Thursday, January 20, 2011

You can stop holding your breath now. . .

In my last entry which was, pathetically, some time ago, I mentioned my new and growing fanhood of High Dynamic Range photography (HDR). I have done a lot of it since then and have slogged my way through the fascination of the exotic and fantastic results one can achieve with it that can be, to say the least, rather extreme (but fun).

For several years, the number one software for generating HDR photos has been, without a doubt in my mind, Photomatix, published by HDRSoft.

The controls offered by its console offer an almost endless possibility of tweaking the many variables to obtain very different results with the same originals. It can be time consuming however, a point to which I'll return as soon as you look at a few of the HDR photos I've done in the past year:

Upon the opening of Idaho's newly refurbished state capitol last year, I was one of the first to visit and photograph its new shininess. There was abundant light for normal photography but I couldn't resist doing the HDR. Since this technique relies on multiple exposures, there is always one at the correct exposure that you can always use as a stand alone so doesn't always have to be one way or the other.

HDR can also be a powerful incentive to get you out into bad weather, if you don't already trend towards the intrepid, hardy, or adventuresome type. I've quite enjoyed what can be done on gray days and snowy scenery:

Above I mentioned how time consuming HDR can be so if you don't like post-production work, you'll probably grit your teeth a bit. Several weeks ago I was hired to photograph a newly completed chalet at Tamarack and I decided to use HDR as my primary approach. I knew I would be returning with a ton of files and the post-processing work flow was going to be crucial. I might just end up making $2 an hour on the job if I wasn't careful! In my next entry I'll tell you what I did. Even better I'll show you.