Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Don’t Delete Your Photographs Part II–Ghosts at Damascus Gate

Damascus Gate - No Ghosts

This is the second in a series of posts discussing a few pieces of software that present the opportunity to save photographs you may otherwise decided to discard.  The conclusion resulting from these advancements is to save your photographs (even the flawed ones that hold promise); a software magician is about to make them better.


Damascus Gate - Auto Ghosts

In this post, I focus on Photomatix Pro.   This software package is specialized for processing multiple exposure HDR photography.  Photomatix has always done a fine job of processing HDR photos.  However, until recently it had some difficulties handling “ghosts.”  Ghosts result from people or objects moving  - in other words they show up in a different location in each exposure.  Imagine a three exposure HDR image that has a person walking from left to right through the frame.  When processing the three images, the software is confronted with a person in three different positions…where does the person belong?


Damascus Gate - Ghosts

A recent update to Photomatix Pro went a long way to remedy this by allowing the user to select ghosted areas, then designate which exposure to use for eliminating the ghosts.  The photograph of Damascus Gate (The old city of Jerusalem) featured here is an example.  The first version was processed with the selective ghosting tool.  The next two versions are tighter crops so you can see the differences.  The second version uses the “automatic” deghosting function of Photomatix Pro.  The auto mode was as good as it gets prior to the update unless you went through a good deal of tedious masking in Photoshop.  Finally, the last version shows the same shot with no deghosting.


For my taste, and what I was trying to achieve with this photograph, the second and third versions are unacceptable.  6 months ago, I might have overlooked a photo with such ghosting problems unless the “ghosts” were an interesting part of the composition (see my photograph of the Brooklyn Bridge in a previous post).  With the recent advancements to Photomatix Pro, I can shoot crowds with confidence and know that I will not be spending hours in Photoshop masking out ghosts.


Have fun, and go make some great photography.



1 comment:

  1. Craig,
    This is exactly what I had to do for the final image of Bet Giyorgis Monastery. But there's another consideration regarding ghosting. In color, the abberations around moving objects or figures can be unacceptable. However, in monochrome, ghosting can be interesting if it conveys movement, like motion blur in a slow-shutter speed image. It IS hit or miss. Great post!

    - John