I’ve been playing with a photographic technique called High Dynamic Range (HDR) to bring some interesting effects to landscape photos. All cameras, film or digital, record a range of light from black to white but most don’t record the whole range. For example, a bright sunset behind a dark ocean is a hard scene for digital cameras – either the sky is exposed properly and the ocean is black or vice versa. HDR enables the photographer to “expand” the range in the final image to get both light and dark areas exposed properly. Basically you take several pictures of the same scene, changing exposure for each one and then let the computer put them all together into a final image.
I was shooting sunrise over snow this morning and realized with the clouds banding the early sunlight and the reflections on the frozen lake and snow that this would be a great HDR scene. Also, this afternoon I found a book that does a good job of explaining what’s going on in HDR software and gives guidance on how to control it to your taste. I learned that in addition to making better “natural” images HDR can also be used to enhance the drama of a picture. Just another artistic tool in the kit to bring my perception of the world to the screen (or paper).