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.