For a while now I’ve been meaning to devote some time to experimenting with HDR – specifically comparing Photomatix and Photoshop in their production of HDR photographs. The industry preference toward the former is there for a very good reason. Photomatix produces much better results. Just look at this final shot (be sure to click the image for a larger view – the blog restrictions on size really don’t do it justice):
Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I did do some additional post processing work even after the HDR processing to get the above results. But Photomatix was superior for a number of reasons. For starters – Photomatix gives you options in what type of output you want. Here are the two results, side-by-side, that I got from Photomatix:
The first was the result of processing from the Tone Compressor tab and the latter of Details Enhancer tab processing. As you can see, the first produced a smoother sky, but left the foreground a little flat, while the latter had more texture and, well… dynamic range to it. So, I decided to go with the latter in my post processing. The Photoshop alternative, however, produced something even less desirable than either of the above. Take a look:
Not only are the luminosity levels less interesting, but there’s literally no tone curve application. No color, no tone curve mapping, and decidedly no interest when you consider the options from Photomatix. I am in the process of putting together a tutorial of how I got the final result, so be on the lookout for that in the next few days. In the meantime though, I’d like to take a moment to say “Thanks” to fellow NAPP member, Elizabeth Gast (a.k.a. Firgs,) for the kind thoughts she has over on her blog – Design by Firgs – where she talks up a shot I took a while ago that is premiering on hew new series “Accidentally Awesome” today, so be sure to stop over there and give her a shout-out! Until tomorrow – Happy Shooting!