HDR in Practical Use

HDR.  Usually used when the dynamic range of the view extends beyond the range that your sensor or film can capture.

Its also of use when you want to give a real boost to an image.  If you look at the image above, it has a lot of potential but the light is not right.  This is where HDR can be used to really give your picture a boost.

That boost that can give an unearthly feel to an image, or a cartoony feel to an image, depending on how you process the files.

When I saw this view I knew that the unearthly feel that HDR can give would give a fantastic looking image.

For my HDR work I use a product called Photomatix2. I make basic adjustments in Lightroom first then, export the files into Photomatix to combine them and produce the HDR file. It is then imported back into Lightroom.

Photomatix has a number of presets such as Normal, Smooth Skies, Painterly and Gunge. For this I picked Grunge, the most over the top option.

The downside of this option is that while it is capable of fantastic and dramatic images, it really makes the greens go completely outrageous.

After giving the image a few tweaks to make the best out of it I then saved it and took it back into Lightroom to fix the Greens and apply a couple of grad filters to darken the sky and the bottom of the picture. All in all just a few minutes work to produce and image that reflects more closely the emotion of what my eyes saw and not what the original capture produced.

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