High Dynamic Range – Love it or Hate it?

For quite a while I was a bit “afraid” of HDR photography. Maybe because I was just at my beginnings in photography and I couldn’t quite understand it and also because I could see a lot of photographers just overdoing it and the resulting images looked rather artificial.

Browsing the net one day, looking for all sorts of photo tips and tutorials, I stumbled upon some beautiful HDR images created by an amazing photographer called Philipp Klinger. My interest being awakened ,I slowly discovered that this is a very old concept in photography dating back to 1850 when Gustave Le Gray ,also called “the most important French photographer of the nineteenth century”, pioneered the idea of using several images shot at different exposures to fix a too-extreme range of luminance.
High dynamic range imaging original developing is attributed thou to Charles Wyckoff who’s detailed pictures of nuclear explosions were published on the cover of Life magazine in the mid 1950s.

In time the desirability of HDR has been recognized but it wasn’t until the introduction of digital photography , the rising popularity of digital cameras as well as the increase in computing power, development of photo editing software and other technological advances that high dynamic range imaging really took off.

The photos in this post are two of my high dynamic range images that I worked on when I found my interest for this technique and I was trying to learn and understand it. Even thou I did got carried away and “over-HDRed” them I still love them as working on these two images made me comprehend and appreciate the entire set of techniques that goes into HDR creation .

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21 responses

  1. These are fantastic. I would never have thought of HDR in that light, so thanks for expanding my awareness. Nice work

    April 3, 2012 at 20:22

    • Thank you very much also…!!! I’m glad you enjoy the images and that I could help !!!

      April 3, 2012 at 23:34

  2. Baaaaai, deci sunt superbe, ambele!!! Inainte sa citesc ce-ai scris, nu mi-am dat seama ca-s HDR ( oricum stiam f putine si inainte si acum stiu un pic mai mult citindu-ti randurile). Sincer, a doua poza nu pare HDR, e asa parca reala si de poveste in acelasi timp. Superbe privelisti si le-ai surprins foarte fain. :)

    March 12, 2012 at 00:59

  3. regarding HDR I tend to fall into the “hate it” category. I tend to like heavy shadows and darker images (maybe it’s my film noir background) But your images are an example of what can be done when it’s done right. Keep up the good work.

    March 11, 2012 at 23:08

  4. Those were lovely!
    I like HDR when used right and not overprocessed!

    March 9, 2012 at 15:02

  5. I love it when it is done well (like your photos), when it is overdone with the halos and all that, it repels me ;)

    March 9, 2012 at 10:07

  6. I think overdoing can really work sometimes, and I’ve seen images where it is overdone and looks crap, and some that are overdone and it looks great. It depends on what your vision for your image is. If you are trying to gain a realistic view then overdoing it would be wrong. If you are going for something different then it is up to you what you do. I love HDR, but I also love digital photography and everything you can do with it. It is a technique and at the moment I use it a lot, that is more so because I’m trying to learn how to do it well, and to understand it. Once I feel I know more, I will begin seeing when I can use it and when it is best to leave it alone.

    March 8, 2012 at 22:06

    • Sorry hope this doesn’t sound too sharp, Thought I was responding to someone else, I was a bit confused. I got confused with the blogs. I still think using HDR for your own impressions is good. Great photos too.

      March 8, 2012 at 23:52

      • Is ok…at least your comment was kinda on the subject…!!! Thank you anyways…!!!

        March 9, 2012 at 02:35

      • You are being kind. Thank you. I do believe that what you had to say has a lot of merit and I think we do overuse HDR, it has become the next thing we all do after figuring out how to do black and white. I do suspect it is a fad type thing and will go away, it will be there until the next thing comes along.

        March 9, 2012 at 02:37

  7. The second image is really well done. Its a good thing you figured out early on that you shouldn’t overprocess your HDR’s. I had to go through that beginners period a while back haha.

    Are you a fan of Trey Ratcliff?

    March 8, 2012 at 22:04

    • I actually do have him on my Flikr list of friends and he sure does some amazingly good job with HDR. Really beautiful and powerful photography .

      March 8, 2012 at 23:25

  8. sandizphoto

    correct use of hdr … amazing photos

    March 8, 2012 at 20:58

  9. Great photos… welcome to HDR photography :)

    March 8, 2012 at 19:41

  10. I have admired these shots prior to this post; they are beautiful shots. I liked them “then” and I definitely like them now!

    March 8, 2012 at 17:06

  11. These are beautiful photographs… I know the second one and always fascinates me… I don’t know very well about this HDR, but seems it is not easy to find the natural effect… Thank you dear Sorin, with my love, nia

    March 8, 2012 at 14:36

  12. Love it!

    March 8, 2012 at 13:07

  13. I agree, it’s definitely something that can be overdone (like a child with a new toy that gets used constantly until one day it breaks), but when it’s done well, it really works.

    March 8, 2012 at 11:44

    • I’m with ck, if used sparingly it can really add depth and punch but overdone it can kill an otherwise good photo. I like how you’re employed it here in your two images – adds visual impact to the image without screaming ‘HDR!’

      March 8, 2012 at 13:32

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