Sunday, August 2, 2009

Single Frame HDR

A couple of weeks ago on his blog, Mark S. Johnson showed a technique for processing a single file through Photomatix Pro to simulate the HDR look. Here's the link to the video tutorial. Since I've had Lucis Art, I've never really tried much with a single frame. It crossed my mind to adjust a single frame a couple of ways in Adobe Camera Raw and process them in Photomatix, and I've tried that a couple of times, but I've never been real happy with the result. So I thought I'd give Mark's tutorial a try with this image -- taken in May on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Even though the sky is enhanced with this technique, it's not totally fabricated here. It poured down rain about 10 minutes after I took this photo, and luckily I was able to duck into the U.S. Botanic Gardens to avoid getting drenched. Selenium tone conversion was done with Nik Silver Efex; edge added with blending mode texture.


  1. To be realistic, the clouds need to be much darker--it should look like a great storm is gathering over the capitol building--which I think is!

    Nice work. I like how this was turned-out

  2. Apocalyptic skies --- seems to be a theme these days.

  3. I like it as is, the sky is plenty interesting enough for me. I am not sure about the blue tint, but you don't see it as much as sepia or plain black and white so it is nice to see a change. I wish I could see more detail in the Statue of Freedom. I like the edge, it finishes off the image very well.

  4. I like the shot as is, with one exception. I would like to see it straightened or perspective corrected. It kind of leaves me leaning to the left while viewing it. I think it's a nice job on the photo.


  5. Nice job Steve the effect really looks nice on this one. Doug - I think it's no accident that the Capital looks to be leaning quite a bit to the left these days!

  6. I didn't even snap to that concept until I went back and saw your comment. I try to leave politics out of my photography.

  7. Well done Steve!

    I saw Mark Johnson's post about this technique but wasn't interested in it enough to actually watch the vid. After seeing what you've done I'll have to go back and watch!

    I'm not sure if it has to do with the "HDR" processing or if it is just your excellent composition but I get a real sense of depth looking at this photo. To me it almost looks 3D!


  8. Barry,
    I've tried bracketing handheld, and found that sometimes I get some misregistration in the merge, especially in foreground objects. This one-frame technique is nice because there's no alignment issues.