5100 Doing HDR

There are two things I have to try out, you know the first, that is the Nikon 5100 DSLR, and the other is the HDR Efex Pro 2 software from Nik Software.  I have been playing with the HDR software, but only a little.  I decided today to take some still life images with the 5100 and then process them with the HDR software.

I wasn’t totally sure how to take bracketed shots, but I used the exposure button, did one at the correct exposure, then one at -1 and a third at +1.  I could have gone further, but I wanted to see what the results were like with those first.

This image was taken in my kitchen with the dead roses that I have.  Roses can go really lovely after the water in the vase has dried up and they are just left.

As stated earlier, this is done with three images and was processed in Photomatix Pro.  I wanted you to see an image processed in Photomatix, then you can compare the software.  I have done nothing else to the image.

This image has been processed with the same three images, but with HDR Efex Pro 2.  It is different, but not a lot.  I was quite surprised.  I haven’t really taken enough notice of what the software can do.  You can do a lot to it when you are processing it.  You can change the depth of field, that has to be good.  There are sliders for contrast, structure and many other things.  It could be really good.

I like both images for different reasons.  I should do more of these, and I think I will next week.

The Nikon 5100 was great to use for these photos.  I had no trouble working out the controls and changing the exposures for each image.  You would have to use a tripod to do it, though, I should work out if there is a setting to take bracketed shots automatically.

One of the settings that I thought that would be perfect to use for this still life set up was macro.  I put the camera on it and took this image.

This is the macro image straight from the camera.  I have done no processing to it.

I have changed the levels and curves on this, but nothing else.  Changing those has helped the image a lot.  It seems clearer.

Though I do like the macro setting and was really surprised with it.  I would like to play with it more.  The flash coming up automatically was a little annoying, and I had to work out how to turn it off.  Again, it didn’t take too long to work it out.  It was fun.

A friend asked me about it the other night, I said it would be perfect for someone like him, someone who wants to get back into photography.  It would also be a great camera for someone to learn photography with.  I am looking forward to seeing what else it can do.

I had a request, the backdrops that I use on the still life images I have painted myself, and I have been asked to show how I do them.  It is an interesting idea, so I might look into showing you how to do your own backdrops.  I hope you won’t mind.


I have been nominated for some more awards.  I have received 3 nominations for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  That is so great, so please go and check out the blogs of those that have nominated me.

Living and Lovin


Sylvie’s Fashion Secrets

From Hoof Beats and Foot Prints I have been nominated for the

Blogger of the Year Award

I would like to thank all of them for the lovely honour of being nominated.  Thank you.


  1. I sure love your work. I love the clarity of how your photos look. thank you for sharing and also I appreciate that you come by and visit my blog too. Alesia

  2. Although I’m not a great fan of HDR, it seems to work here. HDR efex seems to work a little more subtle than Photomatix, which is better to my taste.
    Thanks for trying and sharing

    • I can understand that, not everyone loves HDR, I think it has it’s place, but it is nice working on single images from time to time as well. I like the effect of HDR Efex here as well. Thank you Johan

  3. I have the D5100 and fall in to your “getting back into photography” category. I must say that it is a sweet camera and you can do a lot without much post. The her function of the camera does a pretty good job although it is annoying that irony stays active for one photo. The auto bracketing can be set for your +-1 pretty easily through the menu and away you go. I have been playing with trying to get the best pics without post processing with mixed success. I do like what you you have done here with the curves though. I must say that’s am enjoying your blog immensely. Cheers

    • Thank you Bruce, I must check that out on the camera for the weekend. I was told it could do bracketed shots, so will look into how it does it. It is a nice camera. I have enjoyed using it. That is a lovely thing to say about my blog, thank you.

  4. Really interesting images. Like a previous commentator says the roses remind us of our own perishability and you are right, they do have a certain beauty.


  5. great capture with good sharpness. I actually love the lighting that you considered here, instead of having a gloomy and dark feel you chose some good uniform light source. Great job!!!

    • Thank you Naresh, I choose my kitchen for these, I haven’t done any there before. Late in the day the lighting there can be quite good.

  6. WOW! These are amazing photographs dear Leanne, fascinated me. As if I can pick up one of them… so beautiful. so beautiful. I haven’t known yet about HDR but seems that is is great. Thank you for sharing with us and also giving all these informations. I love your posts always. Congratulations too, you deserved. Blessing and Happiness, love, nia

    • Thank you so much Nia, I am so glad you liked all the images, I really love my dead roses, I must do more photos of them, I need some good sunny days.

  7. I rarely use the flash and find it a little annoying that it pops up automatically with my new Nikon. I’m trying to get in the habit of switching it off when I turn it on. It’s lucky it’s easy to do.

    Congratulations on the award nominations. You deserve them.

    • If you have a DSLR then you should be able to turn it off so you don’t have to do that, I would that annoying. Like you, I am not a big fan of flash,
      Thank you so much.

  8. HDR isn’t for every image just as B&W doesn’t work for all either. HDR can be interesting and fun. There are lots of opinions out there regarding HDR; I’ve seen and done a range HDR – from freaky color to subtle effects. I tend to now reside on the subtle end of things (after much exploration of the limits). I really like how you can achieve a fuller tonal range in challenging lighting situations.

    • I think I agree with almost all of this, or all of this, I do like HDR, but I like it to be natural, when I look at some of the stuff I did early on, I cringe. Thanks Dan.

  9. Mind? Why would I mind?
    Oh, wait – I’m the one who asked, right? ;)
    Love the dried roses, especially the color and detail in the enhanced macro.

  10. I’ve had some luck with Creating HDR images via Photoshop using 3 images. But then I found a Photoshop/Elements plugin – ReDynamix that will create an HDR like image from one photo, it works rather well, very easy controls for adjustments. I like it for the fact I do not have to line up the images manually; also good for subtle curve adjustments.

