Photos by MJ Klein
“HDR” means “high dynamic range.” If we were talking about audio, it would mean that there is a wide range between the softest and loudest sounds. In photography, it means there is a wide range between light and dark.
Let’s start with this photo. This looks like an ordinary photo taken inside a car of the Taiwan High Speed Rail. It looks perfectly exposed with rich colors and nothing too dark or too light. But notice the window at the far right. There is detail visible out the window, which would normally be entirely washed out. This is an example of a HDR photo, where the details are preserved in the highlights plus the shadows.
I took this shot in my neighborhood. You can see details of the buildings outside in broad daylight, and yet you can still see details inside on the signs under the roof.
This HDR photo is interesting because it was shot almost directly into the sun, and yet you can see deep details of the buildings along the sides. Notice too, that the sky is not washed out. This is only possible with an HDR photo.
In this photo, the sun is very bright on the left side of the frame, and yet there is detail in deep shadow in the middle of the buildings. I could have made it even brighter in the shadow areas if I wanted to, because there is enough range in the HDR photo to play around with. Again, there is nice sky detail, and I did not use a graduated filter on any of these photos.
There are a few more HDR photos in my newly-created HDR photo album on Flickr.
How do you make an HDR photo? That’s a good question. Some cameras have an HDR function so that all you have to do is shoot the photo. I have 2 Nikon cameras that do not have an HDR function. I made these HRD photos out of 3 individual shots per photo and merged them with software. For these photos in this article, I used my Nikon D7000 and “bracketed” the photos – that is, I shot a normally-exposed photo, and under-exposed photo, and an over-exposed photo, and merged them into a single image with software.. Normally I shoot my D7000 with the exposure compensation set for -0.3 because I feel that Nikon cameras over-expose shots and lose detail. I have my bracketing function set to 2 f-stops above and below normal. So when I turn bracketing on, and shoot three photos, the normal shot is exposed at -0.3 and then the under and over-exposed shots are -2 and +2 stops from the starting point of -.03. I hope you follow what I mean! To combine and process these photos, I used Lightroom 6 (standalone version). I should do a separate article on Lr 6 because I’m very disappointed with this version but that’s another story.
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