21 March 2016

Chania at Night

Posted in: architecture, Chania, hdr, landscape, long-exposure|

Chania at Night

As you probably know from my earlier posts, Chania town in Greece I visited last summer is a beautiful place at all times of the day but it gets even prettier during early evening when sky and water turn blue and street lanterns are lit. So I spent quite a lot of time trying to capture this unique atmosphere and here is one of my attempts.

In this case I wanted to create really calm image (despite the fact the place is quite busy with all the tourists looking for a place to eat their dinner) so I used long-exposure to smooth all motion. Also as dynamic range was quite high (because there were deep shadows and very bright street lamps) I decided to use HDR – 5 frames at 1 EV spacing were enough.

Chania at Night (more…)

9 March 2016

Small changes to the blog

Posted in: architecture, blog, Chania, church, hdr|

Changes to the blog

As you have maybe noticed, in the last few days my blog changed its look a little bit. Most of the changes were rather cosmetic to make the blog look a little bit more fresh and up to date with current standards (e.g. I added so called mega menu which became very popular in last few months) and to make various sections of the blog easier to access and find.

As always with such changes, if you see anything broken, please let me know so I could fix it 🙂

Church in Chania

Today I would like to share HDR photo I took last summer in Chania in Greece. It’s one of the churches in the old town. I really liked leading lines created by pavement tiles as well as their colour and the fact that they reflected light a little bit.

I captured 5 frames 2 stops apart and tone-mapped them in Photomatix Pro 5 with Contrast Optimizer. As with most of my recent images, finishing touches were done with ON1 Effects 10.

Church in Chania (more…)

9 February 2016

Night is Coming

Posted in: architecture, hdr, warsaw|

Night is Coming

It’s yet another photo I took in Warsaw last year. It was already getting dark but there was still a bit of light left in the sky and I thought it would be sort of cool to show this transition from day to night. Dynamic range was high in this case so it was necessary to capture HDR image (I used 5 bracketed images) which I tone-mapped in Photomatix Pro 5.1. Finishing touches were done in Photoshop and using ON1 Effects 10 plug-in.

If you would like to learn how to take and process such photos yourself, make sure to read my free HDR tutorial where I detail my post-processing.

Night is Coming (more…)

30 December 2015

Phra Nang Beach in Thailand

Posted in: hdr, landscape, thailand|

Disqus comment system

Today I finally integrated Disqus comment system into my blog. I hope it will make commenting easier for those of you who don’t use Google+ (as you can sign in using other accounts like Facebook for instance). For now I left option to comment with Google+ account as well but will probably disable it in the near future.

Phra Nang Beach in Thailand

Below image was captured on Phra Nang Beach in southern Thailand.

I really wanted to have sun in a frame but this resulted in some strong lens flare artifacts which ruined the image. So what I had to do was to capture the scene twice: first time as I would normally do and the second time with sun covered by my hand (and that photo didn’t contain any flares because sun was invisible). As this is HDR image, it means that I captured two bracketed sequences (7 photos each), tone-mapped them with the same settings in Photomatix Pro 5 and then blended resulting tone-mapped images in Photoshop to remove the flare. I wrote more about this technique in this tutorial.

I finished the image with ON1 Effects 10 which I start to really like (I hope to write review of this plugin at the beginning of 2016).

Phra Nang Beach (more…)

22 December 2015

New HDR tutorial: Learn how to create realistic HDR photos

Posted in: hdr, photomatix, tutorial|

New HDR tutorial

Here’s a little Christmas gift for all my readers 😉

It’s been several years since I published first version of my HDR tutorial. During that time thousands of photographers have read it (tutorial has around 100.000 views, excluding PDF versions) and learnt my approach to HDR photography. But recently I haven’t done any serious changes to it, just cosmetic corrections.

So for last few months I was working busily on a complete overhaul of it – with new techniques, tips and a lot of new sample photos. I also wanted to update tutorial for new version of Photomatix Pro (5.1), which was released earlier this year.

And I’m happy to announce that this new version is now ready for you to read, below:


Here’s short summary of changes:

  • Completely new section about advanced HDR techniques in which I write a few words for instance about HDR panoramas or long exposure HDR photography,
  • Addition of Sample HDR photos section – if you don’t have bracketed photos yet, you can play with some images taken by me – the list of the available images grows slowly and I hope everyone will find something for himself – check the list from time to time to find new images,
  • Tutorial is now updated for Photomatix Pro 5.1, which is the most recent version,
  • Updated structure of the tutorial, move some sub-sections and paragraphs around,
  • Added tonnes of new tips, definitions and explanations to make HDR tutorial even easier to understand,
  • Minor corrections and updates.

