Last year just before Christmas I took a late walk in the streets of Copenhagen with my tripod and my camera. For a long time I stood in front the entrance of the worlds second oldest amusement park: Tivoli.
It’s always incredible busy in in front of Tivoli and I really wanted a shot not too crowded with people, so I had to wait. I think I stood for 20 minutes waiting for the shots with the fewest people and allowing a long peek into the old garden. And this was what I got and I’m pretty happy with it.
However, it’s not perfect. One of the good things about taking several shots as you do in HDR, is that you get several options to merge from. In this case I had 7 different exposures ranging from –3 to +3. The longest exposure is 10 seconds, which is enough to make fast moving people disappear.
Let’s look at the untouched 0-exposureand, and see what immediate problems there is with this image:
#1: They forgot to turn on one torch (or it had blown out, it was quite windy). Fortunately this photo is symmetric, and I can just mirror it to get a torch for the right hand side, and because I have 7 images, I will be able to get a torch that is not an exact mirror of the first one.
#2: The photo is taken on a 14 mm lens, which is extremely wide angled. Things in the corners of a wide angle lens does get warped, and this drum doesn’t look good. I can’t really fix it, without some kind of compromise.
#3: The stars hanging from the roof of the main gate is swinging in the strong wind. By using one of the images with a faster shutter speed, it might be good enough for a fairly sharp star. I did try to take the photos while the wind was less intense.
#4: It’s a busy area and people are moving around. Some blurry people can look quite cool, but others looks bad in the image. The goal is to get leave the cool ones and remove the ugly ones.
#5: Because this shot is shot with a wide angled lens that is tipped slightly upwards, the buildings leans. Sometimes this looks cool, but in this photo it’s not particular flattering. However, I will be in trouble when I start fixing it, because of the drum on the soldier. But more about that later.
Making the tone mapped image
First I merged the 7 shots in Photomatix Pro (by the way I just found out that there is a Photomatix Essentials. As far as I can see this gives you less artistic options, which I really can’t recommend if you want to do more artistic HDR photos).
There is a lot of dynamic light in this photo, because of all of the lights and the really dark sky and shadows. It’s difficult to capture all light, for that reason I shot from –3 to +3.