Sunday, January 23, 2011

My HDR Technique Evolution


Due to the limitation of our camera, a regular picture can only present a limited dynamic range of luminance. In other words if you want a certain part of the picture to be correctly exposed, you will lose the exposure of some other section of the picture, either underexposing or overexposing it.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It is a photography post processing technique where one takes several pictures of the same object but with different exposures and combine them into one single picture with greater dynamic range of luminance between the darkest and lightest area in the picture. This way, you get most section of your picture correctly exposed. However, it will also make the picture look fake, not real to people, because this is not how a regular picture is supposed to look like. That is why not everyone appreciate HDR photography.

Putrajaya, HDR Post-Processing in January 2011
Putrajaya, HDR Processing in September 2009
The Original Shot back in September 2009

I was first exposed to the HDR technique in a photography discussion forum back in September 2009 where an experienced and well-known photographer shared some of his HDR pictures of Putrajaya, Malaysia. I was quickly amazed by how artistic a picture can look like with HDR technique and wished i could do the same to my pictures sometime in the future. I started learning the technique from the same photography forum where people listed some basic step by step guide to produce HDR pictures. Ever since, I have continuously practiced and experimented with various techniques in producing a better HDR picture. My earlier days HDR pictures were always given the "nice but look fake" kind of comment, and thus my path towards HDR perfection is aimed at producing HDR pictures that look real, but yet they keep the high dynamic range characteristics.

My HDR Picture featuring the Osaka Castle was published in Digital Camera Magazine July 2010 Issue

This weekend, I have decided to see how much my HDR post processing technique have evolved since my very first HDR attempts back in September 2009. So I dug out some of my very first HDR attempted pictures and their respective original shots and reproduced some HDR pictures from the original shots and compare the results.

Putrajaya, HDR Processing in January 2011
Putrajaya, HDR Processing in September 2009
The Original Photo taken in September 2009
Putrajaya, HDR Processing in January 2011
Putrajaya, HDR Processing in September 2009
The Original Picture taken in September 2009
Putrajaya Mosque, HDR Post-Processing in January 2011
Putrajaya Mosque, HDR Post-Processing in September 2009
Putrajaya Mosque taken in September 2009
Ipoh City Hall - HDR Post-Processing in January 2011
Ipoh City Hall - HDR Post-Processing in September 2009
Original Picture taken in September 2009
Ipoh - HDR Post-Processing in January 2011
Ipoh - HDR Post-processing in September 2009
The Original Picture taken in September 2009

The conclusion, they look a lot more real to me now. What do you think? Post your comment below.


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