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Mastering HDR Photography: Combining Technology and Artistry to Create High Dynamic Range Images Paperback – April 15, 2008

3.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Freeman is an acclaimed international photographer and writer. Well known for his work in Photo District News, Smithsonian magazine, and many other journals, he is the author of more than two dozen books on photography. He lives in London.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Amphoto Books (April 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817499997
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817499990
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,403,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
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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