More Memory for Mac

I have discovered a process that completely saturates the memory on my iMac. It is one of the first 5K iMacs, and it came with 8 GB of memory. I have been happily using it with that much memory for several years. I have beenusing iprocess my photos including HDR processing. But I have gotten a new camera with larger number of pixels and the ability to to auto-bracket five exposures. The first time I tried to do a five exposure HDR in Lightroom my iMac slowed to a crawl. I checked and it was clearly using all available memory. 

I bought an additional 16 GB of memory and installed it. I ran my Lightroom workflow, and it worked great. I checked on memory usage, and it was 12 GB. I could have gotten away with just an 8 GB upgrade, but this will provide me with some future proofing. 

 

Great Subject

I was in Pittsburgh last week for a graduation. On Saturday, I got a chance to go downtown and take some photos along the rivers. It was a bright and beautiful day, so I was hoping for some nice shots. I took a multi-exposure photo of the 6th Street Bridge over the Allegheny River, and I processed it in PhotomatixPro. I tried a variety of the presets in PhotomatixPro and the photo looked pretty good in several. I frequently find that a photo that works with tonemapping does not look good with image fusion or details enhancer. I thought tonemapping looked good with saturated colors and a good exposure. 

6th Street Bridge tonemapped

6th Street Bridge tonemapped

I also tried a image fusion preset called painterly5. This preset is probably the most extreme change of image that I will use in PhotomatixPro. The are much more heavily processed presets like surreal, but I have never used them. I thought painterly5 worked pretty well on this image. It brought out more detail without getting garish.  

6th Street bridge with image fusion

6th Street bridge with image fusion

To HDR or to Not HDR

I take a lot of photos using HDR processing, and I am proud of how many of them turned out. Today I took a photo of the covered bridge in Baker Park. I had taken three bracketed exposures for the purpose of processing it in Photomatix. I also tried just working on it in Lightroom. The first is the HDR processed photo.

 

This is fairly typical of the kind of photo that I make with HDR. The colors are rich and saturated, and there is some enhancement of detail, but I try not to over process in most cases. In Photomatix Pro there are three processors: detail enhancement, image fusion, and tonemapping. I prefer the second two. 

Here is the middle of the three bracketed exposures just processed in Lightroom. I adjusted the exposure and applied the clarity and vibrance sliders. I later cleaned out some of the overhanging branches in Photoshop. 

The differences are small. They are most obvious on the side of the bridge. I think the second one looks a little more natural. I am trying to enhance my photos not transform them.