The Arizona State Capitol in High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography

Mesa, AZ September 09, 2008

I started to experiment with HDR earlier this year when I worked with Lucas Cichon, a local professional photographer who was teaching at the Mesa Art Center. The process involves bracketing. It requires that you take three or more pictures of your subject using different exposures. Several images are created that range from 1 or 2 stops of overexposure to 1 or 2 stops of underexposure. The images are layered. You then take out the sections of the photo you don’t want so that the area that exposed correctly can show through the layer. You can do this process manually or you can use special software that will do the adjustment for you. Once the process is completed you end up with a photo that has a fairly large range of tones, thus the term High Dynamic Range. Recently when reading the story on the NAPP website that announced this year’s winners of the Fall Photoshop World conference it appears to me that the first place photo used HRD. That got me intrigued and I started to look further into HDR photography. After few online searches I stumbled upon Trey Ratcliff's tutorial on creating HDR images. His work is inspiring and very well done. See for yourself

Due to new and affordable software options, HDR is quickly becoming very popular. Like any new process, you end up finding people that over use it. Jim M Goldstein has written on his blog about this issue. He does make a very good point. At the end photography is not about plug-ins or advanced software programs, it is about capturing an image and creating a connection among people that see it.

The image below of the Arizona State Capitol was taken in the early morning hours of last Sunday and it was processed using Trey's approach which he discusses in his online tutorial. It is my first image using this approach and I hope you find it appealing. Drop me a note and let me know what you think.