Friday, January 29, 2010

HDR and Traditional Photography

Ever since I started my foray into high dynamic range photography, I see traditional photos a little bit differently.   I see them in magazines, billboards, websites and an infinite amount of other places, as does everyone else.  Now, one thing always comes to mind now when I see these photos, "I wonder what that would look like in HDR?" Usually the conclusion I come to - if processed right - is that those shots would be incredible!

When I see a really good shot of a city, landscape or an interior, they would all look very nice.  The lighting would be nice, the angles and perspective/composition would all be good, but they are traditional photos.  Nothing wrong with that. Just nice. However, HDR could make them spectacular!

I hope I'm not trying to sound like my stuff is better, because that's up to someone other than me to decide. I think I still need to work on my composition skills as well as what I can and cannot do with my camera. However, I do feel I have a pretty good handle on how to process an HDR photo.  When I see a shot of some mountains or a shot of city lights from the street or a high-rise, or a shot of an airline terminal taken with just one shot and good lighting, it all misses something.  They seem flat and boring. You can't see everything in all the shadowy nooks and crannies, the textures don't jump out as much, and they just seem to lack that pizazz that HDR brings.

I guess HDR is really beginning to evolve photography, at least in my eyes.  There are still those that think HDR is fake or manipulated and that what you get out of your camera is what the shot should look like  But, anytime you use a flash, put a graduated ND filter on your lens or adjust the metering in your camera, the final shot has been manipulated.  A traditional shot does not capture everything the normal human eye can capture so already the traditional photo is not totally realistic.  But, with HDR more of what the eye can see in the scene you are trying to capture will show in the final shot.  To me that is more amazing and more realistic

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