HDR - because the word has such a great dynamic range


Modern DSLR's are great tools for capturing nearly all kinds of scenery but there are some problems left. In addition to really low light with increasing noise and exposure times to long to avoid motion blur there's still a huge problem when you have to show details in the shadows and also in the highlight. Using the right exposure for a landscape the foreground might be perfect, but then you've no chance to preserve details in the white clouds. We're able to adapt our eyes and our brain is doing strange calculations with the data delivered from the retina so we get an picture (or sometimes more an idea) of our environment which no normal DSLR can capture.

Shooting in RAW gives you perhaps 2 stops more range because of the higher bit depth, but there are situations with a higher demand of dynamic range and fortunately there's a technique of combining several pictures with different exposures to a single picture with an High Dynamic Range - HDR.

Unfortunately there are some negative sideeffects - so noise you've to handle with in postprocessing. Additionally it's nearly impossible to use this technique when capturing moving objects - you'll get ghost images. Nevertheless you can achieve great looking pictures with HDR.



A toned five pic HDR showing the Sant Salvador Monastery near Felanitx (Majorca, Spain). The foreground is realy dark - coming from outside you've to wait for a minute before you see anything and the altar in the back is bright illuminated - no chance to capture this with a single shot.

Vice versa to the one before - here we've absolutly no light inside - the only light comes from outside the door behind. Merging five different exposures gives this realistic look without the need of a flash or other illuminating. Santuari de Nostra Senyora de Gràcia, Majorca, Spain.

Nine pics 1,5 stops apart were used for this nightshot to show the stars (ISO 1600 16s at f5.6) without getting a completly blown out foreground with street lanterns. "Wurstmarkt" Bad Dürkheim, Gemany.

An old majorcan room - you see details at the dark floor and also you see what's outside the windows in the bright sun.

This is also HDR - loud colours, a dramatic sky with high contrast - not "real" but also nice looking, isn't it?