Aurora HDR vs Photomatix: What's the Difference?

Aurora HDR vs Photomatix: What's the Difference?

In this video I compare Aurora HDR to Photomatix for HDR processing. There are some major differences so follow along and let me know if you have any questions!

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Why I switched to Aurora HDR Pro

Why I switched to Aurora HDR Pro

Recently, I made the switch from using Photomatix to create my HDR photos over to Aurora HDR Pro.  Today, I share my thoughts with you about why I made the switch and what I gained from it.  I think you will enjoy this.

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Win a free copy of Photomatix!!

UPDATE:  And the winner is.....Preston McWithey!  Thanks all for entering and congrats to Preston!


Win a free copy of Photomatix!!

Yes, that is right - I am giving away a free copy of Photomatix.  If you are not familiar with it, you should be. It is the software of choice for creating HDR images, and something that I use nearly every single day.  I love it, and am happy to be able to offer a free copy to one of my readers!  Thanks to the wonderful folks at HDRSoft for making this happen!  Click thru to the HDRSoft website to read about the product!

If you would like to see Photomatix in action, you can see my HDR Tutorial here:

Sounds great, do I enter?  Well, I am glad you asked!

Fine print:

  • One entry per person.  
  • I will select 1 winner's name from a hat, and post their name and email them when I close this contest.
  • Close date: Friday, July 20 at 12noon Central US time!

The winner will just need to supply an email address and I will contact them with instructions for the electronic download.

San Fran underground

On one of my trips to San Fran, I happened to pass by a subway entrance one evening while heading back to the hotel after shooting a bit.  I find subways interesting because we don't have them here in Texas - too much rock to dig through I guess.  I also enjoy shooting trains so I headed on down the steps to underground San Francisco.  It's cool being down there, especially at night when it is empty.  I really enjoy the distant rumble of an approaching train, and the squeak of the brakes when it gets there.  Aren't those just distinctive sounds?

San Diego sunrise

Though I tend to get more pictures of sunsets, I really do enjoy getting a good sunrise photo.  It's just harder to be up and out there early I guess.  Recently in San Diego, I found myself with an opportunity.  I was departing my hotel, packing my stuff and all that, when I happened to look out my hotel window and I could see all these wonderful clouds, with the light just starting to peek through.  So I double-checked my flight time, decided I had some time to spare, and hurried up and checked out.  Luckily my hotel was next to the airport, which is next to town as well.  I just needed some water...hey this is San Diego, right?   Water is everywhere!  I always think of California as a "sunset place" because of the sun setting out West, but sunrise worked really well here since I was able to get the sun rising behind the town while still getting some ocean in the shot.  There was a local set up here too, taking shots.  I kindly asked to join him, and he agreed.  Aren't photographers just generally nice folks?  I always feel good when I come across a local - makes me think I might have found a good spot.

Sunset at the Loop 360 Bridge

Three of my favorite photographic subjects are sunsets, clouds and bridges, and I am especially happy when I can get all three in the same shot.  The other night just before sunset I had to run a quick errand, and while I was out I saw some amazing clouds and a wonderful sunset coming together.  Being a photographer, I get twitchy around sunset anyways, and when you know some cool stuff is happening in the sky it becomes unbearable.  So I quickly went home, got the camera and tripod, and zipped over to the Loop 360 Bridge (aka Pennybacker Bridge).  The bridge is an Austin landmark, and a darn fine looking structure in my opinion.  It has the added benefit of being just a short drive south from the house.  So I climbed up a large rock hill and set myself up.  As it turns out, there had been a little accident on the bridge, which snarled up traffic heading North and gave me a lot of light trails and even a fire truck to enjoy.  I am a fan of light trails, and with multiple exposures I was able to get some interesting, if somewhat odd-looking light trails in this one.  I thought they were choppy, but cool.  Overall I was happy to get another sunset at the bridge, which is one of my favorite spots in Austin.

By the way, I processed this image with the new Photomatix Pro v4.0, which I like quite a bit.  I see several improvements over the previous version.  I updated my Photomatix Review, which you can read about here: 

Thanks for stopping by!

Inside the failures of the light

I have wanted to go take shots of this old building in Austin for a long time, and a while back some of my Austin friends posted some great shots of it, which got me excited all over again.  This building sits in a prime downtown location, so I have to assume it will not last.  I am sure a condo developer somewhere is working a deal on it, even as I type this.  Allow me to state the obvious: that is a shame.  Anyways, I digress.  I finally made my way down there recently, with NIkon in hand (well, actually on tripod) and had it all to myself.  It was pretty sweet, except for the fact that the city still owns it and I could not find a way inside (and believe me, I tried!).  Can you imagine how awesome this would look on the inside?  Anyways, I ended up snapping quite a few shots from various angles and generally just had a good time there.  I like architecture (not sure this actually counts in that category though!), I like graffiti (did you miss my Ninja Panda shot?  Shame on you.) and I like railroads and trains, so I sorta got a hat trick this time around!

A waterfall in Indy

I spent part of last week in Indianapolis, which I had not been to in ~13 years.  I remembered it being a nice town and was looking forward to getting a little camera time there - and I was not disappointed.  It is a wonderful town and offers a lot of photographic possibilities.  I have only processed a couple of photos from the trip but you will see more of them soon.  This is part of a waterfall that I shot while walking around in White River State Park, which sits basically in downtown Indy.  It’s a cool spot and I took a lot of shots there.  I enjoy shooting waterfalls - or just parts of them like in this photo - as I find the HDR process really enhances their natural beauty.  The long exposures really bring out the silky feel of the water, while the HDR helps accentuate all the cool color, detail and texture in the rock and even behind it.  Enjoy!

Summer sunset

Sunset on Lake Austin - Austin, TX

Seems we are getting a little cooler weather here in Austin, which is great for me.  Fall is my favorite season and I always look forward to it cooling off.  This shot is from early July this past summer.  I was heading to a fireworks show on July 3 over at the lake, and just stopped en route to witness this wonderful sunset.  I loved all the clouds and thought they looked interesting.

Laguna Gloria Art Museum

This branch of the Austin Museum of Art (there is also a museum downtown) sits on a beautiful 12 acre estate just on the edge of town, overlooking the lake.  It is a wonderful place to visit and is very popular for weddings too.  I paid them a little visit last weekend, hoping I could get a clear shot of the Italian villa with a cool sky behind it.  All my other attempts have been thwarted by bright sunshine, and they close the grounds at 5pm so sunset is usually out of the question.  Saturday it went my way, thanks to a cloudy and sometimes rainy day.  When I arrived they were setting up for a wedding, with trucks moving here and there, and folks milling about.  So, I wandered the grounds and got a lot of shots of other things - statues, columns, fountains, and even a lizard.  When I made my way back to this scene, I found it empty and fired away.  I guess patience is a virtue.