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Combining Starbursts and HDR

Using HDR in the image below allowed me to reveal the details of the machinery as well as the colors of the sky.
I shot the image using 14-24mm lens at f/11.

Editors Note: This post builds upon Levi’s earlier post on Starbursts.

When you include the sun in you composition, you have framed a scene with a very high dynamic range–shadows facing you and full sunso HDR software is ideal for making a picture revealing the whole scene.

The sunrise through the trees and the Canyonlands sunset above are both HDR composites. If not, they would both be silhouettes. Check out Rich and Scott’s excellent book on HDR to learn how it can work for you.

One Part Starburst + One Part Golden Hour

I gotta come clean. That image at the top of this post is not only HDR, but it’s a combination of two HDR images. The thing is, the starburst on the sun happens at ground level, while the rich color in the clouds happens several minutes later as the sun sets at the higher altitude. So, for this one I combined the good sunburst with the Kodachrome clouds. I used exactly the same technique that I demonstrated previously in this video.

Here are the two images I combined–note that I didn’t move my tripod in between; that would have made things difficult.

The first image captures the sun using a starburst exposure. This adds drama and lens flares to accentuate the sun.

hdrburst2
The second image shot a few moments later shows more dramatic color in the sky.
hdrburst3
Combined they equal the result I desired.
Disclaimer: The ideas presented here are just some of the ways to pull off this technique. Combine them with your own photo knowledge to achieve the best results.
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