As I’d bugger all fuel in the car to go further afield, I decided to nip across the road into the woods and do some HDR work. Naturally, (or should that be un-naturally?) anything that has had the HDR treatment tends to look a little too rich and over-saturated, and whilst I have added a little saturation to some of these shots, they are not too far from the normal. I worked with them in Photomatix Pro using the ‘Tonemapping>Details Enhancer’ settings; using ‘Contrast Adjustments’ made the shots too dark.
The majority of shots were merged from five exposures with around three stops between each exposure. I haven’t done much HDR work to be honest, so I still have a lot to learn, but I understand the concepts that surround it. For those that don’t, here’s a very basic explanation.
HDR (High Dynamic Range), means precisely that. The resulting images when merged allow more range between the light, darks and shadows within the image; more akin to what our own eyes actually see, and not the camera sensor. Ideally, you would shoot a minimum of three exposures at different stops; basically, how big or small the camera aperture is; bigger for more light, smaller for less and how long the aperture is ‘open for’.
Well, those shots you see of nice, dreamy water surfaces giving the impression of movement? Those are taken by allowing more light on to the sensor, i.e., leaving the shutter open for longer, say for 1 second or more. Conversely, pictures of water frozen in action, say a water droplet splashing on to a surface, are shot with a much faster shutter speed, letting in less light, so in excess of 1/500th of a second.
This ‘dreamy’ effect on the water can still be gained with HDR, as one or two exposures will still be shot at a slower shutter speed (to capture the ‘lights’). These are then all merged, or laid on top of each other in layman terms, to create one, HDR image. This is then ‘tone mapped’ to your liking; they can either be realistic looking or very surreal, like a painting, but this depends on your taste and what you want to achieve.
So without further a do-da, here’s the results or my labours. All shot from between 7.30pm and 9:00pm to catch the setting sun’s colours.
As I made to leave, the sun was giving this lightning destroyed tree a nice red colour, so I quickly set up the camera and tripod again and got one more in:
So there you have it folks. I hope you enjoyed these and I appreciate any feedback.