Besides all the wonderful post-capture tools the digital darkroom has given me, digital photography has provided my personal approach to imaging two important tools that were never available to me when I was shooting with film. One is the ability to seamlessly stitch panoramic images from multiple shots. The other is the amazing mastery of dynamic range afforded to me through high dynamic range imaging (HDRI).
Using HDR technology, I’m able to bring out details in deep shadows without blowing out highlights in situations where use of filler lights like flashes or reflectors are not feasible or convenient, such as the cavernous interiors of architectural shots or expansive landscapes. I like to make a separate layer with the HDR image, and control its intensity using the opacity slider. My own style is to kiss the image with some HDR presence rather than slap the image across the head with it.
In a previous article, I wrote about hand-held HDR photography. I’m still doing that, but I’m also more mindful about schlepping my tripod around, so that I can exploit more opportunities when presented.
In a recent blog from Photoshelter titled, HDRI PHOTOGRAPHY: EXCITING NEW FRONTIER, OR GIMMICK TO AVOID? nine world-class photographers share their opinions about HDRI. If you do any HDRI now, or have a curiosity about it, the article is worth your time reading. It’s nice to have a diversity of thoughts expressed in one place.