a sunny weekend in puna


I enjoyed a sunny weekend in Puna and Hilo this weekend with my daughter. Mum was away having fun with her girlfriends so it was just me and Mira. We went down to Puna on a beautiful Saturday to collect some water samples, for Mira’s science project, from the hot ponds at Ahalanui Park and from the tide pools at Pohoiki. These are great places and we always enjoy them when we go, but for me the highlight is always driving through the countryside and especially the tree tunneled road.

The images here have been hdr processed (4 images, each 1-stop apart). I used LR/Enfuse for the top one and Photomatix for the one below. But the soft and glowing look I gave to the images comes from filters within the Nik Software Suite (Color Efex Pro). That’s some cool software!


enfuse/photomatix hdr comparison

wpid426-20090131-6276-fused.jpg wpid428-20090131-6276-hdr.jpg 

So I said two posts ago that I would look at presenting a comparison between creating HDR images with LR2/Enfuse and Photomatix Pro. So here are a series of images, all taken on the same day when we visited Punalu’u Black Sand Beach back in January. All images come from 3 bracketted images taken 2 EV apart. 

Images on the left are HDR composites using Enfuse, and those on the right are using Photomatix Pro.

Continue reading “enfuse/photomatix hdr comparison”

new attempts at hdr

wpid415-hdr-examples-1.jpgI’ve posted in the past about using the LR2 plugin for Enfuse-ing images together to give that hdr look. Since then, I’ve been playing and experimenting with the trial version of Photomatix Pro (which appears to be the ‘industry favourite’) and I finally paid for it this weekend when I discovered that I could get a 60% educational discount! The image above is one of my first serious plays with it.

Continue reading “new attempts at hdr”


contemplationI took this image at the World War II memorial in Washington DC a few months back.

I used LR/Enfuse to bring out detail in the shadow regions, and I was pleased at how that worked out. However, I do not understand where the extreme colour banding of the sky came from.

enfuse – what does it do?


Some of my colleagues at work have been asking me this question and I’ve been responding by vaguely saying the right words and waving my hands around. So I’ve done what they should have done (and I should have done before them!) and gone to the interweb for the relevant information. The first hit is the Panotools wiki page on Enfuse.

Enfuse is based on a paper written by Tom Mertens, Jan Kautz and Frank Van Reeth, in which you’ll find much more detail than I’ll be providing here. As the page explains, the basic premise to enfuse is to compare overlapping input pixels and to filter the best information from among them through to the output pixels. So how does it choose the “best” ones. It uses criteria based on exposure, saturation and contrast.

  • exposure : it chooses those pixels which are closest to the middle of the range as those are considered the best exposed;
  • saturation : here, enfuse favours the most highly saturated pixels;
  • contrast : again, those pixels which are going to provide the highest contrast are favoured. It uses the local standard deviation as a metric for contrast.

On top of all this, the problem that the Enfuse algorithm needs to solve is to arrive at the best solution that satisfies these criteria and produces a smooth resultant image.

In the Lightroom plugin to Enfuse, the relative importance of these three criteria can be controlled with sliders in a window. Shown below are the recommended defaults that I’ve been using, and haven’t ventured from. I need to explore these a bit more (for instance, why is contrast given a zero weight?). There are also advanced options to investigate, but may or may not actually prove useful.


Expect more as and when I learn it. In the meantime, for comparison you can see the original image to that above of the Halema’uma’u plume, heading towards Hilo and as seen from Mauna Kea, in this earlier post.

new year on the beach

hapunaenfusedWell, we’ve heard a lot about the rain in this and other blogs this holiday season, and so when the opportunity came for us to feel some Sun on our backs we took it. On New Year’s Day, we got together with some good friends, got some good food together and took off to Kona-side for the beach. We all had great fun and the kids (young and old) really enjoyed playing with the waves. And there were some big waves that day – as we arrived, somebody was being fitted to a neck brace and a spine board!

All afternoon, the waves were crashing against the rocks at the southern end of the beach, and I wanted to get some photos. I wanted to get some dramatic shots of the waves breaking and crashing against the rocks but by the end of the afternoon the sky had become overcast.

Continue reading “new year on the beach”

Ahalanui enfused

ahalanuiI have been thinking about all the water we’ve been having recently and that I must make some time to visit some of the waterfalls along the Hamakua coast, as they should be quite full. A good opportunity to take some long exposure images to produce dramatic photographs of flowing water. It reminded me of this August when we went to the Ahalanui hot ponds in Puna. It’s a great place to go with friends, family and a picnic. There’s a natural thermostat in effect: water in the pool is heated volcanically from underground while it is simultaneously fed by the cool water of the ocean. The result is a nice warm bath.

On this particular day, the sea was quite choppy and crashing over the concrete barrier. I got myself into a good position and starting shooting. The series you see above were taken one after the other as a single wave crashed over the barrier. At 1/5-th of a second and handheld, I’m quite pleased at how sharp they are (although, admittedly the first is quite blurry).

(Keep reading if you want to know the significance of the title to the post).

Continue reading “Ahalanui enfused”