Australian seascape and landscape photography

Incorporating HDR tonemapping techniques with long exposures

The following images were experiments using HDR tone mapping techniques combined with the effects of long exposure times.
Each image was constructed from at least 3 separate exposures using in-camera auto exposure bracketing. In my case, being a Canon shooter, I used 3 exposures of -2,0 and +2 simply for convenience. I believe Nikon shooters have a bit more flexibility in this area.

The images were all taken during daylight hours so it was necessary to use some heavy ND filtering in order to increase the exposure times and achieve a nice misty look to the water. In my case I used an ND400 and an ND8 filter stacked together to achieve this.

With the camera set to aperture priority mode I adjusted the aperture and filter combination (sometimes removing the ND8) to achieve an exposure of 8 seconds. When the shutter button is depressed the camera would then give me 3 exposures at 8 seconds, 2 seconds and 30 seconds (which is close enough to 0,-2 and +2). My particular camera doesn’t let me expose for longer than 30 seconds unless I go to bulb mode and use a remote timer, so out of laziness I tend to limit many of my exposures to 30 seconds. 🙂
The exposures were then combined and tonemapped using HDR software and tweaked in Photoshop to achieve the end result.

Despite all of this sounding a bit technical it’s really quite simple and I encourage you to try it. The results are often very rewarding.

BELOW – Jurassic Afternoon – Sunlight and waves break through a slit in the prehistoric Pinnacles rock formation on Phillip Island.

BELOW – The Mist of St.Pauls – A long exposure at St. Pauls beach, Sorrento, Victoria, Australia.

BELOW – Prehistoria – An image from The Pinnacles, at Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia.

BELOW – Swimming with Dinosaurs – Down amongst the prehistoric Pinnacles rock formations at Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia.

3 responses

  1. navshah

    Great technique.. really helpful.. thanks

    March 22, 2010 at 12:45 am

  2. chloe

    i just stumbled across your blog as i put together my 2011 list of ‘places to visit with my camera’
    the pinnnacles look fantastic, i’m putting it on my list

    your photos are stunning

    December 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    • Hi Chloe,
      Many thanks for your kind words.
      I’ve since returned to the Pinnacles for another photographically rewarding visit but haven’t posted the images yet.
      I can be a lazy bugger sometimes. 🙂

      I highly recommend the Pinnacles trip. It’s an extraordinary piece of coastline.


      December 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm

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