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on July 11, 2008
Having already Christian Bloch's and Ferrell McCollough's texts on HDR imaging, I was intrigued by the accolades given to Michael Freeman as a writer by some of the readers here, and I got this book as well.

In fact, this book does not stack up to the both other works on the subject. Author often meanders into philosophical issues of composition, like the "Gestalt theory", instead of analyzing the issues of high dynamic range.

Bad are the example images, in many cases almost in the size of a post stamp. I could not make up any details in many of them, they are often that small. This problem was amplified by the print technology used by the publisher. Do you remember the early color print, in which you could see strange hexagonal patterns of color dots? Well, you can see them here too, and when such artifacts appear on these tiny images, their practical value is close to zero.

Some other critiques here called this book too technical. I am sorry to disagree. On this aspect I am on the very opposite side of the scale: This book is virtually devoid any technical details. It is the "blah blah" type of text, to use the vernacular.

Take rather Ferrell McCollough (not too technical, fantastic photography) or Bloch (technical and very comprehensive, rich in detail). You can skip this book.
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on June 23, 2008
It's sad that Michael Freeman's Mastering HDR Photography wasn't handed over to a publisher that cared more about the reader. Freeman manages to pack a lot of information into the text, but the type--it's an ultra light sans serif type that my middle aged eyes had trouble reading in all lights--kept me from reading all the material. There are reasons why there are so many fonts available; the publisher should give them some thought. I wrote to the publisher, but received no answer. That tells me they don't value their readers' input.

I gave up on the Freeman text and went back to Amazon for McCollough's Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography and am completely satisfied. McCollough offers a different approach to HDR than I had used, and it makes complete sense. Even nicer, I can read his text.
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The human eye is so much better then a camera. It can see details in shadows and bright areas that would just be pure black and white to a camera, whether film or digital. Photographers have been trying for years to extend that range. High dynamic range photography (HDR) is the latest iteration of these efforts. It involves capturing a series of images at different exposures and then combining them in a computer to get a greater range.

Michael Freeman's work is a surprising volume on HDR because it reveals a far broader set of options for the photographer interested in HDR then one might have guessed existed. In the Photoshop-centric mind of many photographers, Photoshop appears to be the only HDR tool, but the author points out there are at least five different pieces of software to handle HDR, each with different approaches, and pros and cons. In fact Photoshop may be the weakest tool. Freeman lays down the basics of HDR, talks about capture and generation, describes the different software and then follows workflow for each. He even tells you when HDR will work, and how to deal with certain problems created by multiple exposures, like moving subjects, that might at first make a scene seem inappropriate for HDR.

Since I had none of the other software, I was primarily interested in Photoshop. Freeman not only told me which sliders in PS were of greater or lesser use, and how to use the useful ones, but also told me what other adjustments to make in Photoshop to make a better image once I had finished with the HDR facility. I examined several other general PS CS3 books and none of them included the follow-up steps suggested by Freeman. I followed Freeman's suggestions, and lo and behold, I was able to create HDR images with an extended range of light. What else can one ask for?

Some people suggest that HDR can be used to create images that go beyond what the human eye can see and create strange special effects. Freeman's approach is to use HDR to make pictures look more like what the eye sees.

Freeman suggests that HDR may have a short lifespan, since cameras will eventually be able to see the same range of light as the human eye. Moreover, I'm certain that over the next few years, there will be improvements in the HDR facility. In the meantime, however, Freeman's book will serve as a good introduction to this technique.
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VINE VOICEon July 29, 2008
I liked this book for the most part. It covers HDR software fairly well, especially Photomatix, which is an industry leader. The author includes a substantive discussion of dynamic range in terms of seeing, capture and printing, and you do get a good introduction to the vocabulary.

I only gave 3 stars however. There are a number of issues. 1) Some of the images are mis-captioned; usually you can figure out which is which, but better proofing would have helped. 2) Many of the images are simply too small to see the effects he says they represent. 3) The subjects of many images are so abstract, you cannot tell what the subject is or what it should look like. I would strongly recommend that the author provide links to downloadable copies of the images so a reader could follow along. (This seems to be a problem with other books on this topic.) 4) There are a few errors regarding dynamic range and LAB colors, although these do not affect the usefulness of the book. There is no errata available on the author's site or the publishers site. 5) The screen captures are for an earlier version and some confusion, though small, results. This is really due to the fact that the software is evolving rapidly and not the author's fault.

