First Attempt at HDR

October last year, I headed out with my camera, my 24-135mm, and a tripod for my first attempt at a high dynamic range (HDR) photo. I really like the architecture of the library at the University of Oklahoma, especially at night when the lights are lighting up the building in so many different ways.\

Originally I was very pleased when I was looking at the back of the camera, but as you learn very fast with digital cameras is that the preview on the back of the camera looks far better in many circumstances than the final outcome (though there are exceptions). As I said, I was pleased and with several exposures for every angle I could find interesting (and some additional ones), I headed home after about 3 hours in the cold.

Being my first attempt at HDR, I didn’t really know how to go about it on the software side… I have Photoshop and Aperture, but after playing around with it for a while, I didn’t really feel comfortable with Photoshop’s HDR feature. As a result I downloaded both Hydra Pro and Photomatix as these are applications designed for HDR photography. I could sum it all up and say that HDR is not as easy as it looks, not in my opinion anyways… However, I found that Hydra Pro aims to give you a finished product while Photomatix gives you an image that is well exposed, but needs some more work in a more suited environment, like Aperture. The end result I came up with, I am not too pleased with, I don’t like the trees, nor do I like the colors… But practice makes perfect, and I will only keep on going and try again to see if I can get something better.

So lets move on to the interesting part; what is the photo made up of?

The HDR image is made up of 5 exposures that all had the EXIF

  • ISO: 500
  • f/8

But the shutterspeed of the exposures were 1, 4, 8, 15, and 30 seconds, making for a good variety in the amount of light that got captured.

In post production, it was mostly just a lot of trying and failing until I ended up with something that I was okay with. At that point it was time to bring it over to Aperture to continue the trial and error…

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

Leave a Reply