I have processed a couple more HDR photos Photoshop CS5. I am beginning to like it more and more. The controls are really quite easy to use and I can already get a reasonably pleasing result using the simple tone mapping controls. When you select 3 or more photos shot at different exposure in Bridge and then select Photoshop>Merge to HDR Pro, Photoshop will bring up the following HDR tone mapping window after some initial processing.
I usually select “Flat” from Preset. I think Flat is a good base for processing. I usually adjust exposure first, then Detail, Shadow, Highlight and Gamma. You can add quite a bit of Vibrance without making the photo look over-saturated, but more gentle on the Saturation setting. Also be gentle on the Detail setting, overdoing the detail setting can make the HDR photo looks unnatural.
The following is a crop from the menu setting on the right side of the window.
I shot all the HDR photos hand-held using continuous shooting mode. Unlike shooting on a tripod, which ideally is better, but more cumbersome and not too wife or girlfriend friendly way to shoot HDR. Of course shooting hand-held would lead to slight shift in the framing in the shots. Selecting “Remove ghosts” in the menu would help to blend the images properly.
The following HDR shots were taken at Naruto Strait in Japan in the afternoon during Winter. Without using HDR technique, it would be difficult to get a shot like those below when one have to shot into the Sun. The dynamic range would simply be too large for a single shot to capture fully. Both photos were shot in RAW with Canon EOS 5D Mark II with EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM in exposure bracketing mode. 3 RAW files at -2EV, 0EV, +2EV were processed by Phtoshop CS5 “Merge to HDR Pro”, then further processed by Photoshop CS5 after tone mapping and converting to a 16bit file.