The book convinced me the value of the Photmatix software. I have been struggling with the HDR feature of Photoshop CS3. The trial version of Photomatix adds a watermark to saved images but is not so intrusive that it prevents learning or evaluation the software. (Bravo! Photomatix!) I shoot landscapes, and moving water is simply beyond the capabilities of Photoshop, but handled very well by Photomatix. (I would very happy if Adobe acquired Photomatix much like they did Pixmantec.)

If you are interested in starting with HDR imaging, this book and a trial version ot Photmatix will give you the tools you need to decide if it will work for you. Well worth the Amazon discountprice!
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on May 14, 2008
This book is just what I was looking for. I'd been struggling with high dynamic range - there was lots of scattered information, but nothing that actually told me sensibly how to work it through from taking the pictures to getting a good-looking result. This book does it, and the great thing is that it's by a professional photographer, not someone who just knows how the software works.

I found it from the Photomatix site, where it's the one book recommended under their Resources, and quite right too. I also noticed that it's not a hype for Photomatix, but very even-handed about all the software. The best part for me is the many workflows and case studies so I could work step by step through real projects. The authors really clear on how to use fiddly controls to make good images.
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on May 15, 2008
I'm a fan of Michael Freeman's work, and this book is no exception. Its a good presentation of HDR as it is today and covers enough technical ground to satisfy most Photographers. For a pure novice, some of this info may be intimidating, but ultimately necessary if one wants to excel using HDR. I'm a Photomatix user and I found Michael's presentation of Photomatix to be very helpful. His workflow section is a valuable addition to the book. My only complaint about the book is that many of the comparison photos are just too small to show the effects the author explains in the associated text. Other than this nit, I'm really happy with this book.
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on May 8, 2008
Having read Ferrell McCollough's text on HDR imaging, I bought Mastering HDR Photography to supplement it. I found the workflow examples in Mastering HDR Photography to be useful, and the technical information was what I was looking for. All the major HDR software applications are covered in sufficient detail.

I have to disagree with the Author's assertion that all HDR images must look 'real'. In some situations the images resulting from HDR processing can look more like illustrations than photographs. It's up to the photographer to decide if the final result is artistic - not the author of this book. If you want to see a broader range of HDR imaging, check out Ferrell McCollough's book.

The chapters are indeed short, as has been mentioned, but I prefer short bursts of information to long drawn-out explanations. The chapter on post-processing will be useful to PhotoShop users.
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on February 15, 2016
Arrived quickly and in great condition. This is a new method of Photo editing that I have not quite got the hang of. Apparently you take 3 photos of the same subject one overexposed and one underexposed. This allows you to clarify the darker and brighter. Especially the darker lost items. At least so far. A work in progress. Still reading it.
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on April 10, 2013
I am a great fan of Michael Freeman's books and I own a dozen of them (especially those on composition which I highly recommend: The photographer's eye, The photographer's mind, The photographer's vision) which helped me reengage with digital photography after I stopped my 30-year passion when my last kodachrome roll came back unprocessed because the Kodak lab had closed...
This book is excellent for its content but I was extremely upset by the US publisher. In trying to save some pennies they issued a book in which all formal aspects are wrong: the size is too small, the typeface is too small (especially the captions), the comparative photos are post stamp sized and far too small to make differences visible, the page layout is confusing and the copy has not been proofread. I wish Freeman would re-issue this title with another publisher because I appreciate his style and language.
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on December 28, 2008
Although this book had great potential to be a good reference on the advanced topic of high dynamic range photography, I found the overly verbose writing and philosophical meandering to totally distract me from the useful content in the book.

There are many grammatical and typographical errors as well as errors referring to the sample photographs. On top of that, the sample photos are extremely small and not of great quality.

I recommend that if you are interested in buying this book, you think twice, or possibly read the first couple of chapters before you make the purchase.
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