I enjoyed a photo workshop on Landscape photography last weekend which I’ll share more about in the coming weeks. One of the techniques the presenter went over was how to create a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image from a series of photographs. The series consists of photos where the exposures are altered to cover a difficult lighting situation. While I got acceptable single shot exposures the night I took these, I think the final result shows the potential of this technique.

I used the Photomatix Plug-in for Aperture 2 to create the HDR image from the above three images which were all taken at ISO 200, f/22, EV +0.3 with photo 1 at 5 seconds shutter speed, photo 2 at 8 seconds and photo 3 at 15 seconds. Oh, I did clean up the left corner a little, too.

HDR image of the Oswego Power Plant on Lake Ontario.

HDR image of the Oswego Power Plant on Lake Ontario.

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25 Responses to HDR Fun

  1. Jared Earle says:

    Excellent work! It’s a strong technique when used subtly, like you did above.

    Oh, and thanks for the link to my blog. I hope to see more of your stuff in the future.


    • You’re welcome, Jared! I, too, like HDR images that allow for a greater exposure range than the over-to-top processing. However, I have seen some which go beyond photography into the realm of original art. I might explore those techniques given the right subject.


  2. sorrentolens says:

    Great photo Scott! I’ll give your technique a try. Thanks.


  3. Gerry says:

    I wrote a thoughtful comment and lost it when I hit the wrong key. It was brilliant, but now I’ve forgotten how it went. Something about artists always finding new ways to use tools and materials. The vision is the important thing. Thus a shimmering, mystical power plant.


    • Bummer, Gerry, but I like what you did remember. Thank you!

      I know when this was being showed, it was mentioned HDR was a way of cheating. It’s not as film developers have been doing this kind of thing in darkrooms for years and year. This is just the digital version.


  4. It turned out great! HDR is something still on my list to try.


    • Oh, HDR flower photos would be tres cool.


      • Jared Earle says:

        Flowers and other subjects where the light is quite flat and uniform are not good subjects for HDR. You’re looking for subjects with lots of blown-out highlights or deep black shadows, or scenes where there are large areas of light and dark.

        For instance, this Loch Laidon HDR photo would eitherhave white sky or black beach. The HDR enhances the dynamic range and the Tone Mapping locally flattens it so the light areas have depth at the same time as the dark areas.

        If you want to have some fun, once you’ve got the hang of it, try doing black and white HDR photos.


  5. yesbuts says:

    What a breathtaking final image, I can’t take my eyes off the reflection and the rocks in the foreground. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.


  6. I really enjoy HDR. HDR puts depth and draws out intense color such as in your photo above. Your photo is beautiful. Some photos have way too much halo effect in it.


    • I made lots of adjustments and started over a few times until I got what I was looking for, Preston. The photos weren’t as far apart in exposure as I would have wanted. I’ll keep my eye out for subjects which lend themselves to using HDR in the future.


  7. giiid says:

    Realy a facinating and beautiful result! Thank you for the link, I am curious to learn more about this.


  8. montucky says:

    That sure did make a gorgeous image!


  9. Well done as always, Scott. I plan on taking a HDR workshop on the 24th. I hope my results approach the quality of yours. I’ve always been frustrated that my camera can’t reproduce all of the tones that I see. Now, maybe it can!


  10. Andy Calnan says:

    Nice shot! Take a look at some of my HDRs, I span the gamut from slight HDR processing to what you call “original works of art” hehe. I’m going to have to use that some time.

    Keep up the good work, just remember, not every image needs a lot of HDR, but most of them will look better with a bit of it 🙂



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  12. davecandoit says:

    Man alive, what a fabulous shot. I love industrial photos, especially when they are juxtaposed with nature and “soft” elements. And the HDR treatment simply takes it up a notch. Well done.


  13. Bo Mackison says:

    This is one of the best explanations of HDR used to enhance photos without going overboard. Nice to see you’re using an Aperture plug-in, too. I always appreciate info for Aperture.


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