HDR and an explanation

I’m pretending to be on night duty like my sister. It’s good I had a nap after work.

I thought I’d give an explanation of HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography and why I like to do this. Basically HDR is taking multiple photos with under, correctly and over exposed shots and using special software to pull the best out of all photos, combining them into a single, hopefully beautiful photo. I use a special software called Photomatix Pro to do this.

The naked eye can take in much more contrast in lighting than cameras can. God has given us an incredible gift of sight. It has been said the eye can take in 11 stops difference and I on have 7 stops represented here. Here are the 3 images I made tonight setting my cameral to Auto Exposure Bracketing, a feature that allows you to take several shots in rapid succession, each one a different exposure. A tripod is nearly a must.

The first exposure the white clouds are blown out, too bright. Even with that, the green grass below was not as bright as it was to my naked eye. However, this is the brightest exposure I used.

The next one the clouds are nearly perfectly exposed.

The darker clouds are looking more accurate, but the rest of the photo is really dark.

This is what I was able to make with these three photos.

It is much nearer to what eye actually saw.

One more point that has nothing to do with HDR, but I wanted to point this out, especially for those using P&S cameras. Notice the wide-angle distortion in the first three pictures? The line of the land looks like it goes up on each side. If you take a picture with your P&S, and do not zoom in at all, you will have some distortion as well. The naked eye sees at nearly the equivalent of 50mm and these were taken at 18mm. I fixed some of the distortion in the final pic but I see I have more work to do on it!

Here are a few more that I got this evening:

So if you find that you really like this type of photography, here are two sites to visit:  Stuck in Customs and Acadia Magic Photos.

The first is a blog with an HDR a day from his worldwide travels. He has vision in only 1 eye due to surgery as a child. He also uses a commons license which means he is very (extremely) generous and you can click through and save his photos as wallpaper, print, etc. for personal use. The other is a site with photos of Acadia National Park in Maine, where I hope to visit this fall, but do not dream of getting such splendid images.

And if you think that HDR is cheating and not real photography, that’s fine. I feel that photography can be an art as well. Afterall, in the early stages, photography had only sepia, then b&w, then color.

Good morning! I think I shall start cleaning now. It is fun being on night shift.

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