Sunday, February 15, 2015

New Tutorial series on Extending Dynamic Range

Sean Bagshaw has a new video tutorial series on various post-processing techniques for dealing with extended dynamic range, or extreme tonal contrast, in digital images. These are images where the range between extreme light tones and extreme dark tones exceeds the ability of digital hardware to capture (camera) or represent (monitor or printer). In the film era, the photographer would have to choose whether to capture the brighter tones of a scene and allow the shadows to go dark, or to expose for shadow detail and overexpose the highlights. While digital cameras also capture a limited range of tones, there are a variety of ways to deal with this dilemma when processing digital images.

Sean is an excellent teacher, offering crystal clear explanations and easy-to-follow examples of when, why, and how to use these sophisticated techniques. He’s focusing here on developing raw images to maximize the dynamic range in single image captures, photoshop techniques for taming highlights and bringing out shadow detail while maintaining local contrast, and in case of extreme dynamic range blending multiple exposures into one image that more closely resembles the range of tones we might have seen with our our own eyes. In some of these tutorials, Sean makes use of Tony Kuyper’s luminance masking techniques to target specific tonal ranges for adjustment or blending.

I benefited a lot from the first version of this tutorial set, and the second version is even more comprehensive. Since my post-processing skills get a little rusty when I’ve been preoccupied with other things, I’m really enjoying going through these tutorials as a refresher.