Playing with High Dynamic Range

Based on what I have read, photographers fall into two camps about High Dynamic Range (HDR) 

  • It is a gimmick technique, overdone or poorly executed on subjects that don’t need it
  • It is a legitimate approach that produces good results when used intelligently and sparingly.

I can understand both points of view.

This is a method I have only recently started using and I had an opportunity to shoot a bracket on a subject that went from deep shadow to clear sky. There was a mix of early morning and artificial light.

Here is a standard exposure with no correction converted to black and white in Adobe Lightroom. There are two blown out highlights top centre and top right that draw the eye away from the line of the stairs. 


I took images at plus and minus 5 and merged them in Photomatix before converting it to black and white in Adobe Lightroom to get this.


I’m not really happy with this but since it was the first time I used Photomatix my expectations were pretty low. I did get a good result in the highlights at the top of the image but the mid-tones a flatter than I would like. I will continue playing to get a balance I like and that’s the important thing in the whole HDR manipulation debate, balance.