HDR means High-Dynamic-Range; photographs are usually achieved by capturing multiple photos in either JPEG or RAW format, using exposure bracketing, and then merging them into an HDR image. Any camera that allows manual under or over exposure of a photo can be used to create HDR images. Most SLR cameras have an auto exposure bracketing (AEB) feature with a far greater dynamic range. Software like Canon's DPP or Photomatix can create images with more detail in the highlights and shadows than you can with a normal photo from todays digital cameras. This is similar to the old technique of exposure blending.
HDR takes it a step further by increasing the amount of detail in the image and allows you to create some unique photos. You can use it carefully to create natural looking photos or you can use it creatively to create atmospheric and emotive photos. The choice is yours as to how you process the end result.
Some of the new SLR camera's have built in HDR and can combine up to seven photos. I find that three photos combined with up to one stop bracketing works well.
Below are a couple more examples of HDR with some effects added. The first photo is an old gristmill in eastern TN and the second is a very rare tractor.
The above photo is one that I tried to get several times by not using bracketed HDR and just couldn't get the picture I wanted. The problem was that there is a large hill directly in front of the house and it is always casting a bad shadow on the house. Again with my 24-105 lens set to 40mm and an apeature of f16 using an ISO of 100, I shot three photos at a shutter speed of 1/13,1/25,1/50. Putting these together in Canons DPP HDR I got what I was looking for.
This photo was just the opposite of the previous image, I was fighting the bright sun on the building. With a Cokin X121M filter on my 24-105 lens I was able to cut down some of the harsh afternoon sun. Three bracketed shots followed by HDR gave me a nice photo of this late 1700's slave house.
Looking out my back door one morning I thought that the neighbors barn would make an interesting HDR photo. I took three bracked shots and joined them in Canon's DPP. My 100-400 lens was zoomed out to 400mm for this shot.
Photos & Text Copyrighted 2012 by Joe Anderson
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