Hey everyone! With all of the outpouring of creativity over on the blog over the last couple of days, I figured it’d be a good idea if I just tipped my hand and actually showed how -I- was working with the HDR image that started the entire contest. The tutorial is listed at the link below. Keep in mind that this is a bit of a longer one- about 23 minutes. In it I talk about a couple of things that I think make a successful HDR piece – working Photomatix as much as possible for tone, and finishing in Photoshop. I go over some quick tips on what to do with some problem spots and how to use Photoshop to solve for them.

Click here to go straight to the tutorial.

It’s funny though. Seems like this week we got hit with a touch of the HDR conversation. First I posted this contest for 1 Shot HDR images because of the picture that Brad brought me. Then Dave Cross had a lively discussion on the matter. Today, Scott Kelby also contributed to the topic, sparking another lively discussion on the topic. It’s becoming one of those things that’s as charged as PC Vs. Mac – Nikon vs. Canon – Raw vs. JPG. Check out the comments to see how spirited it can get. :)

Hilton President - Kansas City - HDR

At the end of the day, I have to say I truthfully don’t care. Over the last couple of months I started exploring the technique as a way to keep me doing something when I was on the road, and I like what the technique has done for me, in terms of re-exploring Photoshop. Sometimes you get into a “I do the same 5 things” rut. Looking at what I -could- be doing with my images from an artistic point of view has let me take the tools I work with and just re-examine them. I’ve been playing around them enough that they’ve even creeped into my own portfolio of work. That, and I get to make something I think looks pretty cool. I’m game. In the end, I feel that it’s an art technique that you can use with varying degrees of results. Yes, there is a technical backend to it, and yes I understand the technical nuances. At the core, I feel like I am part photographer, part software technician, so the melding of the two suits me just fine. I just don’t care to argue the technicality when I could be out shooting and making something.

Let’s hope you guys do the same!

Share & Enjoy


  1. Phillip Jacobs (Reply) on Monday February 15, 2010

    RC – I completely agree with your points. If someone isn’t a fan of HDR and wants to run it down then no problem. Personally I love to checkout images of HDR done right. But when it’s bad it is really bad!

  2. GusDoeMatik (Reply) on Monday February 15, 2010

    Btw RC- I just came from your website and I’m loving the HDR work you have posted… It’s an inspiration.. Keep up the good work..

  3. [...] an in-depth tutorial on the creation of and HDR image check out “My Deconstruction of the HDR image” by RC [...]

  4. John E Adams (Reply) on Monday February 15, 2010

    A very nice insight and overview on the tutorial. I sure could have used this a while ago – just stumbled on many of the techniques and processes you stress/show by accident -;0)

    Love the lobby shot above it is just gorgeous.

    I don’t debate or contemplate the hdr definition anymore – having too much fun to worry much about such things!



  5. RC (Reply) on Monday February 15, 2010

    In Photoshop, you can pull and push the image a fair bit, but I think its what the Photomatix program does in terms of Tonemapping that really gets the textures and depth out of the image. For me, I can get some real nice textures out of Photomatix – more than I can get with Photoshop. Once I get the tone out – I can massage the color in Photoshop.

    Another thing: This is a tutorial how to ‘make due’ with one image for an HDR. In that, we were experimenting to see what -Photomatix- could do with it from an HDR POV.

    Hey.. im always welcome to see what you can get out of any program. If you think you can do the same thing with Photoshop, have at it!

    Go to the link below to download the source image:

    Once you have it, play with it in Photoshop and tell me if you can get the same results… To be honest I doubt it.


  6. Steve Von Bokern (Reply) on Monday February 15, 2010

    There should be another name used for what programs like Photomatix do. It is really not HDR since you can get the same results with a single image. You can generally get the same results with tome mapping the middle exposure as you can merging multiple exposures and tone mapping.

  7. mikaa (Reply) on Monday February 15, 2010

    verry nice video, it’s helpfull for anyone that would like to learn some more on HDR see also : http://www.photoserge.com
    verry good cite to learn some on HDR, nice work by the way, i like the result
    good luck !!

  8. Theresa Jackson (Reply) on Monday February 15, 2010

    RC, I love the way you approach Photomatix as a tool to pull out nice textures and details in a picture. You tweeted that you went back and re shot this scene. I’m curious if you bracketed your shots on the revisit and what kind of different results you may have gotten from that. Obviously lighting and weather are never the same but still wondering if maybe you could pull more detail out of the building and the windows.

Planet Photoshop Photoshop World KelbyOne Lightroom Killer Tips Scott Kelby