Picture of the Day : Tonemap Your Way Out of the Forest

A tone mapped forest scene used to demonstrate the effect of tone mapping software by Chris Gardiner Photography www.cgardiner.ca
Tonemapped Forest Scene
Tone mapping is an acquired taste. I often don't love the finished product it will deliver, but every now and then it does a better job than any other method you have used to transcribe the scene before you.

It helped for this forest scene because the early afternoon sun was burning onto the ground while my shadow areas lacked any detail whatsoever.

Learn a bit more about HDR and tone mapping below;

This is what the scene looks like without tone mapping as the other image. Before after, Chris Gardiner Photography www.cgardiner.ca
This is what the original scene looked like at a neutral exposure.
As you can see from the original image above, the sandy gravel path was blown out, as were some tree branches down the trail. Not what I was going for when I shot it.

Tone mapping can take some of the work out of compressing a scene to fit and display on your camera's sensor.  Usually a photographer will capture two, three, five, or more images that will be delivered to a specialized computer program that 'maps' out the tonal values at each pixel location, and then compresses the dynamic range of contrast within the multiple images, and then re-renders it with a smooth tonal gradation from shadows to highlights.

Shooting a lot of landscapes, I sometimes bracket my exposures just to make sure I have some good shadow pixels to use later if need be, but these bracketed exposures rarely make it to a tone-mapping phase.

If you like the look of HDR and tone-mapped images, you may want to check out two great and easy to use computer programs that de-mystify the whole process;

HDR Efex



You can also check out my blog post from 2010 about HDR tone mapping process, or the alternative which is masterful use of optical filters, via this blog post here.

Have fun and thanks for reading!

Where was this photo taken?

Just outside of Tobermory, Ontario on the Bruce Trail in October 2013.
Canon EOS 50D on a tripod, remote trigger, and a 24-105 f/4L lens.

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