HDR stands for high dynamic range. If you take three pictures of the same thing, but each with a different exposure, you can run it through HDR software and it will take the best of each picture and put it together.
Here are some of the pictures I worked on.
I liked this picture in B&W better than in color. It’s not a great picture, but there are some things about it that I like. I like how the clouds and lake are in contrast with the mountains, as well as the little bit of snow that is on the mountain itself. This picture was taken on Dike Road, off of Honeysuckle Beach.
Here are the three different exposures to run through Photomatix (Pro 5). The exposure ranges from 1/320 of a second to 1/1600 of a second. I set up my tripod and made sure my camera wasn’t going to move at all (this took quite a bit of practice) and that allowed for less “ghosts”. I used one of the monochrome presets in photomatix and made small adjustments from there.
This is the picture with some editing just in Lightroom. The clouds weren’t very distinct that day anyways, but HDR helped make them look a little better than just a big white cotton ball.
Here is the same picture, but with color. I just enjoy it a lot more in monochrome.
This picture was taken downtown, on CDA Lake (more towards the river part).
Here are the four exposures I used (instead of just 2 or 3, for good measure). The exposure ranges from 1/50 of a second to 1/1600 of a second (though the order above is opposite). You might notice that they are quite tilted, instead of nice and straight. This is because I was using a tripod on uneven ground, and it was very cold so I didn’t take the time to change the length of each leg. It didn’t matter too much, because I fixed it in photoshop after using HDR.
Jumping back to Honeysuckle Beach. Here is the final image. Again, you see that the clouds aren’t super distinct to begin with but HDR helps make them look their best.
These are the different exposures that I used to create the final image. The order that the pictures are in above isn’t correct, but the exposure ranges from 1/80 of a second to 1/1250 of a second.
I really enjoy HDR. I think it would be best to have a sunny day with lots of distinct, fluffy clouds and take a bunch of landscape shots. However, we’ve been having a lot of gray days with giant clouds. HDR is something that I’ll definitely keep coming back to.