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Photographing Edge Lit Glass

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Photographing Edge Lit Glass

Postby Tom Kuhn » November 1st, 2011, 2:32 pm

I've found a nice method for taking good photographs of Edge-Lit glass project. There's a digital photo processing technique called HDR Merge (High Dynamic Range) photography. In a nutshell, what it does is take 3 copies of a photograph, that are exposed at different exposure settings and automatically merges them to give you an output photograph with greater (or balanced) dynamic range.

You know how if you take a photograph of an edge-lit piece of glass, the sandcarved portions emit light and become the light source. The closer to the LEDs, the brighter the light, so items at the far end of the glass don't look as bright as the ones near the LEDs. other objects in the photograph, because they are not emitting light, become overly dark and in the shadows. Creating an HDR photograph, takes a normally exposed photo, one that is exposed +2 F-Stops and one that is exposed -2 F Stops and merges them together to create one photograph with greater (or balanced) dynamic range.

If you look at the image below, the 0X Exposure (normal) the etchings on the top half of the glass look exposed about right, but the etchings on the bottom are noticeably brighter. The -2 Exposure (under exposed) the top half of the etchings are noticeably under exposed, but the bottom half of the etching looks about right. Looking at the +2 Exposure (over exposed) the etchings are washed out (you loose the fact that it's Blue LED lights) but you get more exposure on the base which is lit from reflected light sources only.

Using an HDR merge module in a photo editing software package, it merges the 3 photos together automatically, and then allow you to fine tune the result and save a merged image (HDR Merge). I used the "raw" files from my Canon DSLR for the merge, and saved a JPG as the result. You can work with JPG images for source, but working with RAW images will give you better range and results. If you're interested in HDR, and have a DSLR camera, check to see if your camera will save RAW images, and also check to see if your camera will do automated bracketed exposure photography. My Canon supports automated bracketed exposure, and I can set the bracket range (anywhere from +/-1/2 F-stop to +/-2 F-stop) and with one press of the shutter it will take 3 photographs, one underexposed, one correct exposed and one over exposed, specifically for HDR merge source files.

HDR.jpg


PS: Yes, I know I should have taken more time and cleaned the fingerprints off the glass before taking the pics. I just retouched them out of the final, along with the power cord. 8-)
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Re: Photographing Edge Lit Glass

Postby Tom Kuhn » November 1st, 2011, 5:20 pm

Here's another processing of the same 3 source images using some different settings to increase the range and brighten the etchings.

Aria_Nightlight2.jpg
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Re: Photographing Edge Lit Glass

Postby Donna » November 2nd, 2011, 7:40 am

That's pretty cool! Thanks for taking the time to post this for us.

I spent some time yesterday making up a little light box and taking a few pics of older projects I had laying around. I have sooooo much to learn.
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Re: Photographing Edge Lit Glass

Postby Gilly » December 27th, 2015, 2:56 pm

What canon camera did you use to take the pictures? Looking into getting a camera to take photos of my glass lit.
Thanks,
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Re: Photographing Edge Lit Glass

Postby JESS » December 27th, 2015, 3:25 pm

Heather-
That photo was taken in 2011, and Mr. Tom passed away since then. Sorry, but I don't know what he used.
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Re: Photographing Edge Lit Glass

Postby Coppers Lot » December 28th, 2015, 3:52 am

I don't think Tom bought a camera especially for HDR. I think what he did was to see if the camera he had could do what he wanted.
Check this page out it may help.
Basically though your camera manual will tell you.

http://digital-photography-school.com/s ... -shooting/
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Re: Photographing Edge Lit Glass

Postby Gilly » December 28th, 2015, 5:14 am

Thanks guys
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Re: Photographing Edge Lit Glass

Postby Terry W » December 28th, 2015, 8:24 am

You can do HDR with most any camera that has a manual mode. This process is something used mainly for landscape pictures where the dynamic range is wide or lots of shadows and lots of bright areas. If you expose for the bright areas then the dark areas are just blobs with no detail. If you expose for the dark areas then the light areas get blown out. So HDR can be used to get past this.

Toms camera had a feature called "bracketing" and this makes it easier to take multiple pictures of different exposure values but not necessary.

HDR is done in software by combining multiple images of different exposures. There are many programs available to do this now. The new photoshop, lightroom CC, corel photopaint x7, Photomatix. I think there are a few free ones but not positive.

You can get great results of your lit items with good techniques. For small items a DIY photo cube is great.
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Re: Photographing Edge Lit Glass

Postby Terry W » December 29th, 2015, 10:20 am

Sorry, my bad.

I guess a few of the new cameras on the market do have HDR features. The photo people I talk with don't recommend it as you have much more control using software. That's the way I do it as well.
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