A couple weeks ago in my blog post we talked about the not-yet-released Photomatix, Merge to 32 Bit, Lightroom HDR plugin and how super cool it will make our HDR photo processing. Then I got sidetracked on a road trip photographing in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. While I was gone the good people at HDRSoft released the new HDR software Lightroom plugin and it is just as cool as I promised you it would be!
To recap slightly; my goal is to teach beginning HDR photographers how to make really great HDR images both inexpensively and easily. With the release of the Photomatix Merge to 32 Bit Lightroom plugin it’s now possible to get all the softweare you need for only $128! This includes Adobe LIghtroom 4.1, which is still on sale through through August 31, 2012 for only $99 and the new Merge to 32 bit plugin for $29. Actually you can get the plugin for less than that (15% off) if you enter my coupon code “PerfectHDR” at checkout.
Here’s now it simplifies my workflow and really makes the post processing of HDR simpler than it’s ever been! The old way of exporting your bracketed photos from Lightroom 4.1 into Photomatix Pro for merging and tone mapping, then re-importing into Lightroom has gotten much simpler. Not only has it gotten simpler but now there is none of the complicated fiddling with those arcane sliders to adjust the look of your HDR image. It’s those sliders where almost ALL HDR photographers, including myself, have gone so devilishly wrong. Those adjustments can be very tempting to us to push a little too far with our artistic expression and end up with just crappy looking HDR with gross halos, over saturated and basically over-cooked HDR. You’ve seen them online and they are still getting produced everyday by photographers who are either new to HDR and haven’t mastered the subtleties of tPhotomatix Pro or just don’t have an eye for what’s good and what would be better left in the recycle bin.
Now, with the new HDR software plugin all we have to do is select the bracketed photos, right click and select “merge to 32 bit” in the contextual menu, and the merging takes place invisibly along with automatically stacking the new HDR Tiff file right alongside your bracketed photos inside of Lightroom! Easy Peezy! From there you can use the develop module normally to lovingly create your HDR masterpiece. You will not end up with any halo problems or the other common transgressions in HDR photo processing!
So, that’s a nutshell overview of what it’s all about. HDR isn’t really all that hard anymore with the right combination of software. If you already own Lightroom 4 then you can get the Merge-To-32-Bit plugin for Windows or Mac right here. Don’t forget to enter the coupon code “PerfectHDR” to save 15%.
For more advanced HDR photographers who really want all the features & flexibility of the full Photomatix Pro 4 as well as this new plugin, you can save 15% off the $119 price with the same coupon code, “PerfectHDR”, and buy the Photomatix Pro Bundle for Windows or for Mac. Then you’ll have it all… and I’ll be posting a more detailed workflow of just HOW to use this great combo of software in the near future. Meanwhile, play with it gleefully!
Also, please read this post, Making Stunning HDR Photos with Lightroom 4 and Photomatix Pro, which tells a lot more about using this plugin with Lightroom. It also has the info on how to buy LIghtroom 4 at a 15% discount. That discount from Adobe is only good through August 31st so time is getting short for this great deal. The coupon code in in that post.
In 1915, San Diego hosted the Panana-Pacific Exposition to celebrate the opening of the Panama canal. All the buildings here at Balboa Park were constructed for the expo and the architecture throughout is stunning! I photographed here all afternoon during my beach vacation to Carlsbad last month. There are spires, courtyards, arches, ponds, fountains everywhere and it’s all in this Spanish motif. The grounds are so very well cared-for so when I noticed this stray vine, seemingly out of place like the cowlick sticking up from the back of Alfalfa’s head, it became the subject for this photo.