It is very disappointing when you are shooting mixed scenarios where there are dark and light areas all over it. Photos are not right, bright parts are overexposed if you want that the dark ones to appear or dark areas are underexposed because bright parts are looking good. For example a sunset, a moon landscape or even a Christmas tree. Our eyes are used to see in HDR mode but the camera doesn't capture what we see, after all, it is just a sensor.
HDR images are the kind of images that have managed to let you enjoy the dark and bright parts of a scene. They are the product of a post-edition.
In this article, I will explain how to produce an HDR photo taking advance of the AEB capability of modern digital cameras and post-editing with Darktable. Please note I am a Canon user, if I use their terms just translate them to other brands. I am also an open-source advocate myself, do not expect I write for any other commercial proprietary software.
These photos were taken using a Canon 90D using a prime lens 50mm f/1.8. The camera had the D+ enabled (a personal preference; thus, ISO 200 is the minimum I could use). The EXIF information as follows: 1/10s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 200.
One of the most exciting things I think modern photography has is the ability to make special effects thanks to the computer. I have always been fascinated by mixing colour with blank & white elements. So, after giving a fast reading to the Darktable 3.2 manual, I found a way to create the effect I want: blank and white but one colour.
Who doesn't remember that dark scene of the Schindler's List film where a girl in a red jacket is walking. Then a few minutes later, you identify her corpse from a pile of bodies. Well, I will show how to make this happen, but with a more joyful image.
The picture above was taken by me with my Canon 90D in the last Christmas Parade 2020 in my local city. The left picture is the original JPEG from the camera, the middle one is the product of the RAW processed with Darktable and the right one is the same photo with the additional effect of a monochrome photo while keeping red-orange colours. There it is what I did.
(So, this could be a very good week or very bad. My old desktop started to behave very annoyingly, freezing every ten minutes is not the ideal scenario. Happily, I had a spare CPU I was using for Windows applications only, so I decided to take it. Because I have some spare AMD Radeon R9 290 GPUs, I decide to install one of them.
Again, I have been getting into photography so again, processing RAW files with the CPU is not a good idea. Not even if your desktop has twelve cores. So I had had to figure out a way to make it work.
As I had described in the article where I made my discrete NVIDIA work with Darktable, this software needs the IMAGE support. So, the situation is the following:
Here it is what I did to make it work.