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I’ve again stumbled upon someone claiming that one Raw is as good if not better then bracketing when making a HDR image…
Thought I’d debunk this ones and for all.

This is the bracket I used in this example, it’s from -4 ev to +4 ev, 9 exposures.

Out of those 9 exposures I made this HDR in Photomatix Pro 4. There are virtually no clipping just some pixels directly in the sun.

This is the middle (0 ev) Raw file.

This is the HDR from a single Raw file, using the same settings as in the above, both the white and black end are clipped, there are lots of noise and loss of detail. The shadow areas that are without details are turning grey because of the tonemapping tries to compensate for black, it could be pulled down but that wouldn’t change the amount actual dynamic range, just make it harder to see.

And finally this is the middle exposure Raw file converted without ever going to HDR, but using every slider in my raw converter to pull out every last bit of information. There are clipping in both highlight and shadow and excessive amounts of noise, but to my surprise, the detail in the shadow area are greater then the single Raw HDR.

Still, the dynamic range in this is no where near what it is in the multiple exposure version. There are times when using one single Raw file is the way to go, for example if you have moving targets, but generally bracketing gives you a wider dynamic range with much less noise.

If a picture really says more then a thousand words, here’s a 2000+ word essay about my thoughts on Photoshop…



We had another night of massive thunder and this time I didn’t (almost) get hit by it but instead took some photos… Normally I get 2-3 lightning exposures when I go storm-hunting, this time I got 26 frames..!

I developed the best one (in my opinion) spent a few hours on it, mostly color and contrast work and uploaded it to flickr. I noticed that they asked for pictures of the storm on the local newspaper, I don’t agree with their agreement for uploading photos (they take all the rights from you practically) so I put a link to flickr, no problemos…

Some guy (I assume) with the handle “Winnie the Pooh” said: “Nice picture Jonas, but everyone can use photoshop you should not over-do it.”

This bothers me… the Pooh guy is probably just some 14 years old TWAT that lives to put others down, but it still made me think… Does photo-muggles (non-photographer people) think that Photoshop is cheating or something..?! I have met quite many famous photographers while studying photography, I know how religious they are on the post processing, people can spend a whole day working on the same image on machines that doesn’t lag, so far I know of only one pro that doesn’t photoshop, or so he claims anyway…

I think that if you add things to the photo, or remove things, and try to pass it off as an unmanipulated photo, that is cheating, but if you always just take what the camera produces without working on it, that is lazy… The photograph is just a medium, people are not accusing painters or musicians of manipulating the reality…

So did I over-photoshop it..?