HDR and Its Poor Reputation

July 13, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Been a little while since I've made a blog post!  I wanted to discuss something near and dear to my heart as related to digital photography: HDR.  People either love it or hate it.  I assert that those who hate it (and I include myself in this camp) do so because the photos that come out can't be called realistic.  There's a certain art-like quality to HDR photos that for better or for worse, is very easily achievable.  My personal take on HDR?  If it's done poorly, it looks horrible.  However, there's certainly a case for utilizing HDR technology such that you turn the limitations of your camera sensor given scene that does indeed have very high dynamic range its due.  I was previously in the HDR camp that was very much against it.  time and again, photos were published to sites like Flickr and other gallery sites where images would have the halo effect, the tinged blue that reminded me of a Van Gogh painting... the overemphasized colors in a landscape scene... at the time, my impression of HDR was less than stellar.  

As people learned more about HDR, again, myself included, I found that I started to use HDR in my day-to-day nature photography and landscape workflow.  In situations where you meter for the scene at hand, and where the sensor just can't meter everything properly, HDR is a great tool to achieve that proper metering.  I've included a sample of what I've done with HDR below.  The Before shot is 1-exposure out of camera.  You'll notice that out of camera, the shot looks OK, composition aside.  The shadows are sort of there, but they could be darker.  The highlights are also sort of there, but also could be improved.  The HDR version shows very contrasty highlights and darks.  I've also added a slight gradient filter to the sky to improve the darkness, but as far as editing goes, that was the only difference between the Before non-HDR photo and the After HDR photo.  

Questions? Send me mail!

Til next time.


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