Many years ago a fellow photographer and humorist Lars Björk taught me how to get a boring mother-inlaw out of my life if needed. The method was not so simple but effective and taught me a good deal about development of film and enlargement.
The method was to take a Tri-x 400 iso film. Rate it at 200 iso. Shoot subject with handheld flash gun with out modifier and then develop in Kodak D-76 diluted 1:3. Then you expose the image on a Ilford multigrade paper through filters 2.5 and 5.5.
Of course this gives a pin sharp image and if used in a portrait session you will highlight every wrinkle and any imperfection of the persons face. Use the same method in landscape (with out flash) and you can get very beautiful image.
Last year I did some HDR testing to my liking when I did portrait of Øystein in bunad ( norwegian traditional costume). To make that image I used a combination of many methods Lightroom, Photoshop, and Photomatix Pro. It was a lengthy and difficult process and I have been thinking lately about methods to shorten the process.
Newly campaign from NiK software reminded me of this and as I have also been doing some other test I decided that now was the right time to find new easier method and test NiK HDR at the same time.
On top of testing HDR methods I have been testing and fine tuning frequency separation method in beauty retouching like in this image of Hanna Rún, where it came out quite fine, maybe a bit to soft.
So to test all these methods I needed some of beat model preferably at its worst and what could be better than a monday morning self-portrait of yours truly as tired and unshaved as can be. I did the testing and double testing and in the end I exported both HDR and non HDR images from Lightroom4 into Photoshop where I then combined them and did a lot of extra hocus pokus PS work magic, but nothing helped.
Needless to say the test failed completely, just one look at the image proofs that. Its harsh, I look like a dry fish hanging in a stall on some lava fields in Iceland. The skin like a amateur leather coloring gone really really bad and the tones are no better. Ok Ok it might be the model but still.
I guess I will have to try the NiK HDR a bit more but some thing tells me that the instant method is not going to work for me and as to using frequency separation on HDR image. For get it. Its to hard and even though it tones the horror somewhat down it wont help you much.
On the other hand if you have a nagging boring mother-inlaw that you need a divorce from, well then here is your modern day method of the old Lars Björk version