Lovely sunset last night and this time we managed to get into the right place early enough. I only had the iPhone4 with me and after taking a few shots I discovered I could take slightly different exposures by choosing different places in the photo for the camera to focus. I use the app Camera+ and, as with other photo apps on the iPhone you use the touch screen to tell the app where to focus. What I found was, with something with contrasting areas of light like a sunset, not only does the app focus where it is told but also takes the exposure reading from that area. That gave me the idea of taking three photos with slightly different exposures to use for making an HDR picture.
This is one of the photos as taken by the iPhone:
The other two were slightly darker or lighter.
The idea was to transfer the photos to the PC and use Photomatrix to do the HDR processing. On loading them I had to change the numeric level of one as Photomatrix nagged that it thought two were the same exposure. That gave it a -1, 0 and +1 combination of exposures to work with.
My biggest surprise was Photomatrix Pro 4.1 gave me a set of built in preset thumbnails at the bottom of the screen with different results to choose from. Something I have not seen before with this program:
I chose Enhancer - Painterly and told it to process. The result being:
There must be a way to get back to the thumbnails but I couldn't find it so loaded the three originals again. This time choosing Enhancer - Grunge:
Those results were just as the program set things up and it would have been possible to add a bit of extra individual tweaking.
While in a tweaking mood I loaded the top original iPhone photo in Photoshop Elements 10 and used the ReDynaMix plugin to see how well it could achieve an HDR effect from one picture:
As the saying goes - when it comes to trying to reproduce what the eye sees on subjects like sunsets - yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice. The Grunge result I like as an arty picture though it looks nothing like the actual Sunset. Of my efforts the ReDynaMix is the nearest to the real thing though the idea of HDR is to achieve a High Dynamic Range.
There is at least one app for the iPhone which automatically takes HDR photos but the one I tried processes the photo immediately after taking the shots and it was a long wait before any more photos could be taken. With something as fleeting as a sunrise or sunset it was better to be able to take lots of shots and do the processing later.
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