Thursday 8th August 2013
I’ve been playing around with HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography recently – basically its a method where 3 or more shots of the same scene, at varying exposures, are captured, then combined using computer software, with the resulting image having a greater tonal range than a digital camera can capture in a single exposure. Its not an effect thats to everyones liking, especially if overdone – images can look very ugly.
Traditionally a tripod would be used, as the shots have to be identical – any movement between shots will be rendered as a blur – However, the HDR software that I use (Nik Software’s HDR-Efex) examines each image and attempts to line them up. If the photographer has a steady hand it is possible to capture images hand-held that give perfectly acceptable results.
So – I took a walk along the Walsall canal on a bright sunny day, with plenty of fluffy white clouds in a blue sky. All digital cameras struggle to capture scenes like this faithfully, as their sensors lack sufficient dynamic range to capture the full range of tones, from the darkest greys to the brightest whites. The photographer ends up having to compromise – either under-exposing to capture detail in bright object such as clouds (which has the unwanted side-effect of detail in darker areas of the image being lost), or over-exposing to capture detail in shadowy areas, which will cause bright areas in the frame to be “blown” (over exposed, and rendered white, losing all detail).
These are the results of my fooling around – each image is a composite of 3 shots taken at 2 stop intervals (-2EV, 0EV and +2EV) which were imported into Aperture and processed with the HDR-Efex plugin. As I’ve said, not everyone is a fan of this technique, particularly if it is overdone, which is quite often the case. I’m experimenting – I’d like to use the technique to get images that have way more detail and range of tones than a dSLR can capture in a single image, but still look natural. Its a balancing act, and its all to easy to fall – either overdoing it, or being too subtle . . . . .
Feel free to click on any image to view it in Flckr.