Saturday, August 15, 2009

I went to Mossy Cascade Falls yesterday to shoot some HDR experiments. For those who don't know HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography is a way of capturing a range of tones that are too broad for the gamut of your film or sensor by shooting multiple bracketed images, combining them into to an HDR image and then tonemapping (compressing) the range of tones to fit the gamut of possible tones in a print or on your computer monitor. Some people liken it to Ansel Adams Zone system for digital photography.

The advantage I see to HDR is that it can present a view that more closely approximates what the average person experiences when they visit these places. Photo nuts like me will go and shoot when the light is "right" meaning it is cloudy and could rain at any moment but most folks go these places on "nice" days when the sun is shining so the even tones with no deep shadows or bright highlights captured by us photographers don't really represent what the average person saw but neither do the photos they snap with their pocket P&S cameras because their camera can't handle the range of bright vs dark.

I recently bought software for creating and tonemapping HDR so I wanted to give it a try. I was mostly successful. I could've/should've shot at least one more frame on the underexpose side to pull the brightest highlights into gamut but it was a learning experience and mostly successful. I have a few blown highlights on the left embankment that I'm not crazy about. I'll have to go back another time and try again. Meantime this isn't a bad shot for a first try.

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