Single Image HDR Tip

There are times when the opportunity does not exist for me to set up my tripod to make an HDR image as I usually do. This particular image was taken in Northern Maine while hand holding the camera. This tip is from a chapter in my full length HDR Tutorial, which will be available soon and it will discuss in detail from start to finish as how this image was processed.

This is a quick tip to give an example on how I process a single image.

Image Information:

  • Hand Held
  • 24-105 IS Canon Lens
  • 24mm
  • 1/30sec
  • f/22
  • Exp. Compensation: -1.67

Software Used:

  • Photoshop CS6
  • Photomatix Pro 4.2.3
    If you do not have Photomatix, I strongly recommend it!
    You can purchase Photomatix by following this Link and you can use: “TravelsInPhotography
    as the coupon code to save 15% off of the purchase price!
  • NIK Define 2.0 (Noise Removal)
    I never process an image unless I use a noise removal after processing it in Photomatix
    You can purchase Define 2.0 by following this Link and you can use “TravelsInPhotography
    as the coupon code to save 15% off of the purchase price.
  • NIK Color Efex Pro 4  (Use “TravelsInPhotography“) as your coupon code if you wish to purchase it.
  • Topaz Adjust, Use “TRAVELSINPHOTOGRAPHY” as your coupon code to save 15% off of the purchase price.

Before I bring my image or images into Photomatix I will open them in ACR (camera raw) and do some small noise removal and then save them as a TIFF file from ACR. I do this so when I am finished in Photomatix the file size will remain the same dimensions as the original camera raw file which I will bring back into Photoshop and use the originals as layers to bring out details that I feel are needed.

Here is my original file from ACR:

I only adjust the Noise Reduction by setting all options at 50%
I then save the file or all files as a TIFF as seen from the image below:


My next step is to open Photomatix and load the .TIFF image then select Tone Mapping. Below are the settings I used for this single image:

always try all of the sliders to achieve the look and feel you desire!  I always begin with the default setting unless one of my saved presets will work as a starting point.

I only use Photomatix as my starting point for my images. My average time on each image I process is usually about 3 hours. After saving the image I then open it with photoshop and run my noise reduction first.

This particular image had 43 layers using the plug-ins mentioned above and other layers for dodging, burning, levels, curves… etc…. I also have processed the original image through ACR and then use it as a layer to bring out some details I feel are needed.

Below is my final image:

I hope you find this tip useful and as I mentioned earlier, this is a chapter in my upcoming Tutorial on HDR Processing!


Louis Armstrong ~ What a Beautiful World ~ HD

This Musician Inspires me to go out and capture the Beauty of the World that surrounds us and to enjoy the miracles before us.

This is a High Resolution Video so be sure to watch it full screen and have your headphones on or Speakers….. Enjoy!!

Louis Armstrong.


HDR – The Beauty of Northern Maine

A collection of some of my favorite HDR images from Northern Maine compiled into a Video.
This is a High Resolution video made for full screen viewing and I recommend listening with your earphones or some good speakers! :)

All images can be purchased from FAA.


Horses Back – Workshop on Light and Shadows

Earlier in the year I was giving a workshop on Natural Light with a small group. The setting was in a stable and one horse. It proved to be very entertaining and our guest was extremely friendly to say the least. This was the example I used to inspire the others on using natural light from one window. The results from the group were very creative and refreshing.


Crown of Maine Hot Air Balloon Festival

Spectacular scenes can be seen from the Crown of Maine Balloon Festival which is held once a year in Northern Maine. The scenic views of Hot Air Balloons are quite enchanting. The rivers, forest and untouched nature add to the beauty of this event.


A Foggy Start in Northern Maine with Gary Smith

I am often asked, “What can you photograph in heavy fog“?

Shooting in dense fog can be very challenging and rewarding at the same time. This morning proved to be very challenging since the fog limited your vision to 20′ at best and was even difficult to find a path to walk. I started at 5am and I heard that the sun should be peeking through the heavy cloud cover around 7am and I did not want to miss the opportunity to capture some beauty!

The images below can give you an idea of what heavy fog has to offer a photographer and using objects nearby to compose your image. Learn how to use different settings on your camera to capture scenes such as these!


Tweet Tweet and Think of Me!

After the storm while the sky was beginning to light up from the sun behind the clouds I saw the beauty of this vision and was able to capture it.


After the Storm – Northern Maine

After the storm while the sky was beginning to light up from the sun behind the clouds I saw the beauty of this vision and was able to capture it.


A Rolling Storm

There was a huge storm system moving into the area the other night and I thought I had better take advantage of it.



Deep in the Forest, a hidden path comes to glow and brings warm thoughts to your heart and soul.


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