High Dynamic Range Digital Photography

I learned about a new photographic technique called High Dynamic Range (HDR) today. There\’s a good summary here. Having had my share of photography classes I can understand what they\’re talking about up front. Seeing the pictures I can see why you would want this.

A regular photo has a dynamic range of about 300:1. This is sort of like the contrast of the picture. Brights vs darks in the shot. One way to think about it is in a picture with greater dynamic range, you see more detail in shadows and highlights. OR you can preserve the shadows and highlights without loosing detail. The article I was reading suggested that cameras will ditch their built in flashes in the next 10 years, since the camera will be able to record a darker image more accurately.

The other way to look at this is cameras are going to be getting better at recording whatever we can see, the way we see it. Really that\’s always been the goal of photography, record a moment and let us examine it with more detail than when we were in it.

If you check out flickr.com, there are many pictures tagged with HDR. They\’re, for the most part, completely amazing. I wish I had time for a new hobby. I almost want to do this full time and make money on really high end weddings or something! yikes I\’m having a hard time writing coherently on this.

Flickr HDR pool

The photographers of some of these pictures describe having made them using a tripod and several shots at different exposures. \”Bracketing\” as it were. There\’s some technique to grab tones from different shots and combine them.

This really speaks to me in my typical \”left and right brain\” way. Having an architecture background and working as a computer programmer, I\’m used to using both sides of my brain. What better way than using computers to make great photos?

Anyone want to set me up with $15,000 of equipment and 20-60 hours a week of free time to take this up?

In Charlottesville, Virginia (US):
Jeff Lavezzo