When NAB wrapped in April I wanted to take a few days to explore some of the great national parks in the area. So I rented a car and did a small camping road trip through Zion and Bryce Canyon.

The south of Utah is an insanely beautiful assortment of one national park after another, buffered by state parks and national forests. There’s a state park named Kodachrome, after the film stock used to capture its vibrant colors in National Geographic’s first photo series of the location. Plus there’s Arches and Canyonlands, which I had to save for another trip.

While at NAB I caught a bit of a photography workshop that went into HDR. I had written HDR off a while ago as a very specific, over-processed ‘look.’ But the workshop went in to other uses, including more natural looks to get a wider dynamic range but not look over-processed.

So since I was going on my mini-camping road trip to take pictures (something I hadn’t been doing much of in a while), I figured I’d take a lot of bracketed shots to see if I could use HDR to make more dynamic, natural looking pictures.

Using Photomatix, I definitely was not disappointed. It had a variety of ways to blend the images and finely tune the details. It comes with a solid assortment of presets. Plus there even ways to correct for handheld bracketing and ‘ghosting,’ to correct for leaves or other objects naturally moving around during longer exposures.

It also has a great Lightroom workflow that let’s your roundtrip the images you want to merge and bring the final image back to LR.

In this post is the final image from Kolob Canyon in Zion. I’ve including the original bracketed images. I was doing 5 photos for each shot, but the f-stop maxed out at 2.8 for the over exposure images, so I ended up having two of the same shot.

I’ll be posting more final images and bracketed breakdowns in the future.

Kolab Canyon Mashup Bracket

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