Post and photo by Rick Sammon

Post and photo by Rick Sammon

You can read more about, Photomatix, Topaz Adjust and HDR images (and get discounts on some HDR programs) at www.pluginexperience.com.

Why do I love HDR photography? Let me count the ways.

One) It is a good exercise (and fun) to see the different brightness levels on a scene – and make exposures for all of them. That exercise, no matter what type of picture we are taking, makes us better photographers – because it helps us to see the light.

For the image here, I took exposures at these exposure compensation settings: 0, -1, -2, +1. +2, +3 and +4. The idea was to open up most of the shadows and tone down most of the highlights. Why not all the shadows and highlights: light illuminates, shadows define.

Two) HDR images, without creative detail enhancements, can make image look as a scene looks to our eyes – because a single image does not have the dynamic range of our eyes (about 11 f-stops compared to about 6 stops in a digital camera).

Three) Add creative enhancements, as I did here using both Photomatix and Topaz Adjust, and we can create artistic images with depth, detail and of course a high dynamic range.

Four) We can impress our friends with our images.

Five) We can awaken the artist within by picturing the world differently from other photographers. Within both Photomatix and Topaz Adjust, there are dozens of creative adjustments. Add the adjustments we can make in Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture, and the creative possibilities are endless.

HDR is not really new. It’s been around for years for movie makers. What’s more, if you think about it, Ansel Adams and other print makers (including Karsh of Ottawa) created HDR images in the digital darkroom using different papers, chemicals, filters, developing times, and of course dodging and burning.

Quick HDR tips:

- Use a tripod.
- Basic exposure compensation settings: 0, +2, –2. The greater the contrast range, the more you need to bracket your exposures.
- Don’t change your aperture. Bracket with your shutter speed.
- Manual focus.
- Set white balance for scene. Don’t use Auto.
- Have fun. Seriously. Play with all the slider controls.

If you have not giving HDR imaging a try, whatcha waitin’ for?

This post sponsored by ExpoImaging