In this article, Promote Control user David Campbell shares tips on creating an HDR image with the Pentax K-1. David used firmware version 1.40 of the Pentax K-1 and 3.31 of the Promote Control.

Enter David:

Although this brilliant camera has an inbuilt HDR facility to take batches of three pictures and amalgamate them into one, the newly released update to allow the use of the Promote Control has added a huge dimension to the capability of this camera to take an even wider range of pictures.

I am not dealing with the set-up requirements in this, just a guide as to the most practical and simple operation.  I have chosen a particularly difficult picture looking across my dining room in very bright sunlight, meaning that it is virtually impossible to get a balanced picture as seen by the eye. You will see 5 images from the group of 7 that I took, with the Promote control exposure value set at 0.7EV, and number of exposures 7. I have found that 7 exposures usually is the best, as larger numbers are rarely required. Also, I have found that I do not need an EV setting of more than 0.7EV, as that covers pretty well most needs.

For this picture, I used f22 aperture to ensure full depth of focus from very close to infinity, with the exposure requirement for the wall being 1/6th second, and that is what I set the camera and the promote control at. You will see that the range of pictures has covered the darkest up to the brightest lights but, as expected, no one picture has coped with these extremes.

I then used lightroom HDR merge for this group of pictures, resulting in a merge that gave a great deal more information in this one picture than any one single picture. Therefore I had a huge dynamic range and detail from these 5 pictures to edit in lightroom to produce the finished merge that you see here. The end result, therefore, is as accurate as that which can be seen by the human eye at the point of taking the picture.

In another example, David took 10 pictures to achieve a balanced result. This is a view of beautiful East Sussex countryside framed from within a wonderful historic barn built in 1609.

David Campbell


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