HDR (High Dynamic Range)

December 29th, 2010

HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography has become very popular and very controversial. Put simply it is a technique that allows the photographer to capture a wider range of light that corresponds more closely with what the eye can see. Without getting too bogged down in numbers, the eye can see up to 20 f-stops. Digital cameras can capture 7-10 f-stops. Don’t worry about the numbers here. Point is that the eye and brain are much better at seeing than our cameras are. With HDR photography you shoot at least three images: one properly exposed, one over exposed, and one under exposed. Then using photoshop you merge the images into a single image and are able to capture more accurately what the eye can see. You are also able to create some pretty weird looking stuff – one reason for the controversy.

Wanting to add this skill to our tool kit Bob and I went out a few days ago to shoot Waimea canyon. Turns out it was a good thing we went when we did as it has been raining ever since. The canyon was a great place to experiment because with shadows and highlights it has a huge dynamic range.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the images. The first is the properly exposed single image. The second is the HDR image.

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3 Responses to “HDR (High Dynamic Range)”

  1. Bruce says:

    Nice result. Done with restraint, it yields an enhanced but realistic finish.

  2. mgmason says:

    Thanks, Bruce. Means a lot coming from you.

  3. Christi says:

    interesting-looks more vivid. also, thanks for explaining HDR-I was wondering what that was on my iPhone!