Sahsima in Green
Today’s post is about another experiment in how to express moving water with HDR techniques. Like my last post on this topic, this one uses some jpegs from my archive, all shot within minutes of each other during a storm on 11/11/11. For my original post about photographing that storm, go to Sahsima Storm. At that time I took a lot of shots of Sahsima from the shelter of a large boulder, trying to anticipate and catch a good spray effect as wave after wave washed in. Since I was trying to figure out what shutter speed would work for different effects, I ended up taking a lot of photos at a variety of shutter speeds. For some reason I never culled out the ones that did not work – I had ideas I would process some more of them for posting, but never did.
The difference this time from my other experiments is that all the shots used here have the same exposure value. The exact exposure I no longer know since I was using an old manual Takumar lens with the most basic adapter so the camera recorded no lens data at all. I do know that all (but one) of the shots are at 1/40th and that the f-stop for these was unchanged. Although, I see from my 12/11/11 post, which I just read as I was putting the finishing touches on this post, that I was adjusting the aperture for some of the shots so it is possible that there are some exposure differences, but if so, I think they must be very minor as the exposures all look identical, or nearly so. One definite variation is that one of the images was 1/30th, which I only noticed after doing the merges, and it should not be a big enough difference to alter the outcome.
Anyway, it occurred to me that with this kind of wild water blending a lot of images together might also produce a very creamy effect without the need even for long exposures, which would be handy tool to be able to pull out sometimes, if it worked.
But, it did not really work, except it has produced a much brighter and luminous effect than any single one of the frames that give, and that is interesting in its own right.
- The top image was created by uploading 8 unedited frames to Photomatix and adjusting levels and exporting a file back to Lightroom.
- The second image was taken by merging the same 8 frames to a 32bit file directly from Lightroom with the Photomatix plug-in designed for that purpose. This latter method has no control over the image during the Photomatix part of the process.
- Both images were then treated in Lightroom to get them closer to what I wanted. These treatments were the same for both images, with some minor colour adjustments to reduce the turquoise and malachite colours in the top version.
- The third image is a single frame, but not one of the 8 used for merging, also of the same exposure value. I chose it because the water was similar to where I ended up without much spray and so on. I did my best in Lightroom to give it a similar feel to what I was getting from the ‘HDR’ versions. This was to see just how much of a waste of time it is to try merging identical exposure values but with different water motion for these kinds purposes.
- Finally the gallery below includes the 8 images that were used for merging so that you can see the wide range of difference in water conditions that have gone into the merged versions. These have been edited (each one in exactly the same way) after I used them for merging to straighten them and adjust the levels a bit and so on.
My conclusion? I think it added something of interest to these photos, but I am not sure it was enough extra to be doing this very often except maybe as a possible backup when stuck somewhere without an ND filter in strong light. If using this method, for me the better result is from the automatic merge via the plug-in (which might just expose my ability to use Photomatix properly). Likely it would work better with RAW files, but those I don’t have handy to experiment with.
To open the gallery view of images below click on any thumbnail, use the arrows to navigate and escape to return tot his page.
Canon 5Dii, Takumar 100mm/f4 macro, ISO100, f-22?, 1/40th second, polarizing filter