Exposure bracketing - more than 3 shots for HDR

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Jon_Are, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are TPF Noob!

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    I've been experimenting with indoor HDR, trying to capture the full dynamic range of a room without flash. I've run into some trouble, though, shooting rooms with windows on a relatively sunny day.

    I find I'm not able to create a nicely-exposed image using just three bracketed exposures (+/- 2 EV). Because this is the limit of what my D80 will bracket, I've concluded that many of my HDRs will require 5 or more images.

    So, I guess I have to capture my first three shots, then adjust the shutter speed without moving the camera even a hair, and shoot another set.

    My question: Is this do-able? (I know I should just try it, and I will tomorrow, but I'd like to hear some input from y'all.)

    I use LR2 and Photomatix. Is Photomatix pretty good at lining up the images if they're not quite perfectly aligned?

    Thanks!

    Jon
     
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes. Very easily.

    You're making it harder than it has to be.

    Don't use AEB. Go to Manual mode.


    Meter the darkest part. Note those settings down.
    Meter the brightest part. Note that down.

    Now you know the dynamic range of the scene.

    I guess the easiest thing would be to just split it up in 1 stop increments.

    Your scene covers 7 stops? Take 7 exposures. First using the settings you noted down for the dark part, last with the settings from the light part. Equal spacing between.

    [EDIT- If you want to make all of that adjusting easier on yourself, switch your camera to adjust in 1/2 stop increments instead of 1/3 stop increments. (Should be a custom function.) ...Can you really tell if the exposure is 1/6th of a stop off?]

    IMO, this is much easier in M. No need to mess around with AEB.
    To me, AEB is more for when you are just unsure of the proper exposure - not quite as good for what you're trying to do.

    EDIT
    I know I shouldn't have to ask (I assume you know better...), but you are using a tripod, right?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    From a lining up the images point of view it should certainly be possible if your tripod mounted, the minor shake caused will be neglegable and the comptuer will (should) easily be able to compensate for that.
    Heck handheld I have focus stacked images in the past with good results (similar to exposure stacking, but instead of staking the exposure differences its stacking different points of focus) though its not easy and a tripod really does make things a heck of a lot easier
     
  4. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are TPF Noob!

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    Hey, Josh,

    Actually, I am shooting (and bracketing) in manual. To be honest, your solution - to shoot seven individual frames - sounds more difficult than shooting two sets of three bracketed shots. With your way, I'd have to shoot, make an adjustment, shoot, make an adjustment....etc. X 7. The other way, I could shoot one set of (bracketed) three, adjust, then shoot one more set.

    Or am I missing something?

    I'm going out on a shoot tomorrow. Here is my plan (please tell me if it is flawed):


    • Manual mode, ISO 100, aperture fixed at 6.7.
    • Meter - with my 6.7 set - for the windows (let's say I get a reading of 250 for the shutter speed here)
    • Use this 250 to determine my starting point; go, say, 2 clicks higher (which would be 500).
    • Now, on manual, I'm set at 500 / 6.7 and bracketing three exposures at 1.5 EV.
    • Shoot my first set, which will give me shutter speeds of 500, 180 & 60.
    • Dial down the shutter speed 9 clicks (to 20).
    • Shoot my second set of three, which will give me speeds of 20, 8 & 3.
    • Now I have six exposures of a very wide range, and I only had to make one careful adjustment to the camera.

    Now, certainly I'll end up with a good number of shots that I can't use, but I think I'd have the range of exposures pretty well covered, enough to make a suitable HDR.

    I'm also wondering if I should go to 1.0 EV instead of 1.5. Using my above example, here is a comparison:

    1.5 EV: 500, 180, 60, 20, 8, 3
    1.0 EV: 350, 180, 90, 45, 20, 10

    Whattaya think?

    And, oh yeah, I'm using a tripod. :mrgreen:

    Jon
     
  5. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are TPF Noob!

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    Overread, thanks for your input as well. I was hoping that Photomatix would be able to compensate to some degree for an image that might be just a hair off.

    Jon
     
  6. shed301

    shed301 TPF Noob!

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    yes photomatix does line everything up quite nicely... which is a good tool to use when doing hand held HDR shots

    straight after you load up all your pics you'll get this window

    [​IMG]

    click on alignment and let it do it's thing... after it's finished go to tone mapping there you can make your adjustments. i usually make subtle ones then finish them off in lightroom

    hope this helps
    Grant

    PS: apologies for answering for overread and my apologies for hi-jacking the thread
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think that his point was that it's more simple if you don't have to put the camera into AEB mode at all. Just find your starting point; shoot then adjust, shoot then adjust etc. There doesn't need to be much trouble. I think that might be easier than putting the camera into AEB mode, taking the three shots, then taking it out of AEB, putting it back in etc.
     
  8. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    I often shoot HDR's hand held. This was shot with my 5DMk2 which shoots really slowly on continuous mode... :) But I did it hand held and just used Photomatix to align things properly (automatically).

    [​IMG]
     
  9. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Since you have Lightroom, you can just shoot your 3 bracketed shots, then clone your darkest image and your brightest image and bump them 1 stop down and 1 stop up (respectively) to increase your dynamic range. You don't need to physically shoot more shots to get the spread in exposure.
     
  10. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Do you also have photoshop or any other program that allows you to use blended layers?

    I once had a set of handheld HDRs that didn't align at all in photomatix. What I did was load them into photoshop, pick a standard reference image (middle), put the others on it as an additional layer (individually), set the layer mode to difference and then moved the layer manually till everything was black (or dark rather since the images themselves have different exposures).

    Turn off layer blending and save the file. Rinse and repeat of each "unalignable" image and you're dancing a victory dance.
     
  11. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are TPF Noob!

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    I really don't see how this is a better solution. My goal is to touch the camera as little as possible during the series of shots. My concern is that there will be some camera movement each time I make an adjustment. With your method, you are adjusting (touching) the set-up 5 or 6 times; with mine, just once.

    There is no need to take it out of AEB, then put it back in AEB; once it is in bracketing, it stays there until I change that setting.

    Jon
     
  12. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are TPF Noob!

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    This may be worth trying.

    Jon
     

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