One A Day – 913 – Experimental

Piñatas a San Agustin

How Many?

Running in the Wind

Light Fountain

Light Fountain

San Agustin


  • Photowalk – Temporada de Navidad in Morelia, 2016
  • San Agustin
  • Centro, Morelia, Michoacán, México
  • December 7, 2016
  • Copyright, all rights reserved

This is an experimental series of tone-mapped single images: Single images post-processed with HDR software as though they were the result of a multiple image merge. That explanation isn’t enough if you haven’t worked with “normal” HDR – but just let that go for now. Perhaps it is enough to say that because I work with the full capability of RAW images – I can find I can dispense with some of the limitations of HDR. Because HDR is usually a merging of multiple, sequential images at different exposures – motion from wind, people moving, changing reflections, etc. can make it difficult to capture normal scenes.  RAW images however, have a much greater tonal scale and gamut than the more common JPG that most people get out of their cameras. By exploiting that – I can get some (not all) of the range of merged HDR without the limitations using the most current HDR editing software.

This isn’t easy. It isn’t a matter of popping it in the HDR software and just letting it process the image. You need to use the software to adjust the image in ways you ordinarily can’t. My workflow is to import RAW into Lightroom, post-process it as close to the result I am looking for and then export it to Aurora HDR – process it there to take advantage of the tools it has and then port it back to Lightroom where I do the final touch up. It isn’t a quick easy process but the results are quite promising. I’m still experimenting – but you can see what I’m getting in these.

This group was done in the late afternoon when the light was intentionally contrasty and warm. I’m looking for the ability to penetrate shadow, control the areas in the sunlight, and bring out colors in what otherwise would be difficult situations. I’m not where I want to be yet – but any new tool takes time to learn. One step at a time – thus this experimental group. One note however – I’m balancing for printing more than the photos on the internet. As someone said recently – printed work is more detailed, subtle and balanced. I don’t control the monitors and balance on your equipment and if you have never had your system professionally balanced it is sure to be different that mine in some way. If you ever get a chance to see printed images side-by-side with their internet versions – you will see what I mean. If these are good – the printed versions will be even more interesting.

2 Responses

  1. Kevin Wilcoxon says:

    Really gives depth and “reality” to the photos.

    • mike says:

      Thanks Kevin. It is subtle compared to some other approaches to the problem and I like that a lot. I’m going to keep working with it and using it when it makes sense. Let’s see where it goes.