My first HDR photo

Most of you are probably asking what HDR means. I actually asked myself that when writing this blog, because while I know what an HDR photo looks like, I always forget what it stands for:

High Dynamic Range Imaging…or HDR (the “i” gets dropped) Read more here if you want to learn the details.

The simple explanation is a merging of multiple images of one scene shot at different lighting levels. Some cameras can take many photos in a row and do something called “bracketing” where it will alternate between lightning levels. You then take those images and combine them using software and tone mapping.

I’ll explain it below by showing first the three images I took in rapid succession, followed up by the completed product.

The key to HDR images is to make sure you scene has enough contrast to really take advantage of what HDR gives you. When I was in Springfield taking sunset photos, I realized that coupled with the clouds, this might be a great HDR photo.

I hit the nail on the head with this one.

So here are the first three images, taken at different levels (+2, 0, -2 EV):




Apart, all three are pretty boring and don’t show much detail. The purpose of taking three shots (or more depending) is to capture all the possible lighting details in a scene or subject. Sometimes there are so many details that one photo wont see, so doing an HDR opens up a whole new world.

The result tends to be a photo that looks other-worldly or almost fantasy-like. Some HDR photos can be very subtle, others can be insane.

So here is the finished product after I combined all three photos using Photomatix and tweaking the look a bit:


Pretty cool huh? I’m so proud of this photo…I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been wanting to create one of these.

If you want to check out more HDR photos, just Google it, or check out the links below.



HDR 3 (this one is pretty friggin’ amazing)

4 replies
  1. Gramma Karen
    Gramma Karen says:

    Of course, I am slower at seeing all your wonderful stuff … but wow … this is incredible! Mike, I can’t wait for all of you to visit and do your “experimenting” on our fam!

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