HDR Photography


High Dynamic Range photography is very new to me, and a concept I’ve been hearing a lot about over the recent years.  As you may know, I shoot things occasionally, most notably when travelling.  I’ve yet to really hone my photography craft though, until recently when I decided to read up on a few more advanced topics.

Consequently, I’m planning on a few entries here on Sanders Technology about HDR Photography and also IR (Infrared) Photography – once I am able to purchase some IR filters!

This weekend, I’ve been playing with some HDR software (Photomatix Pro 4.0) which allows you to knit together bracketed photos in both raw and JPEG formats.  Luckily, whilst I was travelling and touring in Rome, Italy last year due to lighting conditions, I shot a lot of photos with AE (automatic exposure) bracketing so I have a good source of photos to practice with.

Trajan's Marketplace   Having only just started to dip into the topic, I
   managed to produce the following photo of Trajan’s
   Marketplace using a Black and White filter.

   As you can see here, the main outcome is that both 
  the foreground and background contracts have been 
  successfully melded, and – in particular – the  
  foreground has a lot more detail than you’d normally  
  expect considering the exposure at the time of
  shooting the photo.

 

Roman ForumFor my second attempt, I took a high colour
bracketed set of photos of the Roman Forum and used
a grunge effect to produce a HDR image which looks like a painting. 
  
This was shot with a good amount of light, as such
the bracketing doesn’t vary as widely as in the 
previous photo of Trajan’s marketplace. 

There is a lot of noise, especially in the sky, however softening the image also results in losing the painting-like definition.

romanforum2_tonemapped

  I’ve added a third photo, in my attempts to lighten
  and soften the effect.  This is a second bracketed
  photo taken shortly after the one above.

  Although it lacks the deeper colours, the photo comes
  out more natural, if subdued slightly.

  I’m also including resized copies of the source photos,
  for comparison – they are linked at the bottom of this
  article.

 

Anyhow, this is something new for me and hopefully as I learn, my results will be better!  I’m sure it’ll take some time to find the optimal settings for everyday shooting.  Check back soon for more on these interesting photographic techniques.

Lastly, a bonus (I’ve been messing around with non-bracketed photos) and managed to form this nice HDR of the China pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai.

China Pavilion

Original (Source) Bracketed Photos – Resized

P8205113P8205114 P8205115

P8194822 P8194823 P8194824

P8194825 P8194826 P8194827

P9300003 P9300004


About Rob Sanders

IT Professional and TOGAF 9 certified architect with nearly two decades of industry experience, 18 years in commercial software development and 11 years in IT consulting. Check out the "About Rob" page for more information.

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