Snag images like the eye sees them
The New York Times
THE eye can see a much greater range of light and dark than a camera, which is why windows look like glowing boxes in daylight photos taken indoors.
That is where high-dynamic-range (HDR) photography comes in. It takes a series of overexposed, underexposed and properly-exposed photos and then mashes the best parts together to cover a full range of light. It makes images that are much closer to what the eye actually sees.
But there have been barriers to using HDR. The primary issue is that moving subjects change position from shot to shot in the series and appear blurry in the final images. That limits HDR's use to still-life photography conducted under careful conditions with a steady tripod.
A new HDR software program from Unified Color Technologies, called HDR Expose 3, does two things well that other HDR programs generally don't (especially the HDR software built into cameras).
One is to line up pictures from slightly-different angles, which eliminates the need for a tripod.
However, if you're taking hand-held HDR photos, you'll still have to be as steady as possible.
The other thing that the program does is make moving objects - like people walking through the frame - solid instead of a blur.
In the software, you pick the frame in which you like the positioning of the people (or kites, clouds, animals - whatever is moving) and the program compares that frame with others. It eliminates elements that are in different positions from those in the frame you picked when it mashes them together.
HDR has been criticised for the otherworldly look it can impart. Expose 3 settings allow it to be much more subtle and natural, though it also has a "grunge" setting that delivers striking effects.
There is a little bit of a learning curve to the product, which is available either as a stand-alone program or as a plug-in that works in other programs like Adobe's Photoshop.
The video tutorials on the Unified Color website are a big help, especially because the software isn't foolproof - you need to learn a few manual fixes.
The stand-alone version of HDR Expose 3 is US$120 (S$150), or you can buy a US$90 version called 32 Float V3, which adds Expose 3's features to Photoshop.