Expanded Dynamic Range – Photomatix

Gas Tank BW Rockland ME I was looking at something online and caught a tip about getting more dynamic range from a single image. It turned out to be an article about Photomatix, which is software I already had on my system. I normally used this with bracketed photos, but this article talked about using it with a single image. I thought I’d give it a try.

I went through some of my recent Maine trip images and I liked this gasoline tank photo from Rockland Harbor. Something drew me to it while I was there and I made the shot thinking I could do something with it. Bit, I ignored it as I processed a bunch of other images.

It wasn’t until I saw the image as a black and white in the Photomatix interface that I realized what it was that I liked. The tones and textures say more than the colors and the tone mapping effect was subtle and gave me what I guess I had wanted from it all along.

I’m not sure if the idea of getting more dynamic range out of an image is well demonstrated here. It was more just hitting the right preview button and seeing what I must have felt about it when I was in Maine.

Rockland Breakwater Light BW-1200w

Here’s another Rockland Harbor photo, shot the previous Fall, that I just processed through Photomatix. This time, I wasn’t so much curious about the tone-mapping and HDR expansion as much as that B&W effect, which probably uses some of the other stuff, anyway. I added an ON1 Tonal Contrast and Glow step…it seemed like the thing to do.

Horses In Barn - Agawam MA

Going back in time almost a full year, I found this photo of some horses in a large barn at a riding school in my town. I think if I had a real bracketed set of photos, the overly bright outside seen through the doors on the left would be tamed. But, from a single raw exposure, with Photomatix and its processing, it’s not too bad. I could have cropped out the door and the brightness, but the darkness of the interior is somehow balanced, so maybe it’s OK.

Rough Waves With Onlookers - Acadia

I think Acadia is a very special place and we, here, in New England are lucky to have it. I shot this near Thunder Hole, which had so many tourists it would have been impossible to get a shot. I turned to my left and saw this and I set up my camera and waited.

This image can be one of those you either hate or love. I used the Photomatix software and selected a B&W preset again, but had to pick settings that didn’t make all the waves look blown out. Maybe there was too much dynamic range reach in the presets and not enough data in the raw file. This preset, however, seemed to handle it. Unfortunately, this image has a sky that has that tonemapping look. So, love or hate…I can’t decide.

You can see the people on the rocks and the size of the crashing waves. It’s a formula for disaster. In some of the photos, they actually got closer to the spot where the waves were hitting the rocks hard. People have been known to get too close and have lost their lives.

Riverton Yacht Club NJ

This is the Riverton Yacht Club on the Delaware River, just a bit north of Philadelphia but on the New Jersey side. You could see the lens hood sides in the raw image because of the wide-angle zoom setting. So, I had to crop a bit. But, the expanded dynamic range thing was done nevertheless, as was some ON1 processing to get this final image. I don’t seem to mind the tone-mapping effect as much in this image.


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