I am not a photographer, at least not by trade. However, I thoroughly enjoy documenting my life whether it’s my latest dinner creation, something I have ordered out, an interesting sign, an oddly large Adirondack chair in Key West, a sunset via progression shots, or family and friend filled memories. I have always had a great respect for awesome photographs consumed by nature or amazing city scenes and I suppose I love these shots because I simply love seeing the world. I love seeing the world through my own eyes and through those of others. My newest discovery is seeing the world in ultra vivid color with crazy details that most human eyes overlook. These new visions have come to me in the form of HDR Photography and I am in love. Therefore, I feel that the world, at least those who are unaware, need to become aware, and will then fall in love with HDR Photography too!!
I was first introduced to HDR Photography by my Uncle, Glenn Spiro. He has a 9-5 but enjoys photography in his free time- whether it being scenery or subjects. He sent me the link to a blog site called Stuck In Customs and since then I have been sending this link to everyone I know. My Uncle recently started dabbling with HDR methods himself and I am excited to watch his progress. His latest HDR Photo is from a local square in Boston and truly give this North End square a new life.
You’ve probably seen this type of photo 100 times, but never knew it had a name. Now you can search and find new screen savers, wall art, coffee table books, or start a new hobby. Please read on to understand the basics, see some of my favorite links, some of my favorite HDR Photographs, and some of the most talented Photographers that I have encountered on my mission to share my latest obsession and discovery with the world!
Thanks to Trey Ratcliff the talented photographer and writer behind Stuck In Customs, I have been able to learn more about HDR Photography, understand the process, and view daily posts that contain new and inspiring images. As taken from Trey’s Blog, HDR is an acronym for High Dynamic Range. It is a post-processing task of taking either one image or a series of images, combining them, and adjusting the contrast ratios to do things that are virtually impossible with a single aperture and shutter speed. Trey says that the HDR process helps the photos look more evocative… and I agree. Simply put, when you use a tripod, take multiple exposures of one scene, being sure to capture various levels of exposure from under to over exposed images, and merge them together, your HDR Photo will be the result after applying a tone mapping technique. Tone mapping reduces the dynamic range, or contrast ratio, of the entire image, while retaining localized contrast (between neighboring pixels). The best pixels from each of your individual photos will be displayed and the result is smooth contrast displayed with incredible detail in the highlights, mid-tones, and shadows.
An example of various exposure levels and the merged finished product (Taken from Wikipedia)
Some of my favorite HDR Photographs:
Here is the original, non-HDR version of the Golden Gate Bridge.
(vgm8383 on Flickr)
Here is an HDR version of the Golden Gate Bridge during a break in a 3 day storm that hit San Francisco.
(vgm8383 on Flickr)
HDR Time Lapse (Courtesy of sqbbe on Youtube)
HDR time lapse sequences made from 7.545 shots. HDR’s batch edited in Photomatix. Video made with Quick Time Pro and Adobe Premiere Elements.
It hardly seems realistic, but any camera that allows manual over- or under-exposure of a photo can be used to create HDR images!
Some of my favorite HDR Sites and Image Galleries:
This is a great blog which has awesome photos and the stories to go with them. Trey promotes contests, shares his interests, photos, and videos. He also has a Newsletter that I highly recommend you sign up for!
Here is the Link to the HDR Tutorial on Stuck In Customs!
The HDR Spotting Gallery is one to get lost in. Every image that you look at seems better and better from the last. HDR Spotting offers Tutorials, Software, and most importantly, their gallery.
HDR Spotting is designed to be a next-generation gallery for an emerging group of photographers. This site was started because long-time friends and photographers Trey Ratcliff (for more on Trey visit www.stuckincustoms.com) and Denis Khoo saw an intense desire on behalf of HDR Photographers to get their work noticed and to drive more traffic to their sites.
Their mission is to create an environment that allows HDR Photographers to share their best work and drive people to their respective websites. HDR Spotting is designed to:
- Make it easy and beautiful to scan many HDR Photos at once
- Provide an environment that encourages readers to go visit the blogs, portfolios, etc of the photographers that contribute
- Provide a fun community that can be focused and provide feedback via views and comments
HDR Spotting is a basic free service. The site generates income from advertising, which they want to make as unobtrusive and pertinent as possible.
Contributing is easy! Simply enter your information. You maintain the rights to everything… If your photo is good enough, people will click on it to find out more and maybe jump right over to your blog, portfolio, or wherever you wish. HDR Spotting has a human-team (not AI) that will look through the submissions to make sure no one is posting crass ads or porn or anything.
Cambridge in Colour was started in 2005, and has since grown substantially both in content and in the number of visitors it attracts. On any given day this site has well over 10,000 different people learning about photography, viewing the gallery and contributing to the forums
This HDR Post on this site makes the HDR process seem really easy and it also has a great tutorial. I would recommend visiting this site if you are looking to further understand HDR Photography or want to try it out yourself. They have some helpful screenshots, links, and a place for discussion.
This Blog was sent to me by David Santos. 2 Experts Design is a creative and graphic design resources blog that aims to provide readers to wide variety of resources such as graphic design, logo design, web design, advertising, branding, typography, other graphic and web designer portfolio, blogging in general, resourceful material, useful tips, tutorials, photography, colour, marketing and much more. The HDR post has a great example of before photos and the after result. Please see below:
This Blog was also sent to me by David Santos. As a web designer he loves Smashing Magazine because “they always have great tutorials, free information, and tools for designers to use in their work like brushes, patterns, icons, etc.”
Smashing Magazine was founded in September 2006 and it delivers useful and innovative information to Web designers and developers. Their aim is to inform their readers about the latest trends and techniques in Web development. They try to convince you not with the quantity but with the quality of the information we present.
Nourished by the gratitude of its benefactors and powered by the reach of social networking, this community has produced a wide variety of high-quality articles, resources and tools, available to everybody. Every single contribution supports the entire community, and the community supports these contributors with traffic and word-of-mouth advertising: the networking effect at its best.
The HDR post utilized from Smashing Magazine displays 35 extremely beautiful and perfectly executed HDR-pictures. Some of them might look surreal, too colorful, even magic or fake, but they are not — keep in mind that they’ve all been developed out of usual photos, and not a single image is an illustration.