I did some experiments the other night after work. First of all, I just got Aurora HDR Pro, the HDR software developed by Macphun and photography Trey Ratcliff. So I wanted to capture some HDR sequences to use in the software.
But this first shot was just a 30 second exposure using a 10-stop neutral density filter. One thing I’m not crazy about: My 17-40mm Canon L lens is slightly biased toward the cool side of the color ranges, which is really nice on most landscapes. The B+W ND filter has a slightly warm cast that, after light coming through it for a full half minute, warms things up enough that it’s tough to get true blue skies.
The cool thing: The longer exposure smoothed out the breeze-rippled water to look like frosted glass!
This is a single exposure processed using Lightroom. It’s a nice photo, showing off the beautiful sky and sunset tinting. But it’s the middle, no exposure compensation shot of an HDR sequence. I have been shooting 3-shot bursts, bracketing at -2, 0, and +2 stops. So here’s the HDR version processed in Aurora HDR Pro.
At first, the two shots look very similar, but pay attention to the clouds, the sunset, the reflections of the boats in the water, and you’ll see some of the extra detail HDR helps to show up.
Also, notice that my 3 exposures had different shutter speeds, but all at f/13. You don’t want your aperture (depth of field) to change between 3 photos which will be combined into one.
I will watch some training videos on using Aurora HDR Pro, because I really like the initial results, but this software is capable of a LOT, and I don’t really know how to utilize it’s full potential.