In my email this morning was a notice from Adobe that they have released Photoshop Elements 11. This is a nice upgrade from 10 and worth getting if you want to do some more advanced HDR photography and not go whole hog with the full, and expensive, Photoshop CS6.
You can buy Photoshop Elements 11 for either Windows or Mac computers. It sports a clean new refreshed user interface featuring the same engine as the full version of Adobe Photoshop. So you can do things with Elements , such as manual de-ghosting your HDR work, as easily as with Photoshop CS6 and a whole bunch cheaper. It also extends a helping hand to newbies with Quick, Guided, and Expert editing modes and a number of one click options. Users can organize photos based on people, places, or events. That’s always a fun way to explore your photos. The new Guided Edits allows you to make cool professional-level effects like tilt-shift, vignettes, and other effects easily. Photoshop Elements 11 also has new filters, including comic, graphic novel, and pen & ink. I would recommend it to work with the Photomatix merge-to-32-bit plugin, especially for de-ghosting, but also for having a full set of tools for wherever your HDR photography work needs to go in your creative process.
Be sure to ALSO read my more recent post, “Should I Use Photoshop Elements 11 for HDR PHOTOGRAPHY?”
Shooting scenes like this requires different camera settings than the usual for me. Since 90 percent of my work is HDR, I’m in aperture priority mode for those. When I’m in a moving vehicle HDR isn’t possible and camera shake is the factor to minimize. So the obvious thing to do is increase the shutter speed. For shooting from a car I shift my camera into shutter priority mode. To completely eliminate blur in shots from a car qI’ve found that I want to be able to shoot at 1/1000 second minimum and I also want to be as close to f8 as possible, to take advantage of the sharpness of the lens at that aperture. The ISO I leave at 200 and take a sample shot while rolling down the road to see if anything needs adjusting or if I’m good to go.
It was a very bright day and I found from taking a test shot that 1/1000 second turned out to be a little too slow. I knew this because the aperture was down in the 5-something range. I could have left it there but I upped the shutter speed to 1/1600 second and take another shot. The camera computed f7.1 so I’m okay with that. As long as the light doesn’t change drastically all I have to do is find scenes to photograph without worrying about camera setting any longer, knowing that the fast shutter speed will pretty much eliminate shake in the image.
Now the only trick to to be able to anticipate scenes. They come and go quickly. Look ahead down the road and shoot early & often. There will be some good ones among the mostly bad ones. Even though I’m busy taking photos, I’m also very present to the countryside and actually am more engaged with where I am than if I were to space out or nap while driving from one place to another.