As we talked about on the 88th episode of The Digital Photography Show, I recently began my first foray into the wonderful world of HDR.
A number of things spurred me to try my hand at this new way of processing my images: the urgings of my co-host Michael, the terrific examples of show-friend Jeff Revell, and an inspirational email from listener Laurence W.
I'm also fortunate enough to to have an account with xTrain, which has a fantastic online training course taught by Ben Wilmore. After watching that class, and downloading Photomatix's software, I was ready to tackle my first HDRs. How did they turn out? Here's one; follow the jump to see more.
When you get into HDR -as Ben Gilmore so expertly demonstrates on his xTrain course, you can manipulate the image to look fairly realistic or more illustrative. The above image was kind of a fanciful one. I purposefully left some darker shadows on the right to add a little mystery to the show - I could have brought up all that shadow detail with Photomatix.
Since HDR's involve multiple exposures, people don't make the best subjects for them. Not, at least, if they're moving. If you look at my two kids, you'll see one's head is kind of ghosted, while the other has two faces. (In real life, he only has one.)
Of course, if your subject's a bit of a slacker, like this guy, he won't move enough to be a problem.
I asked Michael which of the following pictures he liked most - he suggested I include them all, so that you could get a sense of how much you can manipulate an HDR to look as true-to-life or manipulated as you want.
If you want to try HDR's, you can download a Photomatix trial for free. If you want to buy it, you can use the code negotiated by Ben Wilmore "digitalmastery" to save 15%. If you want to take Ben's highly recommended class, visit xTrain through this link to save 15%.
BTW, all the above shots were taken handheld. with the Canon EOS 1D Mark III. With it's incredibly fast shutter speed and the ability to very quickly dial in exposure bracketing, it's a great camera for handheld HDR. Which is good for me, because I hate schlepping around a tripod.