HDR is a technology that has existed for more than a year and is an adaptation of the image to the peculiarities of our eyes (the eye never sees the whole image, but “scans” its individual segments, setting the exposure for lighting, and displays those pieces that we don’t see from memory) , it brightens too contrasting scenes so that there are no too bright and too dark zones. This is usually demanded mainly in landscape photography, when it is necessary to level the earth and the sky (between them even in cloudy weather, the difference in illumination is not less than one step, and even then, if you shoot in direct light) or in rooms with poor lighting and bright light rays going from stained glass windows. The latter, in particular, is especially applicable to old temples and cathedrals – they used to be designed to be lit by natural light, and then no one thought about photographers … they simply were not there at the time of construction.
Why and in general to glue HDR panoramas?
Today, HDR is one of the stages of development for almost any techie photographer and for most of the rest: a person begins to get involved in it when he already knows the capabilities of the camera itself and even learned to take a little. However, no, someone begins to glue panoramas before HDR: today these two fundamentally different technologies have become much closer than they were five years ago. However, a program that would directly create HDR panoramas has not yet been released, at least normal. No, of course, if you shoot a panorama from a large number of frames, some of which fall only in the sky, and some only on the ground (in the landscape, of course), you will end up with HDR. However, as any fan of technology will tell you, this is not pure HDR – by and large, this is complete nonsense, because what difference does it make if the result is clean or not. On the other hand, there are intersection points of technologies: both of them are used both in the landscape and in the shooting of interiors, so why not use both to their advantage.
If this is not your first time on this site, you probably have already read an article about creating HDR in general, about imitating HDR, about working with the HDR plugin Efex Pro (which, in our humble opinion, is functionally better than the famous Photomatix), as well as about creating panoramas in the PTgui program . These are the programs that we use ourselves and which we can therefore recommend – but this does not mean that others are worse. Usually, for a driver, the road that is familiar is shorter than that.
One important point to make about interfaces. The drawback of many modern packages is that programs are written under computer control standards that were adopted in the last century – today it is somehow customary to be closer to a person, and the photographer is far from an exception. That is why we make them, starting with the cataloger-converter, that is, Adobe Lightroom – there it is very simple not only to select photos, but also to manage them, sending them to various applications and returning back. For our purposes, three programs are needed:
editor (you can combine it with the organizer) – this function is performed by Lightroom
program for gluing HDR (Photomatix and HDR Efex are today released as plugins for Lightroom, which is a plus)
a program for gluing panoramas (unfortunately, of the available Lightroom plug-ins there is only Photoshop – far from the best solution for panoramic gluing, but sometimes it can also save) – we chose the same PTgui
We remove, convert, prepare for gluing
We talked about the features of shooting under HDR in an article on HDR, so we will only briefly repeat: a frame with bracketing is taken, which gives the maximum spread: in most cases, it is 3 frames with a step of 2 steps (that is, we get a gain of 4) that we will do. If you can configure, it makes sense to take at least 7 frames in increments of 1 step, and it will be much better. The ideal is a tripod and low sensitivity, but the Czechs don’t want to let the St. Vitus Cathedral with tripods and, by the way, they’re doing it right, otherwise there would have been no rest from photographers even in the fall. As a result, I had to shoot with high ISO and a moderately open aperture with focus on hyperfocal distance (parameter taken from the head).
The peculiarity of gluing panoramas says that it is necessary to shoot a series of frames “overlap” with an overlap of at least 20%, so that later the program would be easier to glue. To combine the two processes, we combine shooting methods: in my case, it was necessary (from my head at the time of shooting, I was shooting in the temple) to take a vertical panorama of 3 frames. Multiply one by the other, it turns out 9: 3 different “frames” of 3 takes with bracketing.
Pictures were brought from the Czech Republic and, together with a couple of thousand frames, were uploaded to the new Lightroom catalog with the corresponding name. Why I do it this way can be read in a separate article, then sorted and selected. Photos for further processing in external programs, such as HDR or panoramic software, it makes sense to mark with colored tags, which I do.