I recently saw some fantastic images of the interior of a cathedral, which had been given HDR (high dynamic range) processing in Photomatix, and which exhibited fantastic, realistic detail, tones and colours.
HDR imaging has a rather bad reputation in photography circles due to the tendency for many people to completely overcook images, which results in halation, psychedelic, over-saturated colours and an illustration-like appearance.
I am interested in photographic realism, and producing what the human eye can naturally see in terms of dynamic range. No camera can capture in a single exposure the dynamic range of the interior of a cathedral, which consists of deep shadows, rich mid-tones and excessively bright highlights from the light entering the cavernous building from the windows high above.
The cathedral images I saw actually inspired me to try HDR imaging. I downloaded the trial version of HDRsoft Photomatix Pro, and I’m creating HDR images from bracketed images I’ve already shot.
Early this morning I photographed some interior scenes of Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building (QVB), bracketing seven images (-3EV, -2EV, -1EV, 0EV, +1EV, +2EV and +3EV), and I plan to produce an HDR image from that series of images.
If I can produce a realistic, tonally rich, pleasing image, I will buy a Photomatix Pro license and work on producing more photo-realistic HDR images.
One thing that’s criticially important to me — other than producing pleasing images — is to avoid the over-processing pitfalls exhibited in so many HDR images.
This is a new challenge, and hopefully it will be inspirational and motivational for me, as my photography of recent months has really taken a back seat.