Please also note that it isn’t the end of changes – I intend to add several new things to the tutorial in the few next weeks. Also if there is something you would like to see added, let me know.

I hope you will enjoy this updated version 🙂

Sunset in Warsaw

4 December 2015

Capture One & Photomatix Pro HDR workflow

Posted in: capture one, forest, hdr, landscape, long-exposure, mexico, Photomatix Pro, tutorial|

Capture One & Photomatix Pro HDR workflow

As you probably know I love Photomatix Pro and recently I also felt in love with Phase One Capture One. Before moving to Capture One I used Lightroom and my HDR workflow was simple: select the bracketed images in Lightroom, export them to Photomatix using a plugin, make adjustments in Photomatix, save the image and it would automatically show in Lightroom allowing me to make final adjustments there or send the image to Photoshop for instance.

As much as I like Capture One, it made my HDR workflow a bit more complicated because it doesn’t support plugins (unfortunately just released version 9, hasn’t changed anything in this regard) so it’s not possible to open bracketed images directly in Photomatix from Capture One level. It means different approach is needed and I would like to share my current HDR workflow with you.

Here are main steps:

  1. First I do basic adjustments like lens correction, removing chromatic aberration, white balance or noise reduction in Capture One
  2. I export the images as 16-bit TIFF files to a folder where my source images are stored (of course recipe is needed for that).
  3. I load exported TIFF images to Photomatix and merge them to HDR where I post-process them as I would normally do.
  4. After doing the adjustments in Photomatix I save the image as 16-bit TIFF in the directory where source images are located
  5. I switch back to Capture One. As I saved HDR image in the same directory as source images, it appears there automatically.
    Note: make sure to disable following option in Capture One: main menu View -> Global Filters -> Always Hide Processed TIFF . In my case it was checked by default and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why my tone-mapped images didn’t show in Capture One.
  6. I do fine tuning in Capture One. This includes working on colors and contrast, removing dust spots, local adjustments etc.
  7. If I need more control I export the image from Capture One to Photoshop.

It seems to be quite complicated but apart from steps 2 and 3 it doesn’t differ much from my previous Lightroom workflow. In case of Lightroom these 2 steps were one – export the images from Lightroom to Photomatix and it happened almost automatically, a bit more work is needed here.

Sunset in Mexico

Today I’d like to share long-exposure HDR taken in Mexico in 2014, post-processed in Capture One and Photomatix (yes, above workflow applies here). I really like this silky smooth water. It looks sort of dreamy or painterly.

Sunset in Mexico (more…)

27 November 2015

Photomatix Pro Black Friday Deal

Posted in: hdr, london, long-exposure, photomatix, Photomatix Pro|

Photomatix Pro Black Friday Deal

If you have considered getting yourself Photomatix Pro or Essentials, now might be the best time to purchase it as HDRsoft offers 25% Black Friday deal on its website. To get it:

  1. Visit HDRsoft website.
  2. During check-out use following coupon code to apply your discount: BLF2015

Note: the coupon is valid until 6th of December!

And to get you started with Photomatix, I highly recommend my free HDR tutorial: http://hdr-photographer.com/hdr-tutorial/

Blue hour in London

Today I’d like to share a bit older high dynamic range image taken near Tower Bridge in London. As you can see I wasn’t the only one photographing on that day. Despite most of the photographers already left (many leave as soon as sunset finishes – big mistake!) but there were still a few taking photos.

Blue hour in London (more…)

26 November 2015

Blue and Orange

Posted in: hdr, landscape, reflection, thailand|

As promised I sent new issue of the Newsletter during last weekend. If you would like to get next issue in your email box (which should arrive somewhere in December), make sure to subscribe by leaving your email address in the little form in the right side of this blog.

Blue and Orange

As you probably know intuitively there are certain colour pairs that when used together create very powerful effect, eg. blue & orange, red & green or yellow & violet. These are so called complementary colours – when used next to each other they cancel each other out, creating the strongest contrast for those particular two colors.

I really love using complementary colours in my photos and as I shoot a lot of sunsets most commonly I play with blue & orange. And today I would like to share image featuring these complementary colours. It’s an HDR image from 5 exposures that I took in Thailand earlier this year. I processed this image in Photomatix Pro 5 using my favorite Contrast Optimizer method and then made some fine tuning in Photoshop using a variety of different plugins from Topaz and ON1. Note the gradation of tones – from blue foreground to almost orange sky in the background.

Blue and Orange (more…)