Wednesday, February 16, 2011

UNESCO Nakajin-jo Okinawa, Japan ( HDR Photography Basics )

This photo of Okinawa's most northern UNESCO Castle, Nakajin-jo, you may have seen before, or one similar to it, anyway. 

It's been published a few times in travel magazines but, I still own the copyright so, I figure I can do whatever I like with it.

Well, here's what I did today. In response to someone's questions about HDR, I did my very first HDR photo. Yer lookin' at it friends !

Let me start by explaining, I am pretty much an anti-photoshopper. I respect those who know how to use Photo Shop.

I'm talking about Professionals who use PhotoShopPro and know how to produce a photo that doesn't look like a piece of plastic, the cover of a comic book, or something that was spray-painted on photo printing paper.

You know, 90% of the PhotoShopped junk you see online these days. That's what I'm talking about.

HDR means High Dynamic Range and it is something that enhances photography when it is applied resourcefully. A digital camera has difficulty capturing all the details when you take a picture with high contrast between the highlights and shadows (Bright and Dark areas) in the same scene.

To create an HDR photo you take a series of photos,  exactly the same (tripod a must) of the scene.

One photo overexposed. That would be one full exposure value (EV) past what the light-meter says is perfect exposure.

            One photo at perfect exposure, according to the light-meter as it reads the scene.

         Then, one photo that is underexposed a full exposure value (EV), -1 on the light-meter.

Put them all together and you have a High Dynamic Range (HDR) photo. That's HDR Photography in a nutshell.

It gets much more complicated than what I'm telling you here but, this as the simplest way to explain HDR to you. Some photographers will combine 3, 5, or even 10 photos taken at much larger differences in exposure values.

The photo above, I created using Adobe PhotoShop Elements 8 and I simply pulled up the three different exposures of Nakajin Castle, nicknamed them Hi-Tone, Mid-Tone and Low-Tone and pushed the right buttons to let Elements 8 combine them for me automatically.

If you'd like to learn more about creating HDR Photos without springing for PhotoShopPro and want to save a few hundred dollars, visit PHOTOEXELS and check out their tutorial.

Now that I've toyed with it, I may have to go around and shoot all the UNESCO Castles in Okinawa, Japan over again just to show everyone that HDR Photography doesn't have to be something you need 3D glasses to appreciate. That'll mean, I'll be busy.

Hopefully, LadyExpat over at Budget Travelers Sandbox will understand and accept this photo of Nakajin Castle for her Travel Photo Thursday.


Jorie Pacli said...

Your photos are so fabulous! I'm in love at first sight with them! How did you get to capture such brilliant pictures? It is so amazing to see how the colors come to life.... Love them all!

RyukyuMike said...

Thank you. I enjoyed my visit to you blog, as well.
The trick with all photography is in the lighting.
My friends all know. When we go shooting I tell them, "There's only about 30 seconds each day where the lighting in any given spot will be perfect."
You just have to be there and ready to catch it when it happens !