Monday, December 29, 2008

What is HDR(High Dynamic Range) photography?

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Earlier I posted the above photograph that I had edited to mimic a HDR photograph.
Storming Montreal HDR: A Roiling Sky
This is a HDR photograph. HDR is the ability to capture bright highlights and dark shadows on the same photograph.Note that the dark area and the light areas are well exposed. This particular photograph has a cartoonish(which I like) quality to it, but note than not all HDR photographs have that.

HDR is the ability to capture bright highlights and dark shadows on the same photograph. This is something that the human eye does quit naturally. old industry in Leipzig in HDR
Cameras, on the other hand, have a difficult dealing with these two opposites. Back in the days of film cameras, a photographer could select a film based on its ability to capture a higher dynamic range versus another type of film.

In the world of digital cameras, this choice is no longer available. There are several methods available to the digital photographer to create HDR photographs.

If your camera captures in a RAW format you can save a jpg that shows the details in the shadows and the change your exposure in your RAW program and save a JPG that shows the details in the highlights. Then in your photo processing program you can combine these into one photograph that will show all of the details.

Another method, especially if you can't take a RAW photograph, is to take several exposeures with your camera. One light to expose the shaows, and one dark to expose the highlights, and again merge them in your photo proccessing program.

HDR can make for some very dramatic photographs. I am not an expert in HDR so your mileage may vary from this information.......

Note: All photographs here are used via the Creative Commons Licensing Agreement on Flickr. All photograph and rights belong to the respective photographer.

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