Friday, August 29, 2008

High Dynamic Range imaging

The last few days I've been busy learning High Dynamic Range imaging, and the pictures here of buildings in downtown Ontonagon, Michigan, are two early results.

HDR is fairly simple: you take three to five photographs of a subject, all identical except for exposure time -- two f-stops under normal, then one f-stop under normal, then one f-stop at normal, then one f-stop over normal, then two f-stops over normal.

Next, you use special HDR software (I chose Photomatix) to combine all five photos into one. Presto. The result is a picture with highlights and shadow detail you couldn't get with one normal shot. You can also intensify the colors, as I have here, for a more painterly effect. (It works best with photos taken at night.)

Click on the photos for slightly larger and more detailed versions.

If all this has not made your eyes glaze over, you can find out more about HDR photography in the Wikipedia entry.


  1. Are you using the Tonemapping in your Photomatix?


  2. Yes. I'm dialing in just a little more than the default. Is that too much, or not enough?

  3. Ummm it' personal choice really, but i do like the light smoothing to be the second over - ie - give your bulidngs a little more detail.

    what you need to do is really play with every single button/adjustment, not just a little, but a lot. Then scale it down gradually before you settle on something you like.

    A good place to have a look at some HDR's is..

    Click on each collection, then there a links you can follow.
    If this is too confusing try...

    There are 526 pages of HDR's for you to scroll through there.

    You can also find some more tips in the tutorials that people have put in on deviantart.

    There's a few in there.

    I love HDR now and am playing around with heaps - you can see my series of Philly buildings here... - they're on the right hand side (forgive me if I've shown you this before - I'm having blonde moments)