February 8th – Gonna get the good times rolling

Bowling Balls HDR

Another family birthday party, another visit to a bowling alley.

It’s almost becoming a family tradition, but face it – it’s hard to have a bad time smashing down tenpins, and the modern day bowling alley is equipped to ensure pins go down.

This photo is another HDR, and in this instance has really brought out the dark contrasts in the bowling balls. Also of note is the light reflection in the red ball on the bottom rack.

To do this, I set the camera to take a bracket of 4 photo’s at f7.1. The camera then collect the images, ranging from .5 of a second (under-exposed) to 8 seconds (over-exposed). (Note – this is the work of Magic Lantern on my 550D, newer cameras likely have an HDR function).

The rest was up to Photomatix Pro.

It sounds like a lot of fiddling, but the benefit with Photomatix Pro is the plug-in, meaning you don’t have to launch any other software, then hunt back to find the 4 photo’s.

For balance, here’s a copy of the same photo that I processed in Aperture.

Bowling Balls

To get anywhere near the effect, I had really push the contrast and mid-contrast controls to freak-out levels, but the deep contrasts in the bowling balls cannot be recreated.


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