HDR imaging is a fascinating sub-branch of photography that I just became aware of. HDR means High Dynamic Range, which basically means you have a photograph with a heck of a lot of information in it, spanning a range of lights through darks impossible to capture in a regular photograph.
Here is my first HDR effort- taken from my 3rd floor balcony.
Wikipedia has an interesting article on HDR– dating it as far back as the 1850’s, with a sailor/photographer taking two shots, one with the sky exposed correctly, the other with the sea. He’d then physically cut the negatives, splice them, and produce a single shot with the sea and sky as balanced as we might see with our eyes.
Apparently a decent HDR technique has been a holy-grail of still-image photographers for a long time- one which they’ve pretty much wholly acquired now, at a commercially viable level- what with everyone going digital, and the software easily distributed over the net. It involves a method similar to the sailors’, except all in a computer program. You take multiple shots of the same still-image at different exposure levels- in the above shot I took one for the sky, and one for the buildings. You plug those images into your HDR tone-mapping program, in my case Photomatix Pro 3.0, which I heard is probably the best, and it produces a composite which you then tweak back and forth until satisfied.
Here are the 2 images I used to create the composite:
Dark foreground, but the sky is well-exposed.
The sky is blown out, but the foreground is at a good light level.
You’ll notice in the final image I also ramped up the color and contrast some- it was a grey day and I neglected to change the filter to accomodate that.
I’ll play around with more digital images in my coming ruins articles, plus more upcoming shots of interesting Tokyo architectures.