained in clear language, with examples you can understand. After this you’ll be a layer-loving fanatic!


VIDEO 3: Adjusting Exposure with Levels
The easy, one-minute trick that lets you rescue a poorly exposed photo, or make an ordinary photo extraordinary.

VIDEO 4: Adjusting Contrast with Curves
Want to know how the pros make their photos “pop?” Now you’ll be able to do it to yours in seconds. Also, turn a boring sky into a stunning scene with one quick adjustment in Curves.


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No more weird color casts in your photos. Now you can instantly correct colors, or even rescue an aged print, using the fast Curves method or the professional eyedropper technique.

VIDEO 6: Using Layer Masks
Perhaps the most powerful (and most confusing) technique in Photoshop finally demonstrated in a way you can understand! This was the hardest step for me in learning Photoshop, so I take extra care to make it easy and “dummy proof” for you.


VIDEO 7 & 8: Portrait Retouching
Blemish removal, wrinkle reduction, whitening eyes and teeth, and professional, glamour-magazine-quality skin softening. Now your portraits will look amazing and your clients will love you forever.

VIDEO 9 & 10: Removing Unwanted Objects or People
Erase those annoying people or obstructions that are spoiling your shot! You’ll learn how to use cloning, healing, quick masks, and selections to “doctor” any photo easily and invisibly.


VIDEO 11: Cropping, Resizing and Resampling
If you don’t know the differences between these methods and the pros and cons of each you could be needlessly damaging your photos. After this lesson, you’ll know when and how to resize your photos in the way that makes them look best.

VIDEO 12: Sharpening Your Photos
Should you sharpen every photo? How much is too much? Learn when to sharpen and how to choose the right settings for any kind of photo to get that crisp, professional look.

VIDEO 13: Saving Photos for the Web, Email or Print
You’ve created a beautiful photo! So don’t blow it now! Learn the right way to save your file for different media and devices, to show your work at its stunning best.

Works with all modern versions of Photoshop!

If you’re worried about having the “right” version of Photoshop for this course, don’t fear. Any version of Photoshop CS can be used with this course.

Phil intentionally used the common feature set contained in all moderns versions, including CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5, and CS6. In the videos, Phil uses Photoshop CS3.


And also with Photoshop Elements!

Even though the main course videos were recorded with Photoshop CS3, which looks slightly different from Elements, the underlying functionality is almost identical. To bridge the occasional gap, Phil provides you with Elements Tips and Elements Bonus Videos where the two programs differ…


Quickly learn the skills that will set your photos apart from the pack!

Let’s face it, with today’s smart digital cameras almost anyone can take a competent photo.

Increasingly, the “special touch” that separates a good photo from a great photo comes in the post-production.

That’s why anyone who aspires to be a great digital photographer needs to learn a core set of Photoshop skills, the skills that turnordinary photos into extraordinary photos. Now you can finally learn those skills in a fast, painless way.

Forget about those Photoshop books, which sit on your desk collecting dust. Who has time for that? And forget those courses by “gurus” who assume you’re some kind of Photoshop wizard and teach you mind-numbing technical details that you’ll never actually use.

In this course you get just the essential basics, the stuff you absolutely must know, the techniques that you’ll use on every photo, day after day, to turn out beautiful, professional-looking work. You’ll learn it fast, in a step-by-step series of short videos that build on each other to quickly take you from novice to expert.

Photoshop is the modern darkroom. And just as film photographers were not masters of their art until they learned to develop their own photos—you can’t be a master of your art until you master Photoshop.

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The Nikon D7000 vs D90: Which Better?

The new D7000 and how it compares to the older D90. If you’re like many D90 users out there, you’re probably wondering, should I upgrade? Is the D7000 that much better than the D90? The short answer, is yes, it is, but from a practical standpoint, let’s review both cameras.

The D90

The D90 is a great camera. It’s a lightweight 12.3 MP DX sensor body that shoots 4.5 fps, which is certainly fast enough for many applications. When it came out, it was basically the little brother to the D300 and the two bodies shared much of the same technology. For two years, it was the top model in the so called “entry level” lineup, although I know of at least a handful of outdoor pros who used the D90 because it’s lighter than the D300 and it shoots video. (The D300 was eventually upgraded to the D300s, which also shoots video.) Image quality is certainly good enough for professional work, and there are many pros, semi pros and serious enthusiasts out there who use the D90 for their portrait, wedding, location, landscape and commercial work. With it’s 11-point area AF and 4.5 fps, it’s not the ideal camera for sports and action, and it’s certainly not as tough or weather sealed as the cameras in the Nikon’s pro line, but if you generally shoot subjects that don’t move very fast and if you don’t abuse it, the D90 will get the job done.

