HDR and Orton Methods

Happy Thursday, all.  I captured this photo at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum in St. Michael’s during a workshop conducted by Joe Rossbach.  The workshop was focused on HDR photography, that is, high dynamic range photography, which involves shooting the exact same image at various exposure levels  and then combining them with software.  The resulting image captures a wider range of light than would be possible using only one image. 

Using a tripod is a must to avoid “ghosting” or having portions of the subject not lined up.  In this case, there was a bit of a breeze, so although I used a tripod, there is some ghosting in the grass, which was moving a bit when I shot, but I am hoping you will agree that this adds to the surreal quality of the image.  For this photo I combined five images with one stop different exposure compensation levels ranging from +2  to -2, keeping my f-stop consistently at f/11 throughout.

I used Photomatix HDR software for this shoot, but there is a wide variety of software out there for you to try with HDR capabilities, including some later versions of Photoshop and an soon to be released program from Nik Software. 

Morning Glows

Morning Glows, 8 x 12 inches
© 2009 Fran Saunders

To add additional interest to this image, I added another photo effect, this time, a method I learned from Tony Sweet, one of my favorite instructors from Better Photo.com and who originally introduced me to HDR photography.    This effect is called the Orton Method and give a bit of  softness and a warm glow to your images.  The result can be very artistic.  Here is how it works in Photoshop:

                1 — Duplicate the layer for flattened image.

                2– Change the mode for the duplicate layer to “screen.”

                3 — Duplicate the original layer again.

                4– On this new layer go to “filter,” then to “blur-Gaussian blur,” and set the blur from 20 to 50.  Click “okay.”  The amount of blur you use is a matter of taste and subject, so experiment.

                5 —  On this blurred layer, change the mode to “multiply.”  You can adjust the opacity of this layer to your liking.

                6 — As a last step use your other Photoshop tools — levels, curves, hue saturation, etc.–until you obtain an image that appeals and then save it, of course!

Try both methods on your own photos and let us know how you like the effects.  If you have any questions about these techniques or my image, do tell!


About Fran Saunders

I am a photographer located on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland, where I live with my husband and my Yellow Lab, Sam.
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