Filter vs Brackets

Photographers are often faced with a choice to make. It might be aperture or shutter speed, or it can be something out of the hypothetical ballpark.

In this photograph I was faced with the choice of capturing it using neutral density filters or simply bracketing into a HDR. I decided on the HDR route so I could travel lighter than normal.

Filters vs BracketsAs you can see, I was able to get the sky to become nearly black and still keep the texture and tone of the beautiful building.

This was made using 3 bracketed photographs at 1 stop increments. I then used the Merge to 32bit plugin from Photomatix (save 15% off using the coupon code ScottWyden15) within Adobe Lightroom. This enabled me to have complete control over the merged HDR with the most realistic processing result and still have the advantage of Lightroom edits.

This is actually one of the 3 reasons why Matt Kloskowski says he doesn’t use a graduated neutral density filter.

In this case I agree with Matt because filters were not necessary. However, in other cases I disagree. I will talk more about that in another article later on.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Looks good Scott. I’ve never seen that Merge to 32bit plugin before. Do you do all the rest of the editing in LR after the merge is complete? Or do you have to use another tool to do the tonemapping?

    1. Hey Sean,

      I actually use the Merge to 32bit plugin more than any other HDR software now. Because it brings in the 32bit TIF file right into Lightroom for editing. Lightroom has more flexibility editing the 32bit file over standard files. So the plugin creates a basic flat tonemapped image using Photomatix (although you don’t see it being done). Then you do the rest of the editing right inside Lightroom.

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