Sunday, November 14, 2010

High Dynamic Range photography

As promised I have now created some High Dynamic Range (HDR) images that I can be proud of.  I have been fascinated with this aspect of photography for quite some time.  While the technique is not difficult to understand or use, it does require some planning.

First you need a camera that is capable of bracketed exposures.  Next you need a good tripod with the appropriate remote cable for your camera and you are ready.  Use whatever lens gives you the field of view you are looking for.

A very good tutorial on HDR photography is this one

HDR Tutorial – Everything you need to know about HDR Photography

I used this tutorial myself to get started, I read my camera manual to set up my Nikon D90 and set out to find some good content with alot of dynamic range.  Generally this means that the image you are composing has alot of bright, dark and normally lit areas.  The human eye can distinguish more dynamic range than most camera sensors can capture.  This is why an image will sometimes not have the impact that you remember or why an image seems to have too bright or too dark areas.

As you compose the shot on your tripod, focus on the entire area.  You will be shooting with a fixed aperture as you do not want to change the depth of field.  For this shot I used my Nikon D90 and my Tokina 11-16mm wide angle lens to gather as much of the room as possible.  The bracketed exposure is shot in a group of three, one is 2 f-stops below the average metered light, one at the meter and the last one is 2 f-stops over the meter.

Now that you have your three exposures, you need to merge them.  Adobe Photoshop can do this as well as several other programs.  I am using a piece of software that is free, until my skills improve.  The piece of software I used for this image is Picturenaut.

I followed the instructions to merge my three images, remove ghosts and tone map the image and this is how it came out.

Smithsonian Castle interior
  Hope you enjoy the image, I have several others on my website taken at the Smithsonian, I am going to continue to work on this technique as I really enjoy the resulting image.  The beautiful tone of the stone and the impact of the range of light is very pleasing to my eye.

Until next time, keep shooting.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting how colored stone can look like highly-polished dark wood. Thanks for the heads-up on Picturenaut.

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