Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tractor and Plough - Revisit

Some of you may have seen my Plough (or Plow) post from Monday. I want to revisit one of the pictures and focus on the a technique which can be helpful in some cases. The technique is "tone mapping", some may think of it also known as HDR. But in today's discussion, 'tone mapping' is the technique.

As I wrote on Monday, when I first saw this equipment, it was somewhat early in the morning and it was bathed in some pretty decent light. I couldn't stop and take the picture then and I returned in mid-afternoon. The light was not nearly as good. The resulting images were not like the scene I had seen in the morning, they were somewhat flat and dull.

I am in the processing of writing a tutorial on HDR and tone mapping and as part of that process I have been working on improving some of my skills in that part of image processing. For practice, I picked one of the tractor series.

The first image below is the result of some of that practice and I have repeated the same image from Monday for easy comparison. I am sure you can easily see the difference. The tractors colours have more pop and if you look inside the tire you can see some detail.

The bottom image was the best I could achieve with Lightroom. The top image was processed with Photomatix Pro (as a Lightroom plug-in). One of the complaints held by many is that the images don't look natural. Although this image is not what I saw in the afternoon, it is very close to what caught my eye in the morning.

By the way, I almost always shoot in RAW format, which means I have more colour and brightness data to work with, which would not be the case if I were to shot in JPG format only. I'll explain this in more detail in the forth coming tutorial.

Which image do you prefer?

1/800 f/4.5 ISO 400 @ 73 mm Canon EOS 40D, processed with Photomatix Pro

Victoria Square,Markham,Ontario

1/800 f/4.5 ISO 400 EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM @ 73 mm Canon EOS 40D
Victoria Square,Markham,Ontario
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