During PhotoPlus Expo, I took at great seminar called “Many to One” taught by Katrin Eismann which covered HDR as well as time-lapse and panoramas. She recommended using 5 or more images for High Dynamic Range. Since then, I have heard several other photographers recommend the same. But most digital cameras will only auto-bracket three images. You could spend $300 on a special remote like Promote Control. But, with the following technique, you can auto exposure bracket (AEB) 6 images or more with just the Canon 7D.
1. Auto-Exposure Bracketing is accessed through the Menu
Push the Menu button on the back of the Canon 7D and use the Multi-Function Controller (joystick) to move to the 2nd Camera Icon screen. This menu will also show you the current AEB settings on the camera. Push the Set button on the back of the camera to access the AEB.
2. Use the Main dial on the top of the camera to set the auto-bracketing.
The Main Dial (next to the M-Fn button) on the top of the Canon 7D will allow you to set the increment for the auto-bracketing. Scrolling the dial to the right will allow you to set up to a +/- 3 stops. Scroll the dial to +/- 1 stop.
3. Use the Quick Control Dial on the back to slide the AEB to the left.
With the AEB bracket set, you can now use the big Quick Control Dial to slide the entire bracketing to the left or right. By scrolling the dial to the left, the entire AEB will move to the left. Push the Set button to store the setting. Now take your first group of 3-shots.
4. Use the Quick Control Dial on the back to slide the AEB to the right.
With the AEB still set to +/- 1 stop, you can use the Quick Control Dial to slide the bracketing to the right. You can quickly use this technique to take 6 auto-bracketed exposures or more.
5. Use Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop CS5 to combine the photos.
By using the above technique, you will have 6 photos which are sequentially numbered but not in the order of the exposure differences. Photoshop CS5 will ignore the sequential numbering and assemble the images based on exposure. (For a more detailed explanation on HDR in CS5, please read my article Photoshop CS5 – HDR & Canon 7D Raw Files.)
6. Adding additional exposures will bring out more detail in HDR.
With HDR, it is important to capture as much detail as possible in the full range of shadows and highlights. Photoshop CS5 will do a great job at assembling them into one composite image.
This image is the final composite from Merge to HDR Pro. The detail is incredible, but possibly a little too busy. By blurring the outer areas as I did in the first image on this page, I am directing the viewer’s interest while removing additional distractions.
Quick and Easy! By using the Quick Control Dial along with the AEB, you can auto-bracket as many images as you need.