It was a very tricky lighting situation: harsh light with patches of shadows cutting across the scene. And this took every bit of the 300mm (450mm in 35mm equivalent terms as I was shooting with a cropped frame sensor camera) of my lens to size up the scene. For kicks, I grabbed three bracketed shots in case HDR could rescue the image. Frankly, I didn’t think much about it again.
Enter Nik HDR Efex version 2. When I saw the announcement that my favorite HDR software had been upgraded recently, my immediate thought was: how could they possibly make it better? They did. Here are the details as per Nik (click here). Please note that Nik isn’t a sponsor of 2 Guys Photo. It’s just a program I use and recommend.
Of all the new bits, the one killer feature is ghost control. When you’re shooting for HDR and bracketing multiple shots, sometimes your subject or other components of your composition (leaves on trees when it’s windy, waves on water, etc.) move. The HDR software, and here’s the technical term, freaks out when it has to deal with movement as the blended image has to contain elements of all three or five shots. The weird blending of moving pixels is called ghosting. The newest version of Nik HDR Efex allows you to select one of your images as the reference image. Therefore, all other elements of the composition don’t provide data on the moving pieces for the final blended image. Sounds complicated but it’s ridiculously easy. And what a fantastic feature. Well done, Nik!
The image below shows what happens when the ghost control feature is turned off. That’s HDR the old-fashioned way. But now thanks to Nik, ghosting is a thing of the past.