    • Lining up the images manually, I have never had to do that. Photomatix and HDR Efex do it for you. I haven’t heard of that plugin. Though I have to admit I do love the software I am using now. I know Photomatix will do a single image, I haven’t tried it with HDR Efex though.

  11. I’m just about to start playing with HDR, its fun to be able to try new things….. expect to see lots of photos from my garden in the new year as I play with the settings & my tripod

  12. jmsanchezbenitez says

    Hi, I have nominated for the Inspiring Blogger Award, because I think you deserve it. Aiempre is good to give a bit of yourself. luck

  13. Lovely images. I love playing with HDR in some of my images. I use photomatix which is another nice software. I have the software but still saving up for SLR at the moment.

    • That is interesting, I love Photomatix, I’ve had it for some time now, It is good to try some new software, and I am starting to see that I would use them for different images. Hope you get your DSLR soon, then you can have so much more fun.

  14. saymber says

    Leanne you captured the truth of roses — even death can’t take away their beauty.

  15. Beautiful images Leanne. I do hope you tell us how you made the back drops. I too am interested! Have a wonderful day! Robyn

    • I might do a tutorial on it Robyn, but I have to wait for some cooler days, I need to do them in my studio and it gets too hot. So soon. Thanks

  16. phrenzel says

    must say, my preference is for the non hdr processed work. I’m old and becoming a curmudgeon I fear.

    • Haha, that is so funny, what you say about you. You must know by now that I don’t have a problem with that at all. Thanks

    • Thank you colormusing, try letting some die and taking some photos, there are some flowers that work better than others.

  17. I think they’re all great, and can’t see that much between them to be honest. The last is the most different and I love what you’ve done with it. Very interested to see how you paint your backdrops.

    • Thank you Richard, that is probably good that you can’t see much difference between them. I think I might do a tute on the backdrops, just need to wait for my studio to cool down.

  18. One day, I would like to be able to take good photos… Thank you for the detailed descriptions that are EASY to understand! :)

  19. Beautiful, beautiful… you continue to inspire me… Hope I’ll learn how to do nice stuff one day… Yours is so beautiful.

    • Nik Software have some software, I am still working out the HDR one, but I do like some of the stuff it does. It is really interesting. Check it out. Thanks

  20. petit4chocolatier says

    Love the images!! Loving the macro : )

    Congratulations on your awards; well deserved.

    I hope you don’t mind if I reblog your link on my reblog page?

    • Of course I don’t mind, I think you are one of the first people to ask, petit4chocolatier, thank you so much.

  21. I prefer the engine that photomatix uses over nik’s (even though I use Viveza and Silver Efx all the time). Whatever is decided, though – I truly feel the key to using these programs is to use it in moderation and do not go overboard on the sliders. They are great tools, but like any other filter, a heavy hand can kill an otherwise good photo. Thanks for sharing.

    • That is so true, it took me a while to learn how to tone it down. I hope I have achieved that now. I don’t mind HDR Efex, but I think it would become a image by image thing, seems some are better with Photomatix, while others would suit HDR Efex more. I have both now, so I can try both and then decide. Thanks

  22. Whoa! The change from the out-of-camera macro shot to the tweaked curve and level shot is just awesome.

      • I agree. One of my worst pet peeves is photographers over-tweaking their shots and making it look very unrealistic instead of just beautiful and simple. No one who lives in Dubai would believe we get skies so blue here! Sorry for the rant, just can’t stomach some of them.

  23. hutchphotography2020 says

    Just when you’re getting the hang of the 5100 out comes the 5200. Heard it will be here soon. Those roses are really nice. I like curves and levels a lot.

    • Yes, that’s true, I wonder if Nikon will let me try one of those, haha. It looks really good. Thanks Hutch.

  24. Really like these photos, and would also not mind a bit if you told us your methods for making our own backdrops! Congrats on the nominations, also!

  25. Beautifully worked, Leanne…liking that D5100 a lot!

    Also, very fine ‘scumbling’ on the backdrop…the colors and tones are quite gorgeous…and work perfectly with these dried roses! Kudos!

    A bit disappointed though, that you didn’t also do these in B/W…I’m certain they would turn out very lovely and romantic-looking!

    • Thank you 1000, it was a good camera.
      Thanks on the backdrop as well, it was one of the first ones I did.
      I could still do that at some stage. I still have the roses, so I could take some better photos of them. I will do that for you this week.

  26. Oooo they look great :) I was looking into that darkroom you told people was a good start for photo editing, but what is the difference between that program and lightroom 4? I don’t know if you know, lol, just thought I’d ask :)

  27. I want to get into HDR also. I have Nik HDR Efex too, but haven’t really gotten into it. Perhaps you will inspire me! Never thought about trying HDR on still lifes! I would love to know how you did your backdrops!

    • I do HDR on everything Paula, haha, can’t help myself, it doesn’t always work and sometimes I have to concede and go back to a single image, but it does work for a lot of images. Give it a go, ask me if you have any questions. Good luck.

  28. Great set of images….lovely use of HDR in that it’s not that obvious that it is HDR in other words they look very detailed, but natural…not artificial. For what it’s worth…the way you have described bracketed exposures is the way I would do it! So would you recommend Nik’s HDR over Photomatix?

    • That is the look I am always trying to get Mark, I don’t like how artificial some HDR’s can look. I still haven’t made up my mind about the software, I know that doesn’t help, but I like them both. Though there are some things that Efex does that you can’t do in Photomatix, but I am still really testing both, it is going to take me a while to work it out. I know that doesn’t help, but give me a couple of weeks. Thank you

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