IMHO Installment #6: HDR Photography Rocks

17 Mar 2007

IMHO ...

HDR photography (something I'm rather new to, thanks to a Boing Boing post a while back) absolutely mesmerizes, don't you think? Done well, it offers a dose of breathtaking hyper-reality; done poorly, it can be rather kitschy. But, take a look at a few better images snagged from the net. To me, the effect is something like a vivid, almost idealized painting made from a memory or a dream:

Tokyo Nightscape by This Awesome Photographer

The Grotto by This Awesome Photographer.

Cool Paris pic from the Photomatrix site.

Maybe it's just the latest thing -- something that'll get old after a number of views (such as the Magic Eye books from the late 80s / early 90s -- like this shark ). But for now, I'm fascinated with it.

So, what is it? Basically, it takes three exposures (one darker, one normal, one lighter) and blends certain aspects of each, bringing detail to shadowy and/or highlit areas. Of course, it's much more technical than that. I haven't studied it, really; I'm just an admirer at this stage.

While you can in theory accomplish these results with a normal digital camera and just Photoshop, it'd be a hell of a lot of work that way. To make it work optimally, you should have a camera that can take at least three pictures in rapid succession (a feature called AEB), each with a distinct exposure (or virtual f-stop, I guess). My new digital, sadly, doesn't have AEB. Also, you'll need Photoshop and a good HDR rendering program like Photomatrix. So, it's one of those "make a huge investment" things. But, if you've got a good artistic eye and some tech skillz, the results can be spectacular.

Original Comments

Below, are the original comments on this post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On March 18, 2007, wormstooth wrote:

Whoa, you really pissed off Pete! HDR is somehow scary beauty. Sorry about the six figure gig.

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