My First HDR

My First HDR

Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7

Over the last year or so, I’ve read a lot about HDR photography – mostly about when to use it and, more importantly, when not to use it.  Despite this, I’ve never really had a chance to try it out myself.  When I saw the water feature outside the museum, I decided it was the perfect chance to try it out.  The sun was shining brightly, but there were harsh shadows deeper into the little enclave.  I unfortunately didn’t have my tripod on me, so I had to do my best to hold steady and pretend like I am the tripod.

I’m reasonable happy with the end product.  Anyone out there more experienced with HDR who can give some feedback?

4 thoughts on “My First HDR

  1. I think it’s a reasonably successful result, considering a few things. This scene is a bit of a tricky one for HDR as there’s so many things moving. The water spurting up and the ripples in the water would have changed shape and contour with each shot you took and eventually combined. Due to this it’s hard to get an optimal result, especially when using an automated process to combine them (not sure how you actually did, just making an assumption).

    If you shoot in RAW and get a good exposure, you can create an HDR photo from a single shot by making a couple of virtual copies in Lightroom, leaving the original as is, bringing up the shadows in one copy and lowering the highlights in the other, then merging them in Photoshop. That would give a better result for the moving parts, as each shot would be identical. Also helps avoid issues from shooting handheld and merging the results.

    That said, I still think it’s a decent result. Honestly, I hate obviously HDR photos nine times out of ten, but if it’s a situation like this where the scene may require it to bring up shadows and highlights down due to the scene truly having a high dynamic range, and it’s done in a way where it doesn’t look like HDR processing has been applied, I can really appreciate when it’s been done well. So well done.

    Personally I’ve only once got good results from using the HDR Pro process in Photoshop, so I prefer to combine multiple exposures of the scene manually if I want the detail in the shadow or to avoid blowing out the highlights. Much of the time, though, I find leaving deep shadows can make the scene more dramatic, and blown out areas can look nice in the right situation.


    • Wow, first of all, thanks so much for taking the time to type out such a comprehensive response. I did consider that movement would cause a bit of artefact in the end result, but it surprisingly didn’t turn out all that bad. Also, I feel the same way about HDR photos to be honest, which is why I haven’t tried it until now. I also hate about 90% of them like you do, since it’s often done quite poorly. I just happened to walk past this scene and decided it was a good place to test it out. I think I need a bit more practice, but I’m pretty proud of my first attempt 😀

      Thanks for the tip about duplicating a single photo and manually merging them in photos. I had never thought of doing that, but it makes a huge amount of sense to do it that way when there’s a lot of movement involved.

      Thanks again.


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