If you’re a photography enthusiast, you’d have read several articles about HDR. HDR is basically a technique that involves the capturing and post processing of the image in a way that it reveals the widest tonal range (and detail) of that scene. Hence the meaning of High Dynamic Range. It’s been often quoted that the camera has a limited tonal range, only between 5 to 9 f-stops whereas the eyes can see over 24 stops. Aren’t our eyes amazing?! Not forgetting our brains too I might add, since they interpret what the eyes see. Almost makes me wish for a shutter button on my right temple. That way I can capture all the things I see, in actual fidelity. Granted I’d look like a cyborg with that button sticking out! HDR photography is to move the image closer to what we see.
The results of HDR can range from subtle to something that’s unworldly, if you choose to ramp up the fantasy quotient. Which probably explains why there’s an ongoing debate (one that won’t die anytime soon I might add) about the method. I’ve to admit that I once shared the sentiments of the “anti-HDRers” but I’ve seen some amazing results as well and have since stopped participating and even reading about such unproductive threads/discussions about its merits and demerits. Instead I share the sentiments of Scott Bourne. What counts is the final image – the image that people like. And if you’re selling/marketing your photos, that matters, doesn’t it?
I also liken HDR to running speed workouts. It’s interesting and can be fun, yet not something everyone will like. One thing’s for sure though. It will make you better shooter just like speedwork will make you a faster runner. The key to being better at what one does lies in knowing the gamut of genres. As Rick Sammon, one of the Canon Explorer of Light, says that his “specialty is not specializing”.
If the topic of HDR has piqued your interest, do check out the exponents in HDR like Trey Ratcliff whose work ranges from subtle to the more impactful. Or simply Google it or check out the Flickr site. I’m just dipping my toes in HDR so I’m not going to pretend that I know much about the technique. However I know that with HDR, I have the means to expand my image capturing options for scenes that has a wide dynamic range. And when the results of my HDR shots are not so obvious, I can then say “Gotcha!”. Or don’t say anything at all
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