Playing with HDR

Lately I’ve been trying out some new photographic techniques. One of them is HDR (High Dynamic Range photography) As I understand it, this is usually accomplished by combining multiple exposures at different stops and digitally combining the best parts. This allows you to get details in both shadows and bright spots. It is becoming much more common as you see these fantastic skyline pictures showing up all over the internet. For my first attempt I cheated a little bit. I took a single shot and adjusted the exposure in Aperture to make a high, medium, and low exposure version. I then exported the versions and did the HDR work on those three versions.

The original shot …

California Adventure before HDR 400.jpg

After HDR adjustments …

California Adventure Falls 400.jpg

It certainly fixed the trees in the shadows but I actually prefer the non-HDR shot. This is probably due to operator error more than anything else. If things go according to plan, I am going to Hawaii this summer and I definitely want to get this figured out before that happens.

20 Comments Playing with HDR

  1. finis@technoesq.com

    The reason it didn’t work well is because you have to take the three pictures with different settings so that you acquire all of the “data” from the image. This data is the detail from each setting. Thus obtaining all of the information in the high, med and low ranges and then using HDR to merge the best from each.

    Reply
  2. finis@technoesq.com

    The reason it didn’t work well is because you have to take the three pictures with different settings so that you acquire all of the “data” from the image. This data is the detail from each setting. Thus obtaining all of the information in the high, med and low ranges and then using HDR to merge the best from each.

    Reply
  3. finis@technoesq.com

    The reason it didn’t work well is because you have to take the three pictures with different settings so that you acquire all of the “data” from the image. This data is the detail from each setting. Thus obtaining all of the information in the high, med and low ranges and then using HDR to merge the best from each.

    Reply
  4. finis@technoesq.com

    The reason it didn’t work well is because you have to take the three pictures with different settings so that you acquire all of the “data” from the image. This data is the detail from each setting. Thus obtaining all of the information in the high, med and low ranges and then using HDR to merge the best from each.

    Reply
  5. finis@technoesq.com

    The reason it didn’t work well is because you have to take the three pictures with different settings so that you acquire all of the “data” from the image. This data is the detail from each setting. Thus obtaining all of the information in the high, med and low ranges and then using HDR to merge the best from each.

    Reply
  6. anthonyjross@mac.com

    I think Finis Price’s comment is correct but I would only add that is why it did not work AS WELL as it could have with the additional raw data. I am at the office on on poor display but it looks like the adjusted image does have more detail, especially in the dark areas, even if the final image is not as pleasing to you. As usual, I will follow your further experiments with interest as this is something I have not played much with.

    Reply
  7. anthonyjross@mac.com

    I think Finis Price’s comment is correct but I would only add that is why it did not work AS WELL as it could have with the additional raw data. I am at the office on on poor display but it looks like the adjusted image does have more detail, especially in the dark areas, even if the final image is not as pleasing to you. As usual, I will follow your further experiments with interest as this is something I have not played much with.

    Reply
  8. anthonyjross@mac.com

    I think Finis Price’s comment is correct but I would only add that is why it did not work AS WELL as it could have with the additional raw data. I am at the office on on poor display but it looks like the adjusted image does have more detail, especially in the dark areas, even if the final image is not as pleasing to you. As usual, I will follow your further experiments with interest as this is something I have not played much with.

    Reply
  9. anthonyjross@mac.com

    I think Finis Price’s comment is correct but I would only add that is why it did not work AS WELL as it could have with the additional raw data. I am at the office on on poor display but it looks like the adjusted image does have more detail, especially in the dark areas, even if the final image is not as pleasing to you. As usual, I will follow your further experiments with interest as this is something I have not played much with.

    Reply
  10. anthonyjross@mac.com

    I think Finis Price’s comment is correct but I would only add that is why it did not work AS WELL as it could have with the additional raw data. I am at the office on on poor display but it looks like the adjusted image does have more detail, especially in the dark areas, even if the final image is not as pleasing to you. As usual, I will follow your further experiments with interest as this is something I have not played much with.

    Reply
  11. david@macsparky.com

    @Finnis
    You are probably right. I knew I was cheating a bit but it was a raw image with a lot of data in it. Still I think this method should be doable especially for photos with things that move in them like people. If you take three exposures of something moving, I don’t think the traditional HDR method would work. I think a lot of the problems come down to me not getting the settings right. I’ll get better at it. I’m slow but relentless.

    Reply
  12. david@macsparky.com

    @Finnis
    You are probably right. I knew I was cheating a bit but it was a raw image with a lot of data in it. Still I think this method should be doable especially for photos with things that move in them like people. If you take three exposures of something moving, I don’t think the traditional HDR method would work. I think a lot of the problems come down to me not getting the settings right. I’ll get better at it. I’m slow but relentless.

    Reply
  13. david@macsparky.com

    @Finnis
    You are probably right. I knew I was cheating a bit but it was a raw image with a lot of data in it. Still I think this method should be doable especially for photos with things that move in them like people. If you take three exposures of something moving, I don’t think the traditional HDR method would work. I think a lot of the problems come down to me not getting the settings right. I’ll get better at it. I’m slow but relentless.

    Reply
  14. david@macsparky.com

    @Finnis
    You are probably right. I knew I was cheating a bit but it was a raw image with a lot of data in it. Still I think this method should be doable especially for photos with things that move in them like people. If you take three exposures of something moving, I don’t think the traditional HDR method would work. I think a lot of the problems come down to me not getting the settings right. I’ll get better at it. I’m slow but relentless.

    Reply
  15. david@macsparky.com

    @Finnis
    You are probably right. I knew I was cheating a bit but it was a raw image with a lot of data in it. Still I think this method should be doable especially for photos with things that move in them like people. If you take three exposures of something moving, I don’t think the traditional HDR method would work. I think a lot of the problems come down to me not getting the settings right. I’ll get better at it. I’m slow but relentless.

    Reply

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