Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wrestling with HDR – Another Walk Around the Neighborhood

Union Station Rail Yard-3
Over the last few weeks, I have been shooting almost exclusively tripod based shots intended to be processed as HDR photography.  I am shooting a bunch to explore HDR in every imaginable way, and to find what is comfortable for me.  See these posts for other HDR photography I posted.
H Street Liquor
The real challenge I am finding with HDR is matching the processing with intended feel for the final photograph.  HDR, and tone mapping in Photomatix specifically, present the opportunity to simply draw the details out of the highlights and shadows (on the mild end) to completely surreal imagery on the opposing end of the continuum.
H Street Sunset
In general, I am learning to use the surreal end judiciously and am tending more toward the “mild” part of the spectrum.  I am not eliminating the “surreal” end because I am finding there are some situations or subjects that are suitable for more aggressive processing from an artistic point of view.
Phoenix Park Hotel
Over the next few posts, I will be showing the full spectrum of mild to aggressive processing.  Some of this will be great photography, and others will be the metaphorical equivalent of hanging the dirty laundry out for the neighbors to see.  I’m ok with this.  We learn from doing and we learn from observing and analyzing.  It is ok to look at the bad stuff too…and understand what went wrong or where our preferences are not.
Postal Museum
The photographs featured in this post were the result of another walk around my neighborhood (Capitol Hill area of Washington, DC).  If you mouse over the photo, you should be able to see the photograph name (which is hopefully descriptive of the subject).
The Irish Times
So as you look through these photographs ask yourself what you like and why.  What do you not like, and why?  Where do your preferences lie with respect to HDR color vs. HDR B/W?  Which photographs were over processed?  Which photographs could have been processed more aggressively.
Union Station at Sunset
The final two shots are similarly composed shots of the Union Station rail yard.  One is color and the other processed in black and white – a good opportunity for you to compare the two.
Union Station Rail Yard
Union Station Rail Yard-2
Standby for more HDR photography.  I hope you learn something as I continue on this quest to find my preferences for HDR processing.  I know my friend John at Far Out Photography is going through a similar exploration of HDR.  Check his blog frequently to read his thoughts on HDR.
Go make some great photography!

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