my flickr photostream

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

HDR tutorial

© Stuck in Customs, used under Creative Commons license

Today's link is to an excellent HDR tutorial from the Stuck in Customs travel photography blog. HDR, or High Dynamic Range imaging involves merging multiple photos of different exposures to increase the dynamic range of a photograph. A digital sensor captures between 4-6 stops, depending on the camera and the ISO setting. The human eye can perceive somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 stops. As a photographer, we often have to make the decision on what is the most important part of a scene, and resign ourselves to losing some detail outside of that range. With HDR, you can capture all of that detail in several different exposures. You can then merge that information into one photograph through a process known as tone-mapping.

There have been a lot of HDR images produced recently as the technique has gained popularity and ease of access (the necessary software is becoming better and cheaper). However, most people go crazy with it when they first start, resulting in overly saturated poorly tone mapped halo ridden surreal cartoonish images. (Go to flickr and search for HDR to see what I mean.) However, when done correctly, HDR can really bring a lot of detail into your photography, and the tutorial linked above does a good job of not overdoing it.

It's a fun technique, and with a lot of patience and practice can produce some beautiful images. I encourage you to give it a try!


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