For about 2 years now I have been very interested in HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography. Can’t explain it but HDR photos just really stand out to me. I guess thats the point of them. They pop with color and details like no other IMO.
I’m pretty sure most have seen HDR photos but probably never realized what they were looking at and how they came about. One of the best tutorials I have seen regarding HDR photography was done by Trey Ratcliff at his website “www.stuckincustoms.com“. This website and his examples pushed it over the top for me. However, despite it all I never pursued my interest in it.
Not having a good camera is the biggest road block. Good cameras aren’t cheap. I have my eye on a camera that isn’t necessarily a “good” camera for HDR photography but I have seen and read a lot of great reviews on it and its flexibility as well as price. Currently eye’ing the Olympus EP-1 or EP-2 PEN digital cameras.
Yesterday however I decided to try shooting some HDR photos. I was in the car driving back from New Orleans and couldn’t help but notice how amazing the clouds looked. Combination of blue skies, sun and huge puffy scattered clouds with a little darkness in some of the clouds.
Here I was driving down I-10, seeing some clouds and really wanted and wished I could do HDR photography. It just so happens that a couple of weeks ago someone on Twitter posted a HDR photo they took with their iPhone 4 and I was pretty impressed. So there I was with just my iPhone 4 in the car seat and thoughts about the iPhone application that was recommended (Pro HDR) when I decided why not lets give it a try. I pulled over and stopped, downloaded the app in a couple of minutes and then snapped a couple of photos.
The results were…. well not so good. Discovered how important it is to have a tripod when doing HDR photography. The reason is that HDR photography requires overlaying usually two or three shots of different exposures and then overlays / combines them to get the best of each photo.
Here is an example from yesterday using the iPhone and shooting freehand.
Overall the photos weren’t very good but the experiment was still a success as it proved to me that even with just an iPhone 4 it is possible to get some decent HDR photos in a pinch. It’s a good thing to start with since I have one and doesn’t require any additional expense, well except for maybe a tripod.
Now here’s a really BAD example of an attempt at HDR photography. Learned another good lesson with this one, don’t pick the darkest and lightest areas for each shot. Causes some nasty results.
Bad HDR Shot 2: