Practical HDR: A complete guide to creating High Dynamic Range images with your Digital SLR (Handbook of the Philosophy of Science) 2nd Edition

32 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0240821221
ISBN-10: 024082122X
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Practical HDR: A complete guide to creating High Dynamic Range images with your Digital SLR (Handbook of the Philosophy of Science) + Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography (A Lark Photography Book) + Photomatix Photomatix Pro 5
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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

  • Series: Handbook of the Philosophy of Science
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 2 edition (December 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 024082122X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240821221
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 9.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #771,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. Denis Hill VINE VOICE on March 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This will jump start your HDR efforts with descriptions of most leading programs and introductions to creating realistic and artistic images with each.
David Nightingale starts by explaining high dynamic range imaging, why we often want to extend the dynamic range that can be captured in a single exposure, and how tone mapping determines the final look of an image converted back to LDR for output. He goes on to describe the shooting process. After the basics, he moves into descriptions of how popular programs ... including some recently introduced ones ... work to merge and tone map bracketed sequences.
HDR capability is appearing frequently in standalone programs as well as integrated in photo editing suites. This book covers the current major programs, many of which I use: Photoshop CS5, Photomatix Pro, HDR Express, HDR Efex Pro, Olneo PhotoEngine. The strengths of each are described in sufficient detail to help the novice make a thoughtful investment. Some of the techniques covered are noise reduction, how many images to use, and how each option offers different presets and tone mapping tools. As one who started dabbling in HDR about three years ago, let me say that I find that the addition of presets hugely speeds up the tone mapping process.
After describing the programs, the author provides examples of "photorealistic" and "hyper-real" HDR images. The settings are included to expand on the more abstract discussion in earlier chapters.
The chapter on post-production covers helpful techniques including noise reduction, halo removal and other techniques that might not occur to a beginning practitioner of high dynamic range imaging.
I use Photoshop, Photomatix, and HDR Efex Pro ...
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As is the case with most books and gurus that try to 'teach' digital imaging techniques, the whole genre is based on image content that you will rarely ever see or have the chance to capture. Most don't realize this until they try to get an effect that matches the slider settings for a specific sample image. This book is full of 'set the slider here to get this' in the various programs talked about and most of the info on the programs is simply 'move slider here' or a rehash of basic program use. This of course is what the vast majority of the digital imaging education system is about and why it makes it so difficult for beginners to really learn instead of mimicing canned technique.

About the only part that would have any real world use is the first few sections of the book where the author goes into the dynamics of image capture. His explanation of dynamic range based on perception and equipment is enough to get a basic understanding of what DR is and how to shoot for maximum effectiveness. The software part is sadly lacking in cohesiveness and you quickly find yourself making useless comparisons between each program that is mentioned. He also skips rather quickly over noise reduction using such Photoshop plugins as Noiseware and this issue alone is one of the deciding factors over a really good image especially with large print output. As the vast majority of output today is Facebook oriented garbage then quality isn't really a big issue so good noise reduction in this case isn't warranted.

So, for a beginner, you get the gist of DR capture but you quickly get bogged down with software and tiny image sample comparison. Also, the book isn't formatted for Kindle/Nook reading with references to samples that can show up 2 or 3 pages later which makes it a nasty deal flipping back and forth on a pad reader.
GM
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Spudman TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
For someone like this Potato Head who still is getting his feet wet with the HDR technique and trying to master and understand the myriad settings in Photomax, Practical HDR is a source of practical information, technique, and inspiration. The cover itself is filled with a spectacular HDR photo and motivates the reader to dig into this wonderful book to learn how to create such a masterpiece himself.

I like that the author explains the pros and cons of various HDR programs, including Photomatix Pro (the only one I've used) HDR Express (my next one?), HDR Efex Pro, Adobe Photoshop CS5,Olonea Photo Engine, and HDR Efex Pro. Throughout the book are numerous outstanding HDR examples processed with the featured software programs. At the end of the book, the reader learns some post HDR processing tips using Photoshop primarily or other programs that feature masks and curves.

For me this was a book to read slowly, reread at times, and to savor. If nothing else, I'm now convinced that the best HDR picks start with raw bracketed photos, though I've created some nice ones using JPEG. Anyone who wants to improve his/her HDR technique or move up to another level of expertise should find Practical HDR a worthwhile and edifying read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Conrad J. Obregon VINE VOICE on March 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
As time passes, both High Dynamic Range (HDR) software and the books about it change. Yet David Nightingale's updated second edition of "Practical HDR" continues to be one of the best books about the subject.

In this new version the author deals with some of the most popular HDR programs: Photoshop CS5, Photomatix Pro, HDR Express, HDR Efex Pro and Oloneo PhotoEngine. The book begins with an explanation of dynamic range which is essential to using any of these programs well. The author then tells how to shoot HDR images most effectively. He provides an overview of each piece of software and then explains how to use each, first to create realistic images and then to create surrealistic images (or what he calls hyper-real images.) He finishes the book discussing post-processing of HDR images, like increasing contrast and removing halos.

Given the size of the book, the author does an excellent job of explaining how each of the buttons and sliders in each of the programs effect the image. He also provides a number of images by both himself and other well-known HDR photographers that document the settings used to achieve the results. His writing is clear and concise and except for a book dedicated to just one piece of software is as comprehensive as any one can find. One will still have to experiment with the sliders but with this book in hand, one will have a good starting point.

Nightingale is at pains to state that he does not want to recommend one program over another, or compare them, but any careful reader should be able to connect the dots himself. Occasionally, he misses a feature of a program, like Photomatix Pro's ability to batch process images which I find very useful for HDR panoramas, but these are features the user can discover as he or she goes along.
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