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Monday, November 7, 2011


Since the beginning of photography the phenomenon of HDR, or High Dynamic Range, have been done.
It is only lately when a lot of software programs that jumped on the bandwagon, brought it into "fashion" again.
For those of you that don't know what it is; HDR is when a scene has to big a difference in the high-light/low-light areas for the camera to capture detail in said areas.
Below is a typical scene were HDR or bracketing as it is also known, will help the exposure,- light in the sky, dark house with lights-on in fore-ground.

This is how you should typically make a HDR photo;
1. Use a tripod if possible.
2. Frame your scene and 'lock' camera on the tripod.

Now using the Exposure Bracketing mode in your camera,-
3. Expose for the dark areas in the scene and shoot.

4. Expose for the light areas in the scene and shoot.
5. Expose for the normal areas in the scene and shoot.

6. When the range between high and low-light areas are very big,- if the darks are very dark and lights are very bright you will need to shoot more images,- expose your stops closer to each other, in order to get the whole dynamic range.
Getting details in the rising-sun sky, as well as in the dark building areas in this image was easily done with HDR.

I like to make a frame of my hand/foot before and after the series of images. This just make it easier in postproduction to see were you started and ended in a specific image. Believe me, when you visit a place like the Grand Canyon and you shoot HDR the whole day, you want to know were a image starts and the next one begins.
Bottom line in taking image in HDR,- Know where and how to quickly access the bracketing buttons are on your camera and how to expose. You can then set the camera on continues mode to shoot the images in quick once-of press of the shutter button.
Below is another image where HDR was used to capture detail in all areas of the image.

Let us now see how easy it is to merge all the images into one in Photo Shop.
1. Open PS
2. File > Automate > Merge to HDR
3. Chose your files > OK
The program will do the rest and spit-out your final image on witch you can start all the other postproduction steps you want to do.

With the multi-media internet now-a-days any product in just a click away and you get many programs being sold that can convert any one image into an HDR image. However, i have found that most of these take the HDR just to far and then the image looks unnatural.
Below an example,

Others will tell you that HDR have no place in Black and White photography. Once again my opinion is why have the technology and not use it. As with every thing in life use it in moderation and not on every image you take.

                            The best for last,- above image done with the M9, bracketing on F 5.6.

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