Downtown Cars – 4th Street, Downtown Los Angeles, CA, USA
This image was taken on Tuesday, May 11th at around 6:00 pm when the sun was at a low angle.
The evening before, The FedEx guy arrived at my door with the latest version of Adobe Photoshop CS5, but I didn’t get to load it until the next morning. The main reason I was so anxious to get going with PSCS5 was for its HDR (High Dynamic Range) capabilities. HDR has been around for a long time, but up until now, it was quite a cumbersome process. Think of HDR this way: The difference between 35mm film and medium format film, i.e. better color, detail, sharpness, contrast range, etc.
All day long, I resisted the idea of trying it out, instead waiting for the light to be right. At 5:30 pm, I could wait no longer and set out on my mountain bike looking for something in need of capturing. At the corner of 4th Street and Grand Avenue I set up my tripod and began to shoot a series of 9 frames. With the camera set to Aperture Priority Mode, the first frame was on the camera’s meter reading of f/16.0, 1/125 sec., ISO 200 with no exposure index, then 4 frames below the camera meter reading, each set at -0.07 of a stop apart, and then 4 frames above the camera meter reading, each set at +0.7 of a stop apart.
Returning to the studio, I loaded all 9 image files to a Mac Pro Quad and opened them in Adobe CS5 Bridge, then went to Tools, Photoshop, Merge to HDR. HDR Pro took care of the ingestion of the nine files, placing them on separate layers in one HDR file (I made some adjustments within HDR Pro). Remember that HDR will not be effective unless you shoot in Camera Raw mode, or convert to Adobe DNG Raw files to import to HDR Pro.
I think I’ll be using HDR on a daily basis from now on. To me, it looks like an image captured on Fuji Velvia transparency film with my Mamiya RZ Pro ll medium format camera and scanned on a drum scanner (only without the grain). To see the full effect, please click to view the larger image. Comments are welcome. The comments button is located at the bottom of this post. You may also give the image a star rating there.
Nikon D3 DSLR, AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D, Nikon MC-20 remote cable release, exposure: f/16, 125/sec., ISO 200, exposure index: 0, tripod: Manfrotto 3221 with Manfrotto 3265 pistol grip ball head, bike: white GT Avalanche 2.0.