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Practical HDR: A complete guide to creating High Dynamic Range images with your Digital SLR [Paperback]

by David Nightingale
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 31, 2009 0240812492 978-0240812496 1

HDR is both a technical solution to the limitations of digital camera sensors, and a creative tool that can give any image much more impact - but it is not without its pitfalls, and it's essential to understand these if you want to take full advantage of this innovative technique. Practical HDR provides you with an abundance of step-by-step examples that will quickly make you an expert on the theory and practice of shooting and processing HDR images, allowing you to get the best possible results every time.

As well as practical advice on shooting and processing, the book also contains a global showcase of inspirational HDR images - you will quickly find that HDR offers unparralleled opportunities for indulging your creative instincts, from photo-realistic to hyper-realism.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Nightingale is an intructor for the Perfect Picture School of Photography and director of Chromasia training.
David Nightingale is an intructor for the Perfect Picture School of Photography and director of Chromasia training.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (August 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240812492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240812496
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 9.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 94 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much more than a basic software manual November 26, 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
HDR photography is a fairly complex subject. As an amateur photographer of several decades experiences, I've often encountered situations where a single photograph simply cannot capture both highlight and shadow detail. "Practical HDR" does a good job of explaining the basic problems with photography compared to vision, though it gives shorter shrift to RAW format in discussing this than it really should. Truth is, RAW captures 2-3 more Exposure Values of dynamic range than normally appear in JPG images, since the in-camera tone mapping tends to compress highlight detail severely to enhance mid-tone contrast.

As "Practical HDR" rightly points out, there simply is no easy solution mapping a high dynamic range image to ordinary monitors and prints. Any global change you make will sacrifice contrast in one range in order to enhance it in another, which is why standard tone-mapping throws away highlights. The best solution is to treat each area of the the image separately, emphasizing different luminance ranges in different parts of the image.

The book explains bracketing exposures, a familiar concept to many photographers even if they aren't attempting to create a HDR image, and the basics of using three programs: Photoshop (CS2 or later), Photomatrix Pro, and FDRTools. However, "practical HDR" rarely goes much beyond what you'd learn from the manuals for these programs. Time and again, the book does little more than describe the purpose of program sliders, and tell you to play with the slider until you get a result you like. I could have figured that out on my own, thank you.

Toward the end of the book, "Practical HDR" dips briefly into photoshop techniques such as the Curves tool and blending two images using a layer mask.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting More Dynamic Range October 26, 2009
A physicist acquaintance who specializes in digital imaging tells me that increasing resolution or reducing noise in digital sensors are much easier problems to solve than extending the range of light of sensors to equal the human eye. In the unlikely event that you are a serious photographer who has been waiting for the dynamic range of digital sensors to increase rather than deal with high dynamic range (HDR) it would be better to get over it. This book is an excellent place to start.

Nightingale's book is divided into chapters that include understanding dynamic range, shooting for HDR, merging bracketing sequences, creating photo-realistic and hyper-real HDR images, and post-processing.

The author recognizes that there are many HDR software packages on the market and rather than try to describe them all, he only touches on three. They include Photoshop, which at least as far as the CS4 version he dismisses as not very useful, and the quirky but occasionally useful FDRTools. The lion's share of the instruction is devoted to Photomatix Pro, which is rapidly becoming the standard for HDR. Unlike several other texts, he explains what each of the sliders and buttons in Photomatix does and what compensating adjustments have to be made if you select one of the more specialized sliders. He also covers post-processing of HDR images in Photoshop at a level of detail sufficient for those familiar with Photoshop to clean up the HDR image, rather than just suggest the tools that might help. He also provides several examples that give detailed step-by-step explanations of how he used the options available in both HDR software and post-processing and the reasons he selected those settings. Sprinkled throughout the book are HDR examples created by several expert photographers.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best of the bunch November 28, 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been using HDR techniques in my nature photography for quite a while. Anytime scene dynamic range exceeds the dynamic capture range of the camera's sensor, you are going to have sacrifice either lights or darks (or a little of both). In nature photgraphy, it is quite common to encounter this situation when part of your subject is in full sun and part in shade. If you want to capture this wide dynamic range, you will eventually turn to using some tone mapping software.

This book covers three tone mappers: Photomatix, FDR Tools and Photoshop. While this book does not cover all the avilable tone mappers, the first two are noted for their ability to generate high quality natural looking images. Photoshop is covered as well, I suppose because a number of photographers will already have a copy. Photoshop is probably the least capable of the three as far as tone mapping is concerned. On the other hand neither of these tone mappers produces a 'final' image that would not be improved by some post-processing in Photoshop. As pointed out in this book, there are some advantages to pre-processing raw files (to TIFF, for example) before opening in any tone mapper. So it's best to think of HDR tone mappers as part of an HDR work flow that includes Photoshop (or other image editor) at both ends.

I have had a chance to review three previous books on HDR and this one is so far the best. I have some quibbles with this one as well, but as far a getting started in HDR photography, this is the best. It includes both processing for a natural look, as well as the 'exotic' HDR that is more commonly seen. The use of particular controls in each software package's interface is well explained (unlike some earlier books) and will give you a very good start.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific for HDR
A well thought out presentation of the many facets of HDR. I purchased the book when I first began using HDR extensively and found it to be excellent. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert A. Peschka
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful
Lots of information, easy to read, really informative, I am inspired to get out with the camera and see what I can achieve!
Published 11 months ago by Andrea Lewis
3.0 out of 5 stars HDR
I bought Photomatix Pro and this book to go along with it. The book is about HDR photography but doesn't give any specifics for any software product. Read more
Published on January 3, 2012 by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes you step-by-step !
I recently began trying out HDR photography and I like it very much. This is the second book I have on the subject, and it is a great book, taking you step by step, all the way... Read more
Published on August 10, 2011 by L. Da Vinci
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes getting started in HDR Photography Easy
The bottom line is that this book is informative and easy to read. It really makes getting started in HDR Photography easy. Read more
Published on March 7, 2011 by Dane
4.0 out of 5 stars Reading only 2 chapters and I told my wife 3 times that the book was...
I read only 2 chapters and I remember I told my wife 3 times that the book was great. Before reading this book, I have done some HDR photos and obtained quite a good result. Read more
Published on February 5, 2011 by Lawrence Lam
2.0 out of 5 stars Book- Practical HDR
The book is so-so. Not enough advice on the techniques, just showed off pix.
Published on October 15, 2010 by Norty
Published on September 17, 2010 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
This book really explains all the processes to capture and process HDR photos and shows examples using different processes. Read more
Published on August 11, 2010 by RAY
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Some Insight
Now I can come closer to the results I wanted because now I have a better idea of what each of the sliders and check-boxes actually do.
Published on August 2, 2010 by Walter S. Harris
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