Nah... no zombies. Like I stated... small modifications to the exposure settings of each HDR contributing image (4x) creates controllable variations. You really need to manage the whole effort about three or four times to get it looking somewhere close to the desired final image.
I use the sharpest image level as the base exposure (1/15 sec.- f/1.4 - ISO100), from which I vary the other three focus variants around.
To reduce the brightness of the large balloons, you tell the program that image is a longer exposure... 1/4 sec.- f/1.4 - ISO100. It assumes that you have to expose longer than the base image and automatically brightens that image.
The next smaller one 1/8 sec.- f/1.4 - ISO100, a little less bright.
You set the tighter focus to get it a little brighter than the base image, using 1/60sec or 1/125sec.- f/1.4 - ISO100.
Then start the HDR process to generate the combination and check out the result. If it looks good, finish it.
You then go back in for clean up and editing of the whole thing.
Once again, the best part of doing something like this is the experimentation. Heck, I only do this once a year... learning a little more about the process, each time. Of course, there always seems to be a completely new Creative Suite, every year.. so it truly can be a whole new experience.
We're hanging ornaments and other decorations, tonight. Once they're on, the tree goes back about two feet and we reclaim some living room real estate. I got tired of fighting the front window, every year, so I got ahead of it, this time. That backslide to position will be a first, as the tree will weigh close to thirty more pounds (I kid you not) with all the mostly Hallmark ornaments in place.
a850 w/ SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 DG EX HSM IF
@ 24mm - f/2.8 - 1/2 sec. - ISO-100 - Tungsten - Handheld
These slow, handheld exposures are a real test of my patience. I kind of like this orientation, eye-level is 5.5 feet up, as you step away from the front door. Once the ornament boxes disappear... the fireplace gets going... it might actually look welcoming. Then again, maybe the three-foot high eye level and get the "kid's eye-view." Then, all we need is all the camera gear presents from B&H and other Santa's helpers to be placed strategically around the base.
Okay, the prior shot, of course... the naked room. The midnight hour arrives, on December 24th... and so does a special guest.
Okay... we have some unwrapping to do.
Man, you have to love cameras!
With Christmas 2012 now over (man, it goes fast, doesn't it?), we look forward to a new year of exciting photographic opportunities. Moments captured forever by the cameras we choose to use.
I would say that never before have the opportunities to do it right been any better. With Jeff's continued information assault, awareness grows and grows. Throw in a few more bucks and your level of capability can continue to grow with it.
Good luck, everyone.