Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Experimenting with HDR

The other night I was reading about High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. In a nutshell, this is a method where you combine photos of the same object but with varying EV values into a final images with a greater dynamic range of color and luminance. This intrigued me as some of the results were truly stunning. Admittedly, some folks tend to stretch various settings a bit too much, resulting in odd looking images. Still, it's a cool technique and if done subtly, can produce some stunning and very interesting images.

So, I spent a bit of time messing with some images I had taken of the old Lime Mill building around the corner, and then used some HDR freeware entitled "FDRTools". You have to play with the settings a little bit, but after a bit of patience you can get some interesting results. (The combination and layering of files is done really easily and mostly automatically using this software). I took the first picture using the Aperture mode in the camera. For the second, I went down to EV-1, and for the third I went to EV+1.

Below is the original image taken with the D40. It's a nice image, really, and what I would expect when shooting a building like this.

Now, below is the HDR image. Much more vibrant color, more vivid, the sky is more intense and the brickwork stands out much better. This was done with rather conservative settings adjustments.

Just for grins, I ran this series of images through a reasonably priced software package called "Dynamic Photo HDR" which has options for much easier image processing. Pretty good results, too...

So, this is a neat area of DSLR photography and one I am looking forward to exploring more fully...


Jared said...

HDR is a lot of fun! You can add detail or make cartoonish looking images. Either way it allows you to be more artistic with photography...and it's good to use when shooting the moon too :-)

Here's a shot from out at Canyon of the Eagles.

Phil said...

That looks good! HDR is okay, I am not 100% sold on it but interested enough to experiment. Some folks push it too hard and while it might be deemed as artistic, I still like realistic looking images. I guess I'm after realistic, vivid images so maybe HDR can kinda get me there.