The D7000

EDIT: The Nikon D7100 is out now, and it’s a fantastic upgrade to the D7000 in every way. So, read what I think the D7000 and then take a look at the new D7100. 14 Bit RAW: Enter Nikon’s newest camera, the D7000. For a camera that’s only two years newer than the D90, it offers a surprising array of new features and technology. A 16.2 MP body, with dual SD card slots, it will shoot either 12 or 14-bit RAW images at up to 6 fps. That’s HUGE. Why wouldn’t you want that for all your imagery, whether you’re a pro or not? Not taking advantage of that capability would be like owning a Ferrari and only driving it in second gear all the time. Score big on the D7000 for this capability in the image quality department. Low Light/High ISO: And double score with its excellent high ISO sensitivity, which allows for incredible detail, and very low noise when shooting in low light environments. Put simply, shooting with the D7000 opens up a multitude of new picture taking opportunities. With this new technology, you will no longer shy away from shooting inside. That means you can take on new types of assignment work with confidence. Metering, AF & Video: When it comes to metering and exposure, the D7000 is light years ahead of the D90. Whereas the D90 has a 420-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Meter, the D7000′s meter operates with  a 2,016-pixel system, which offers way more accuracy in difficult lighting situations. Also, the D7000 has a 39-point AF system. It’s not quite as advanced as the 51-point AF system that the upper level bodies have, but it’s still a big improvement over the D90, which only has 11-point autofocus, and it will handle sports and action much better than it’s predecessor. Finally, when it comes to HD video, the D7000 leaves the D90 in the dust. Props to the D90 for being Nikon’s first HD DLSR, but two years has seen a huge jump in technology. The D7000 offers 1080 HD video with built in

The Lowdown- Should you upgrade?

If your question is “Should I buy the D90 or the D7000?” then the answer is absolutely clear. Get the D7000, especially when you consider it’s only a $300 difference in price. If your question is “Should I upgrade?” then unless you just bought a D90 and aren’t ready to spring for another new camera just yet, then I’d say yes, upgrade now, or at least start thinking about upgrading soon. I guarantee, you won’t look back either. And even if you did just buy a D90, well, it never hurts to have a second body…


what is hdr processing, 2013 hdr software comparison

Need a place to get started? Just want to learn the basics of how to capture and edit an HDR image? Well look no further, here are our favorite tutorials on the internet for how to create an HDR image. Note: You may need to pick up some HDR software before you dive in.

Equipment and Software
1. Camera

It goes without saying that the first piece of hardware you need is a camera. I personally shoot with a Cannon 60D, which is a middle of the road prosumer (somewhere between professional and consumer) DSLR camera. DSLR stands for “Digital Single Lens Reflex”. According to this HDR tutorial, it isn’t necessary to own an expensive camera to capture great HDR photographs. I do, however, recommend using a camera that shoots RAW photographs and allows you to bracket your shots. I also suggest you spend an amount that is comfortable and focus on buying the best lens you can afford for the camera body you select.

2. Tripod

Shooting good HDR photographs will require you to keep the camera very still. A tripod is essential. You don’t need to buy an expensive one. It simply needs to keep your camera still in both landscape and portrait camera positions. I only paid about $30 for mine and it is has served me very well.

I use a tripod about 90% of the time to capture HDR images. Of course, there are exceptions since it is not always practical or possible to use one. The beach scene in the header of this HDR tutorial is a perfect example (see top of page). I was vacationing with my family when a storm rolled in. I was on the front porch and my tripod was on the second floor. The storm was moving so quickly that I felt I would miss the shot if I took the time to retrieve my tripod. Instead, I simply held the camera on top of the arm rail of the steps leading up to the house. It wasn’t the most elegant way to shoot a photograph, but it got the job done.

3. Remote Trigger

It is not essential that you use a remote trigger, but it certainly makes it easier to take multiple shots without touching the camera. There are other methods of doing this that will be discussed in the bracketing section of this HDR tutorial.

4. Photomatix Pro


Standalone program for HDR Tone Mapping and Exposure Fusion, including automatic image alignment and ghost removal, selective deghosting tool, reduction of noise and chromatic aberrations, and powerful batch processing.

If you don’t already have a copy of Photomatix Pro, use the Photomatix coupon code “15HDRIT”, which HDR Soft was kind enough to provide me, and pass on to you, when I informed them I was writing this HDR tutorial.


Krzysztof Ratynski: 180� view Panorama from Kindersley Summit (2393m) in Kootenay National Park in Canadian Rockies

Photos © by KrzysztofRatynski
Panorama is composed of 6×3 pictures, +/- 1EV, 1000pix wide


How to Fuel Your Photographic Journey?

Ideas 2

1. Take an Overnight Photography Trip

Overnight trips with other photographers make for a great time to talk and explore photography techniques.

2. Write a How to Photography Tutorial

Writing a tutorial is the best test of how well you understand a topic. To start, pick something you feel you know really well.

3. Take Photowalk With a Group

Taking a walk with a camera is a great advice, yet taking a walk with other photographers is better advice.

4. Create or Update Your Portfolio Website

A website is still the best way to display and curate your work. If you don’t have a site or portfolio – make one as cultivating your work in a single place keeps it organized.

