Monday, 2 March 2009

More HDR...

After my initial experimenting with HDR for this project, I wanted to try some different shots to see how well they would work. I chose several different images to experiment with, all very different from each other in terms of content and lighting to see how it effected the HDR and Tone mapping.

All of the shots that I chose were landscapes as this is the only area that I felt I would really use HDR for. I also love the way that an overcast sky can come out using HDR and Tone Mapping.

The first shot is of the Abbey Light Railway tracks at Kirkstall.
I chose this shot because it was rich in foliage, the colours were all very similar and the location was enclosed by trees which diffused the natural light. This kept the shadows minimum and the light fairly even. The detail on the tree trunk to the left of this shot has come out really well - click on the image for a larger view.

The second shot was an open landscape of Kirkstall Abbey. I chose this one because of the cloudy sky. The image was quite bright because of the weather conditions making it quite different from the one of the railway tracks. This image demonstrates the benefit the HDR can have to a cloudy sky by increasing the depth through tones.

The third shot is an open landscape at Settle. It was very overcast, had just snowed and started to hail while I was taking the shot. This meant that it was a lot darker with more prominent shadows and a purple tint to the dark grey sky. HDR really brought this image out. It gives more attention to the marshed area in the foreground and has brought the hills out well. In the original shots, the hills looked very 'flat' because of the light levels.

The forth is Harlech Castle in North Wales. This was a very bright day - beautiful blue skies with big fluffy clouds. The castle is situated on a hill top so its very open and was much brighter than the other shots that I have used. I also thought that the brickwork of the castle itself would look quite interesting in HDR. You can see the detail better if you click on the image for a larger view.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with these shots. I especially like the increased depth that the HDR has brought to the images but I wouldn't use it on the majority of my work. I think that it makes the images look quite unnatural which is a complete contradiction to my general taste of landscape photography, I prefer the natural beauty. Although, with a very moody shot, HDR could add so much more drama so the technique and effect are still useful especially if used in moderation.

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Photographer based in Dawlish, Devon. I'm available for weddings, portraits and commissions.

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