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HDR Photography as Art

Some people shoot high dynamic range photographs just because they look cool, as art. These people aren’t constrained by a rigid set of rules or procedures: They’re artists.

High dynamic range photography excels at many things and certainly solves a great number of common exposure problems. That satisfies another group of people, those people who think with the right side of their brains.

The left image in this figure is a photograph of a bubble, floating in the breeze. The camera wasn’t set up on a tripod, and bracketed exposures weren’t taken. It’s not necessarily the greatest scene for HDR.


What this base photo has going for it, though, is that it’s an interesting picture. Even as a traditional photo, it pulls you in. The problem is, you want more.

The right image of the figure is the “more.” The result illustrates how captivating HDR can be — even when relying on a single exposure.

This photo benefits from parts of the HDR process just like the other examples in this chapter. The details of the bubble are clean and clear because the software accentuates the contrast between different bands of the bubble. In addition, the colors are much more vibrant.

This example shows

  • Left brain: HDR doesn’t always have to be the solution to a problem. Sometimes it can just be artistic.

  • Right brain: There are important technical facets of HDR, and even an artistic expression can serve a logical purpose.

  • All skate: There’s room for us all. It’s a big tent. Come on in!

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