My First Decent HDR Image

I’m reviewing some new software that, for the first time in my opinion, puts quality HDR images within reach for average users. The problem I’ve seen with other HDR software is that it either produces awful, garish images, or requires an engineering degree to figure out. I’ve never found HDR software that I found both powerful and easy to use until: HDR Efex Pro really brings the elements together. It’s not exactly cheap ($159.95 USD), but it’s within the realm of what most photography buffs should be willing to pay for quality software.

The above image is available as desktop wallpaper for 16:9 monitors or 4:3 monitors. It was taken at Lighthouse Cove, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada in early September 2010.

UPDATE: Thanks to some good advice from a photography friend, I’ve tweaked the image and I think it’s better. Enjoy!

  • marlof

    That's funny: yesterday I was messing around with HDR Efex Pro as well. I'm not a HDR fan, but I do want to keep up with developments. A tip: HDR Efex Pro is also available in a suite for $299, with all other Nik Software products. I'm especially fond of Silver Efex Pro (standalone $199), in my opinion the best software to creat B&W images.

    On your image: a fascinating place. The HDR effect works in this type of image.

    Some small remarks: your horizon is not level (slanted to the left), and I have the feeling that your lighthouse is going to fall off the cliff. This might have something to do with the image not being level, but also with perspective distortion in using a wide angle. I don't know if the lighthouse stood like the tower of Pisa, but if it didn't you might want to do try your hand at perspective correction. It's a one slide affair in Lightroom, or in the very affordable PT Lens.

  • Thanks for the constructive criticism Marlof! You're 100% right, I didn't correct the distortion, or even level the horizon…in fact, I skipped over processing the image entirely just so I could play in the HDR software. Whoops! A good reminder to never skip the basics of working your image just because there's a flashy tool that has some nice gee-whiz effects. 🙂 I'll fix and re-post the image…

  • Jason, I hold my hand up to you. You know how to take a great picture indeed. Was looking through the other pics, and they are great too. Keep up the good work 🙂 Paul