High Dynamic Range HDR Images


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HDR photography is all the rage now. I know how to make them and I like them but while I can see how they are a huge step forward in photography both technically and creatively I am still not convinced it isn’t a fad. I will certainly say that I far prefer HDR images that have a more natural look to them than the Photomatix-ified comic book looking tone-mapped HDRs that seem to have captured the most attention.

Here’s are a couple of HDR images I did the other night. I like how the water swirls around and smears the lines of the support posts in this image:  HDR image 1 of the Oceanside Pier area.

Oceanside Pier HDR 1

Oceanside Pier HDR 1

I like this one since it has both an ethereal and a realistic quality to it: HDR image 2 of the Oceanside Pier Area.

Oceanside Pier HDR 2

Oceanside Pier HDR 2

These were made with 5 separate exposures each ranging from -2 to +2 stops exposed. I converted them from 32 bit to 16 bit images using either exposure and gamma (HDR 1) or local adaption (HDR 2) conversion processes, did a little sharpening and that’s it, really. I’m still experimenting with this technique; I use the HDR function built-in to Photoshop right now.

Ideally Canon would issue a firmware update that allows me to make 5 or even 7 auto exposure bracketing images to more fully exploit this technique (my 40D only has a 3 image AEB function now).

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