Dynamic Theater

Today’s post demonstrates my ongoing affair with HDR photography.  For those who don’t know, HDR is an acronym for “High Dynamic Range.”  (If you want to know more about HDR photography, my recommendation is visiting this site, The Golden Sieve, as Justin Kern presents a great explanation.)  My interest was piqued about this time last year when I first discovered this “dream-like” genre of imagery.  Since then, I have done some research, experimenting, and exploration into this new level of dynamic range (the high level).  Now, I would not consider myself “obsessed” nor would I suggest that I rely on HDR for the majority of my images, but I do believe that it adds a level of excitement to an image that may or may not have been possible otherwise.  Please see below.
Here is the original image – completely unprocessed.  It’s a nice picture, but I was looking for a little something more, due to my desire to produce some cool HDR imagery.  Two exposures and a lot of processing later, the second image was generated.
I have to admit – this was really only my second ever attempt at HDR, so the image is a little “gaudy” for my current tastes.  I was trying to create a WOW factor instead of refining/improving the photograph.  While I could have revisited the files last night and reprocessed to create a “better” picture, I think it’s only fair that I show you this image as I originally presented it.  Future posts will reveal my current “feel” for HDR so that you, the reader, can see my development as it relates to the purpose of HDR, in my opinion.
Instead of reprocessing last night, I did experiment with “black and whiting” the HDR image.  Just like any photograph, black and white doesn’t always “work.”  Sometimes, you NEED the color.  HDR is provides a greater amount light information resulting in better depth and a more complete image – like your eye actually saw it.  This usually requires color to set the HDR image apart from the “normal” image.  Although I don’t plan on turning many of my HDR pictures into black and white, I was happy with this result.

Let me know your thoughts, opinions, compliments, and critiques by posting a comment below.  I actually have another series lined up from the same night on which I took the above photograph(s).  Keep an eye out for that in the near future.  Next up, though, will either be a basic photography tutorial or possibly an answer to a question posed to me by a friend.  Thanks for reading!


  1. Reply
    pscharnett 10 Sep ’10

    I think the B&W version also adds to the blur effect. When you change the contrast so dramatically, like in the BW, you lose a lot of information if the details are blurred.But I like the HDR version.

  2. Reply
    Bill 10 Sep ’10

    Paul,I probably should have mentioned that I also added a "Lens Blur" to the background to detract focus from that area on the black and white. I'm going to print out the black and white one for my friends. They want to frame it!ps. I'm making progress on the wedding photos. They're looking good! Hope all is well.

  3. Reply
    zac houdek 8 Oct ’10

    Billy email me the HDR pic, i want to put in a frame. this is a sweet picture!

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