Your Eyes See in HDR but the Camera Can’t
(at least, not without your help)
Your eyes see in High Dynamic Range (HDR) but the camera is typically set for one focal distance and exposure. As a result a standard photograph shows only a part of the information in a scene. A photographer can capture high dynamic range images, but in order to capture it you must do more than just release the shutter. By stabilzing the camera in a tripod to insure sharp focus, then taking a series of images with the same aperture opening but different shutter speeds, then blending them together, it’s possible to have a photograph that appears more like what the unaided human eye actually sees. Here’s an example taken inside the 19th century wharf house at the Kjerringoy trading post north of Bodo, Norway.HDR images let you see into normally dark corners, look inside the glass museum case, and even see mountain scenery far outside and beyond the open window. HDR does justice to this World Heritage Site as well as what the traveler might actually remember from being there. So, how is it done?
I use a Canon dSLR for HDR. By setting auto exposure bracketing (AEB) 1/3, 1/2 or 1 full f-stop between each Av Aperture Priority exposure the camera automatically takes three images. A complex scene like the one above requires six or more evenly spaced exposures which can be achieved by rolling the camera’s Main Dial to the next sequence of f-stops. There are software packages, stand-alone as well as plugins, to “create” the final image. But I prefer to choose the best from each individual exposure and then “paint” that information to a new master layer. Here are some other examples of HDR photography that show the depth of detail beyond a typical photograph.
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