Leave something dark

How about a little photo tip today. One of the problems you very often see in HDR photos and also in non-HDR photos, is that everything is of the same brightness. If you not count the occasions where this is a desired effect (it’s sometimes used in portraits to give the result a soft feel) this makes the photo look very flat and boring. The reason is, you have to have a contrast between the dark areas of the photo and the bright areas. But if you use a tone-mapping program, like Photomatix or Oloneo Photoengine, you can easily get a result where all contrast is lost. This is quite often the result I go for, as it gives me a good start for further edits. But one should never leave a photo like that as the final result.

As the title says, don’t fear to leave some of the pixels black, and also, some of the pixels white. HDR expands the dynamic range, but your goal should not be to capture it all, but to create a pleasant photo for the viewer. And leaving some bright lights and shadows can help very much to achieve this.

Crazy sharp castle

I hope you can see on the photo, how crazy sharp it is. That’s because I took it with the Canon 70-200mm F2.8 lens. Compared to my other lenses, it creates the sharpest results. I don’t carry it with me so often, as it’s very heavy, but the results are usually worth it. This is of course the Prague castle, as seen during the sunset from the Vysehrad area. I took the big lens with me just for this that day, as it’s quite far away, and I needed to zoom in.

This is a HDR from 5 exposures, created in Oloneo Photoengine and then blended with original shots in Photoshop.
Crazy sharp castle

Something with a little different color today. A very colorful bar in a hotel in Prague. Almost all the light here was from the bar, where the lights were inside of it. And before you comment that this is a over-saturated photo, please think for a moment what is this photo off :)

This is a HDR created in Oloneo Photoengine and then blended with the original shots in Photoshop.
The very colorful bar light

First part of the Luminance tutorial

I started working on my Luminance masking tutorial and here is already the fist part – Photoshop masks. This one is more for the Photoshop beginners, as I try to explain here what are Photoshop layer masks and how they work. My plan is to extend this with two more parts in the following weeks, one about how to create luminance masks and one about how to use them. Hope some of you will find this useful, and feel free to ask any questions
photoshop-masks-07

Nice sunset spot

I’ve been here at the wrong time of the year. I have to arrange my next stop in Prague, when the sun sets right behind the castle and then this view could be much better :)

This is a manual blend from 6 shots, taken from the Vysehrad area in Prague. I could have made the dark areas brighter, but then I lost the nice contrast between the middle area and the sides.
Nice sunset spot

For today I went back through my older photos and chosen this one from Prague. It was taken in early 2012, during one very foggy day. Actually last time I was there, this spot was fenced off, so you can’t get there anymore. Too bad, as it was one of the best views of the Charles bridge.

This is a HDR created from 7 shots in Oloneo Photoengine and finished in Photoshop.
Foggy night by the Charles bridge

It’s nice to see, when they change a building into something else, they still keep a part of the old one. Same with this hotel. It used to be a bank before that, and they left the vault as a part of the cafe :) Interesting place to have a break :)

This is a manual blend from three shots. Taken in the Boscolo hotel in Prague.
Vault cafe

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