High Dynamic Range Photography

I Hate HDR?

HDR image © Rick Sammon
I'm teaching HDR at the California Photo Festival today.

As usual, I'll begin my presentation by suggesting to the audience that if they want to have some fun, do a Google search for "I hate HDR."

Hundreds of pages come up. Some posts are event long rants.

Most HDR haters hate HDR for two reasons:

One, they feel HDR is cheating (although Ansel Adams created HDR images and he was not called a cheater).

Two: they feel most HDR images are "over-cooked."

Here's my take on the topic:

One, why hate any form of creativity?

Two, why take the time to write about why you hate something?

HDR image © Rick Sammon
I do think that there are two main types of HDR images: realistic, above, and surrealistic, below.

HDR image © Rick Sammon
Often times, I think the subject suggests the HDR effect: realistic for landscapes, and surrealistic for artistic and really cool looking subjects.

© Rick Sammon
I go on to say that as much as I love HDR, it can ruin the mood of the scene, as illustrated by the HDR image at the left.

Finally, I say, "Follow your heart." Or as Ginger Baker wrote, "Do What You Like."

HDR image © Rick Sammon
I use several HDR programs and plug-ins. Check them out on my Save on Creative Plug-ins page and save a few bucks on some bundles.

My best HDR tips are on my iPad and Mac app: Rick Sammon's iHDR.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. For hands-on HDR learning (and loving) check out my HDR workshops.

Heavy Metal in Hot'Lanta Workshop


All photographs © Glenn Taylor

My friend Glenn Taylor and I are running an HDR/Model photography workshop in and around Atlanta, GA March 1st to 3rd, 2013. Here's the basic info on the workshop. We are only taking a small group, so space is limited.

For now, Glenn, who as been to all the sites on the workshop, is today's guest blogger. Take it away Glenn.

In my work as a Creative Director for a business-to-business ad agency, I’m often contracted to shoot industrial-style photography of our client’s equipment, employees and locations all over the country. It’s not for everyone, but I love bringing these working environments to life.
In my off-time I shoot with several groups and friends in Atlanta and the surrounding area. Two of my favorite locations to shoot HDR and detail images are The Southeast Railway Museum in Duluth, GA and Old Car City in White, GA. Both locations are a treasure trove of heavy metal grunge images. The colors, textures and little details are just amazing!

Opening image: Sightseeing/cocktail car at the SE Railway Museum. I can always picture a scene from Mad Men taking place right in this car. This is a 5 exposure HDR, merged in Photamatix Pro and finished in Lightroom - taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 24-70mm L series lens. This is shot wide (around 34mm) while mounted on a Gitzo tripod with a RRS bullhead.


Rusted boxcar detail at the SE Railway Museum. I am drawn to detail and old paint textures. Here the multiple sixes and the row of rusty rivets built an interesting composition. This is a single exposure processed in Lightroom, taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 24-70mm L series lens. This was shot medium length (70mm) handheld in the outside yard area with natural light.

Kitchen car at the SE Railway Museum. The patina of the metal surfaces adds interest to all the geometric shapes in the composition. This is a 5 exposure HDR, merged in Photamatix Pro and finished in Lightroom - taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 24-70mm L series lens. This is shot wide (24mm) while mounted on a Gitzo tripod with a RRS ballhead.

Old Car City is a similar location with a completely different set of subjects: classic cars that are weathered, rusty and full of character. Just like the trains at SE Railway, HDR and details are everywhere you look.

The “office” at Old Car City. The texture around this part of the facility just jumps out at you. This is a 3 exposure HDR, merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro and finished in Lightroom - taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 24-70mm L series lens. This is shot wide (34mm) while mounted on a Gitzo tripod with a RRS bullhead.





Hood ornament detail at Old Car City. I shot this with backlighting from the morning sun that would emphasize the selective focus feature of the lens. This is a single exposure, processed in Lightroom, taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 90mm Tilt/Shift lens on a Gitzo tripod with a RRS bullhead.

Ladies in waiting at Old Car City. I liked the way this group looked like a beaten down car lot. This is a 3 exposure HDR, merged in Photomatix Pro and finished in Lightroom - taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 35mm lens. This is shot wide while mounted on a Gitzo tripod with a RRS bullhead.




Ford emblem fender detail at Old Car City. I captured this handheld at f2.8 to bring focus on just the emblem detail and let the rest of the fender fade into the background.

This is a single exposure, processed in Lightroom, taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 35mm lens.



Thanks Glenn for a great post.



Follow Glenn:

Glenn and I hope to see you on our workshop! Shoot me an email for info.

Check out my iHDR app to learn more about HDR.

Explore the light,
Rick


Atlanta HDR/Model Photography Workshop


All photographs in the post © Glenn Taylor.

My friend Glenn Taylor and I are doing an HDR/Model Photography workshop in and around Atlanta: March 1st to 3rd, 2013. Cost is $500.00 per person for the workshop.


When Glenn showed me the pictures you see here, I said, "We gotta do a workshop."


Here's the info:
• Friday Night: Glenn and I will give short presentations after a group dinner.

• Saturday:
AM: HDR and Model Shoot at the South East Railway Museum.
PM: Glenn and I will help you with image processing.

• Sunday:
AM: HDR and Model shoot at Old Car City
PM: Glenn and I will help you with image processing.

• Shoot me an email to get on the list!


Suggested hotels:

Hilton Atlanta Northeast

Wingate by Wyndham
Rick

8 Days of HDR: Day 2 - Old Barn

Final HDR image
In this series I'll share some of my favorite HDR images and tips. Enjoy.

Title: Old Barn

Location: Nelson, Nevada

Exposures:  0, +2, -2, -4

First HDR image without enhancement to windows.
Tip: Think and work selectively. Compare the windows in these two HDR images. In the image directly above, the scene outside looks relatively flat. In the opening image for this post, the outdoor scene looks more vibrant. That’s because I brought the image into Photoshop, selected the widows, and then boosted the saturation, contrast and sharpness of those areas. I created this image before the introduction of Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro. That awesome plug-in offers control points that let you work selectively without having to leave HDR Efex Pro.

HDR sequence.

You'll find more HDR info in my iHDR iPad app and iHDR for your Mac.

Click here to see the plug-ins I use for HDR.

Explore the light,
Rick



8 Days of HDR: Day 1 - Girl in the Black Dress

Final HDR image.
In this series I'll share some of my favorite HDR images and tips. Enjoy.


Title: The Black Dress


Location: Croton on Hudson, New York


Exposures:  0, +2, -2 EV


Tip: When photographing people, ask the subject not to move. Take several HDR sequences – because it's very hard for a subject to stand/sit perfectly still.

HDR sequence.
You'll find more HDR info in my iHDR iPad app and iHDR for your Mac.

Click here to see the plug-ins I use for HDR.

Explore the light,
Rick