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J. Daniel Ashton

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Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, —Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV
The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands:
"See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God." —Micah 6:8, CEV
With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment.
Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. —Proverbs 3:5,6 CEV

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Name: Daniel Ashton
Location: Germantown, Maryland, United States

Any links with a dashed underscore probably point to Amazon.com

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bare Minimum HDR

In response to Tanner's second comment on my previous post, I should point out that it doesn't take much to try out HDR techniques. The programs I pointed to there can be downloaded in a free trial version.

Your camera needs to produce pictures in a commonly-recognizable format. JPEG works just fine, although you are encouraged to use a raw format if you can.

The only technical hurdle is that your camera must provide some kind of exposure control, and the vast majority of digital cameras have a +/- button for exactly this purpose. (In contrast, the camera in my Treo 700p has no such controls whatsoever.) Lacking explicit exposure control, you might be able to trick your camera into setting the exposures by using the "half-down" button press that most cameras use to pre-set the focus and exposure settings. In this case, first aim for a bright part of the picture to set the exposure, then compose and shoot, then set the exposure for a dark part of the picture, attempt to re-align to match the original, and shoot your second frame.

So, at a bare minimum, to try out HDR techniques, you need to take at least two pictures of the same subject, aligned as well as you can manage (a tripod helps with this), taken with different exposure (EV) settings. Ideally, one will be overexposed and another will be underexposed.

Everything else contributes to making the result even better.

So, go ahead, try it! And let me know how it goes for you.

When it comes time to buy a basic but capable camera, I recommend the two cameras that Vicki and I are using: the Fujifilm Finepix S6000fd and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7. (The Lumix DMC-FZ8 is on the market now, and adds a raw format capability that the FZ7 is lacking without raising the price.)


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