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I’ve been spending a fair amount of time recently trying to get better at HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography. Scientifically speaking, it’s where you take multiple exposures of a scene,  to make sure that you can expose correctly for the bright bits (sunlight, car lights, fire, neon lights at a strip mall) and the dark bits (shade, dark alleys and so on) and then combine them into one image spanning a full range of detail with no blown out highlights or black underexposed bits.  For those not prone to scientifically speaking, think of it as filling your camera with reality-affecting drugs and taking the photos that result.

Boats on the Vilanculo shore. HDR-style

Boats on the Vilanculo shore. HDR-style

This was an initial first attempt. There was not a huge deal of range between the brightest and darkest elements of the picture, but the other benefit of HDR appears to be that you can get superb detail where simply using a contrast tool would not really cut it. Which also made me realise that this boat actually appears to have a number of bullet holes in the bow. Who knew?

The road to Oudshoorn through the Karoo, as it would appear to a mildly trippy camera

The road to Oudshoorn through the Karoo, as it would appear to a mildly trippy camera

Attempt number two came out a little bit better, as the sun setting off to the right caused a pretty large range in the light (it was setting behind the Swartberg mountains, whose shadow affected some of the light levels on the ground, while the sun performed its magic on the clouds). This image comes from a single RAW file resampled into three new images (over-, under- and as-it-was-exposed) which then formed the basis of the actual HDR composite. I really should have used the tripod, but it was cold, and we had many miles yet to travel so that we could make it to Oudshoorn with enough time to stop on the roadside and watch one of our number chase lambs through the fields.