HDR Photography – Why I am Not a Huge Fan of it

There are not that many avenues that I have not travelled down on in the field of photography. There is one area that I am sort of on the fence with, and that is  HDR Photography. HDR, stand for High Dynamic Range images, or photography. Most digital cameras can do this, and there are a lot of software that you can choose from to perform the overlaying of images to get the vomiting of colours and contracts that make HDR images so interesting for many people. Let me say for the record that I am not one of those people who loves HDR photos. Today I was re-setting the software on my camera and I decided to test it by doing some HDR shooting, which is why I created these three images down below.

HDR June 8 2013 A sm image

Basically your camera needs to take at least two images, first one slightly over exposed, and the second one slightly under exposed. Then with the aid of some software, you can merge these photos together to highlight the dark areas and colours, while highlighting the over exposed areas with rich colours and contracts to create deeper colours than you would not otherwise see with just a normal exposure setting photograph. For myself, I like to shoot RAW, so I believe that If I wanted to, I could get these same results just with the setting that my software has from the RAW files to produce this same result.

A huge problem, at least with my equipment, is that in order for my camera (Sony A33 & 77) to shoot in HDR mode, I have to give up the RAW format in place of shooting in JPEG format instead–a huge reduction in image quality in my humble opinion. I know, why not shoot three quick shots in RAW, then post edit them into a HDR image?  Auh, read the above (last) paragraph and three times.

HDR June 8 2013 B sm image

The above image is the Well House shack near my place. This image is a good example why HDR photography has some huge pitfalls. Because you need to take several images to over lap, your subject cannot move. Any movement will cause blurry distortion in your final image. In the Well House shot I was dealing with the moving shadows from the wind blowing the leaves on the trees.

HDR June 8 2013 C sm image

I like lots of colour in my shots, and I value the contrast and dynamic range in the composition of the image, but I also like to add balance to my scenes too, and I find that if I over exaggerate these qualities, then the shot looks, well, cheesy, for lack of the better word. By the way, these image are really the very first attempts I made using HDR technique with my pro DLSR.

One Thought on “HDR Photography – Why I am Not a Huge Fan of it

  1. I’m in agreement on HDR photography. It’s tricky to do not only because of motion between shots, but also having to remap the tones to something still realistic.

    I find that for most shots, I’m better off working with a single RAW file. Cameras with good sensors have a lot a leeway in the RAW file if you expose for the highlights.

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