HDR Imaging has become quite popular. For some, it represents a novelty; for others, creative process; and to me, “a sensor with a huge dynamic range.” The images you see on many HDR fora on various photo sharing sites mostly depict choked highlights and watered-down shadows, most of the image information falling into the mid-range. I do not quite understand this sensibility with halos around transition, pastel colors, and mid-range tonality. To me, HDR is an opportunity to better represent reality, with detailed highlights and shadows.
HDR Means High Dynamic Range
I have been using a variant of this method for quite some time. Earlier, the process was manual involving two exposures for highlights and shadows that were blended in Photoshop through layer masks. The new tools made this process far more efficient and effective. To share my experiences with HDR imaging with my friends at PSRI, I made a presentation on October 20, 2009. I demonstrated the old methods and the new tools which make them far more convenient and powerful to use.
HDR Imaging Requires Restraint
My main tool for HDRI is Photomatix Pro Plus from HDR Soft. The part that is missing from the slides below will be the actual step-by-step instructions on how to bring the properly exposed series of photographs into Photomatix, create an HDR file, and subsequent tone mapping. My approach to all this is one of realistic representation of the scene rather than a result that is a more surrealistic effect.
Below is the printable PDF file of them.