HDR photography: the first pictures

I know that there are lots of people that don’t like high dynamic range imaging (HDR) photography or HDR edited pictures – but for now, I don’t know in which group I belong. I might be a fan, I might be someone who hates HDR, but I don’t know yet. For now I am just experimenting with it.

HDR is a post-processing task of taking either one image or a series of images, combining them and adjusting the contrast ratios to bring out highlights and shadows at the same time. It is meant to be much closer to what we actually see with our eyes. Sometimes the pictures can feel ‘fake’ because the effect can be too strong.

I just started to learn how to shoot HDR pictures manually and assemble them on my computer with photomatix pro. I am still playing with it and I don’t even know 25% of all the settings, but so far it has been quite fun.

I don’t like the pictures that are too saturated in colour. But what I like is that in the programme you can add some more contrast. I’ve been playing around with some of my existing photos, like this bike in a house entrance in Tai O or the lanterns that we saw on our Lantau Trail stage 7 hike. Personally, I don’t think it is too obvious that the pictures have been HDR shot and edited.

The next picture shows the garden on top of the IFC and yes, this one looks more like an HDR shot and edited picture.

The bright colours give the HDR editing away. In fact, this is the first of the manual pictures, where I shot 8 different pictures, all from the same location and with the same aperture, but with different shutter speeds and hence different exposures. Some were under- and others were overexposed. But editing them turned them into a strong HDR shot with more depth and colour.

This example is the opposite – it is much less lively, with more subtle colours. The buildings in Hong Kong tend to be more gray and colourless, and together with a gray sky the result can be quite dull. However, there are a few colourful houses in Sheung Wan, which added a little life to this picture.

Finally, the most obvious edited picture is the one above – and it includes some ghosts! It was shot with a tripod standing in Sheung Wan and the moving people (across the 8 shots) caused the blur in the picture, which looks likes ghosts crossing the road. I like it because it adds character and is different, don’t you agree?

If you are a fan of HDR pictures, check out http://www.stuckincustoms.com/ which is full of interesting pictures.

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