Monthly Archives: August 2015

Images: The Panticosa Valley

More infrared panoramas of the Panticosa mountains and area. All captured with the full-spectrum Olympus M5 and lens filters.Multiple images stitched together using Adobe PhotoMerge.

Ibon de Sabocos using a BG3 mixed IR and UV filter.

Ibon de Sabacos – BG3

Ibon de Ibones also using a Schott BG3 filter.

Ibon de Ibones 2 - BG3

Ibon de Ibones 2 – BG3

Also using my son and a 590nm filter

Ibon de Ibones 5 - 590

Ibon de Ibones 5 – 590

The valley in BG3.

Panticosa Valley 11 - BG3

Panticosa Valley 11 – BG3



Panticosa Valley 10 – BG3

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Howto: Using HDR

I thought it worth putting down how I use HDR and some examples using mixed IR and UV images, from a Schott BG3 filter.

First thing is that if I don’t need it, the exposure range in the image is quite small, then I don’t use HDR – if playing with lights, darks, highlights and shadows get the detail and image right, great. Everything has a cost and HDR processing induces noise and can burn out highlights; so if I don’t need it, I don’t use it.

If the image does have a wide exposure range, mixing some really dark and some really light areas, then I will test to see if it helps with the overall image.

Just in case, I commonly take three bracketed RAW shots with the camera – one as the standard average, one at +1EV and one at -1EV. I would like to do three at +/-2EV but my Olympus cameras are limited to just +/-1, but it is sufficient. I shoot only three varied images, when handheld, as I want to limit as much movement as possible in the images.

I am happy to adjust a RAW image from my Olympus by 2 stops (2EV); meaning that I can get, by adjusting the two outer images (the under-exposed and over-exposed ones) by 2 stops, an overall range of 6 stops:

  • Bracketed -1 on the camera, -2 further darkened in Lightroom = 3 stops under-exposed
  • Middle = Average matrix exposure
  • Bracketed +1 on the camera, +2 further lightened in Lightroom = 3 stops over-exposed

Importantly I don’t always adjust the outer images, it is just an option there if needed. I think a very important principle of HDR is to use the exposure range that is needed for that image, rather than any set formula. Often a 2 stop range is enough and can sometimes even be too much.

The key part of my process is to then adjust the exposure of each image starting with the outer images (the over and under-exposed ones) and change the exposure so that on the over-exposed one, the darkest element of the image that I care about is visible. I do this by using the exposure slider to first darken the over-exposed image, to identify the darkest element I want to see detail on, and then sliding the exposure up to the maximum point to see the detail on that element. I then reverse the process on the under-exposed one, finding the brightest point and then darkening it enough to get the detail.

Here are three bracketed shots off the camera at +/-1EV and then tweaked a little further


=0 (average)

-1 under exposed

-1.5 under-exposed

+1 over exposed

+1.3 over-exposed

This then produced, using Photomatix as a Lightroom plug-in, the following HDR composite image (note: I have gone for more tonal differences than strong HDR)


HDR Output

HDR invariably introduces some noise, so I denoise all my HDR composite images; either using Topaz or Nik Define.  With some final desaturation of the overly strong green (common with the BG3 filter), and output sharpening, the image is finalised:


Final sharpened

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Images: Little Artouste train

Looks like the tourist train on Mars, but it is actually the little train at Artouste, in the French Pyrenees. If you are ever in the area, it is worth searching out and riding, as Europe’s highest operated train.

A channel-swapped 590nm image.

Little Artouste train - 590

Little Artouste train – 590

The pre channel-swapped image:

Little Artouste Train (pre-CS) - 590

Little Artouste Train (pre-CS) – 590

Tracks on the mountain - 590

Tracks on the mountain – 590

Link to train service: Little Artouste Train

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Images: Ibon de Asnos, Panticosa

Ibon de Asnos, Panticosa (Pyrenees), Northern Spain.

Reflections on still water always make for a good photograph and the exotic BG3 bandpass filter, mixing UV and IR, works well in these situations, especially where there is a strong blue sky.

Ibon de Asnos - BG3

Ibon de Asnos – BG3

An 8 image panoramic:

Ibon de Asnos 2 - BG3

Ibon de Asnos 2 – BG3

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Images: Bathing off the steps

Swimming and bathing of the harbour steps. Channel-swapped 590nm image from a full-spectrum Olympus M5 with a 590nm lens filter. The red has been hue-shifted to yellow/orange in Lightroom and the curve stroked to increase the darker tones of the image.

Bathing off the steps - 590

Bathing off the steps – 590

The pre channel-swapped image:

Bathing off the steps (pre-CS) - 590

Bathing off the steps (pre-CS) – 590

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