HDR: Overused or Not Used Correctly?
by Christopher Foltz
HDR: High Dynamic Range, the process of taking several exposures (-1ev, O, +1ev) of the same shot and merging them to be able to get the full range of light in a scene. This is done usually by taking a bracket shot of 3, 5, or 7 shots but any combination would work.
Here is the thing, I feel it is way too overdone and overused. I hate the people that take a great scene and make it look like a painting instead of a photograph. The reason HDR was created was to make a picture more real life, not fake. There are those who do it as what I would call right and it turns out so wonderfully. So I figured I would give it a try, and have come up with two different scenes using HDR. This is a bit harder for myself because I have to manually set my camera because the D3000 does not have auto bracketing so there is a larger chance of me moving the tripod during the shots, luckily auto-align works well. I used Photoshop for my HDR.
First is a scene from the other night while I was waiting for the Metra at the Lasalle Street Station. I noticed from my shots it was quite dark and if I used a longer exposure it would blow out some highlights pretty bad so that is what make me start to think, can I do this HDR without making the scene look to fake. Here is that attempt:
Not bad for my first attempt I think. I think I should have done five exposures instead of three but hey this was spur of the moment. So last night I decided I would try one of my normal cityscape shots in HDR. I was downtown and decided to take a scene looking south down the Chicago River at the fork by the Chicago Sun-Times building. A beautiful view, the Willis Tower shining its Bears colors for the game on Sunday. Go Packers!!! (I don’t really care since i am a Lions fan, but would rather stop hearing about Da Bears at work.) Here is that composite:
Once again trying to keep the HDR subtle to enhance the scene but not alter it. What do you think?
What are your thoughts on HDR? I know all photographers argue this point and I thought I would give my two cents. Hope everyone has a great weekend!