Saturday, October 15, 2011

To use HDR or not to use HDR

So I've taken a recent trip to upstate New York in search of some Fall photography. I wanted to get a gauge on the colors instead of what some sites were telling me. Well I ran into some pretty miserable skies. Great for waterfalls but god awful when it comes to complimenting the landscape. There were two ways to approach it; well three.

  1. Deal with it!
  2. Cut it out of the scene with composition.
  3. Use HDR to rip some detail from the sky!
Often you will find that an HDR compilation will pull detail from combining multiple levels of varying exposure.

Now this isn't the HDR image. What? You thought I'd be nice and share that first? Nah. This image you see here was taken a bit closer to this barn. I ran it through photoshop and applied a Nik polarizer filter as well as tonal contrast filter. It adds a bit more detail and contrast to the image. This would be my option 2. Removing the sky as a dominant subject of the image.

Here is the HDR version with the same filters taken a bit further down the road. You can definitely see what happens with the sky. It tends to look stormy and add a real punch to the drama department. I highly suggest giving HDR a try when the cloudy sky just isn't doing it for you. I used photomatrix pro, but there is also Nik HDR software and even photoshop does it too. 

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