5. Assign Yourself Photography Projects

Use a project to fuel creativity and try new concepts. For example take photographs at 1/15 shutter speed or shooting a single color only, letters of alphabet etcÖ

Ideas 3

6. Become a Subject of a Photographer

Becoming a subject of another photographer and doing some posing will put you on the other side of the camera. Give it a try even if you are a landscape photographer.

7. Reverse Photography Rules

Once you know the rules – take opportunities to break them! Yes, shoot the opposite of what the rules says to do.

8. Take a Photography Workshop

There are so many workshops and so many topics – there must be a reason. Workshops are not only for beginners they are for all skill levels. I take them to improve in marketing, writing and photography.

9. Re Edit your Older Photographs

Look through photos taken some time ago. I bet that you will find some forgotten gems. Take some of the older photographs and try processing them again.

Sergey Sus is a Los Angeles based photographer telling telling real stories, individual, professional and family. Problem solver, artist and teacher. His work can be found on http://www.sergeys.us/.


Canon EOS-1D X HDR tutorial

The Canon EOS-1D X is the flagship digital SLR camera body by Canon Inc. It succeeded the company’s previous flagship Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. It was announced on 18 October 2011.[1]

It was released in March 2012 with a suggested retail price of US$6,799.00 (body only)[2] and a suggested retail price of £5,299 in the United Kingdom.[3]

The camera is supplemented by the Canon EOS-1D C, a movie-oriented camera that shares most of its still photographic features with the 1D X, which was announced in April 2012 and released in March 2013.

It’s a pro cam and as such HDR is a waste of functions. As is face detection. These features are for the non thinking photographer who wants the camera to do everything for them.

It’s getting to the stage where a non-sighted person could take decent pictures but they would be unable to see the results of their efforts. If I lost my sight I doubt I would continue with photography.

Now, a dedicated mirror lock up button (or reassignment of one of the other buttons would be good)

Er as a pro of many years, I don’t want HDR in-camera because I can’t think, I want it if it works (generally I don’t like HDR images) to solve a problem. Winter Sunlight, bright shiny buildings and deep shadows at street level or having to shoot into the light.. I’m shooting from a moving platform, so the X’s high frame rate would help. I could be shooting for a number of clients per trip so a lot gets shot. There is not the time to blend all the shots by hand, in camera HDR could be just what I need. The best way so far I have found is to shoot colour neg Portra scan 48bit, but that takes way to long for my clients.

Mirror lockup has zero use for me but I can see others would find it useful. Then again hitting the live view buttons gives you mirror up. A decent DR would help but I’m not holding my breath for that one from Canon.


How to get Better Control of Autofocus

Sometimes autofocus can be really annoying. For some shots it’ll focus on the right part of your subject, but then the very next shot it may choose to focus on something far and away into the background.


Sure, you could avoid this problem by always using manual focus, but autofocus is great when you need to focus quickly or when you’re photographing a landscape and you need to focus on a certain spot in the scene.

Well, autofocus doesn’t have to be annoying anymore, because here are three ways to get better control of it:

#1 – Press your shutter button half-way to activate autofocus and then recompose

Set your autofocus point to the center spot, then point this spot where you want to focus and press your shutter button half-way (don’t press it completely yet) to initiate autofocus. Then, while still holding down the button half-way, recompose your shot and press the button completely down to snap the photo.

#2 – Switch to manual focus after autofocusing

Use autofocus as you normally do, but once it focuses on the right spot, just switch off autofocus on your lens to manual focus. Your lens will keep the current focus when you do this. This method works well when your camera is on a tripod and you’re taking multiple exposures from the same spot, like when photographing a landscap

#3 – Use back-button autofocusing

Normally, your camera will autofocus when you press the shutter button, but with back-button autofocusing, you have to press a button on the back of the camera instead, giving you complete control of when autofocus is initiated.

With back-button autofocusing, you can just set the autofocus point to the center spot, then point that where you want to focus, and finally press the back button to automatically focus on that point. Now for all the shots you take from that position, that focus will be maintained (the camera won’t randomly focus into the background anymore).

You can do the same thing without this back-button autofocusing by switching to manual focus after the camera focuses properly, but using the back button saves time and this way you don’t have to constantly switch back and forth between manual and autofocus (which can inadvertently move the camera sometimes).

Back-button focusing is especially helpful for photographing moving subjects, like birds in flight or other wildlife: just switch on the continuous focusing mode, set the autofocus point to the center spot, and hold down that back button. Now you don’t have to worry about accidentally hitting the shutter button while you’re tracking the subject in your viewfinder.

How to enable back-button autofocusing: Unfortunately, this feature is called something different on each camera, so you’ll probably have to do some digging around in your camera’s manual and “custom functions” to find it. If it’s not labelled clearly on your camera, try changing the settings of the different buttons on the back of your camera (like the AE lock button).

About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, and computer scientist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of Southern California. Read more of his articles on nature photography at the PhotoNaturalist and follow him on Twitter.