HDR is one of the innovative words associated with the digital era in photography, defined as “high dynamic range image / photo” and is associated with the features of photography and photo printing. This phenomenon is based on the fact that the human eye sees much more shades than any modern printing device or monitor can bring out – while, however, they forget about the stereo vision and adaptive features of the human eye, but these factors are usually dismissed as more complex for today’s technology.
HDR – High Dynamic Range Image
In any case, such a description is perfectly suited to answer the question “how to make everything in the photo look the way I see, and not how the camera sees it.”
Meanwhile, modern digital cameras are only capable of this in a limited way: for all the abundance of colors that can be captured by the matrix at the same time, modern exposure meters and optical systems are not able to set different exposure parameters for light and dark areas of the frame (for example, sky and earth in sunset ), which is why the dark zones usually go underexposed, and the light ones are overexposed. Naturally, it all depends on a bunch of factors, but the picture as a whole is clear. The sky is bright, the earth is dark – as a result, details are lost both here and here.
A reservation should be made here: modern cameras are very good, and the great photo artists have never been disturbed by the sky, nor the loss of detail in the shadows – they created masterpieces. However, the new time brings new requirements and requirements: I want, as always, to catch two birds with one stone: to work out the shadows in detail and make sure that the clouds around the sun do not light up (since we are not talents, we will at least observe the technique … maybe someone will notice).
I must say that over the years that have passed since the initial publication of this article on the site, photographic equipment has stepped forward a little, and a number of cameras can even shoot videos with “double ISO” today, which leads to the correct exposure of light areas due to the low sensitivity of pixels alone and the high sensitivity of others. The result is a pretty gray picture that is only suitable for displays with HLG (hybrid logarithmic color palette) and dense post-processing, but even now it’s still just the beginnings of future technologies.
Amendment of 2019
Software for HDR
If today imitation of HDR has already appeared in any Android smartphone (costs from 4000 rubles), then professional software for real HDR is considered special, therefore it is not cheap, and free programs are sometimes less convenient for the average person than their commercial counterparts, but this is already a choice to each. A good HDR gluing program has two of the most important components: image alignment, aligning, because most are removed from shaking hands (and the pixels need to be aligned to each other before mixing), and compression of the dynamic range to acceptable for viewing, tone mapping, since no 32 monitors will show the available 32 bits of HDR, except for the HLG color space mentioned above. The information component in HDR is in Photoshop, starting with the CS2 version (for today, its only free version), however, the program does not know how to align images, but if removed from a tripod, it is quite suitable, thanks to its great flexibility. Otherwise, the most popular are the following:
Photomatix Pro – USD 120, Win | Mac
Dynamic photo HDR – USD 40, Win
HDR Shop – USD 400 (old version is free), Win
Photogenics HDR – USD 700, Win | Linux
CinePaint – Free, Win | Mac | Linux
Qtpfsgui – Free, Win | Mac | Linux
How to make HDR?
There is a solution for this, and it’s very banal: you need to shoot 3 frames with exposure bracketing, and then paste the desired one in the editor. From here, however, several problems follow: manually this process is extremely dreary and it’s not yet a fact that it’s effective – even if you take it off a tripod, the problem of mixing photos into one will remain, because there will always be halos around contrasting objects that only Photoshop gurus can quickly get rid of which photographers are infrequent.
On the other hand, you can turn to specialized software created for this purpose – the benefit of it is written in heaps, both commercial and free. We will use the most popular Photomatix Pro. Naturally, you can get by with the interface available in Lightoom (select frames and press Ctrl-H), but it is convenient mainly for quick gluing.
Select a photo in Lightroom
The first thing to do is to shoot a series of frames (3, 5, at least 9
– for higher quality, the better, and with a larger number the step must be reduced) with exposure bracketing, preferably with a tripod. In my case, there are five frames with +/- 1 bracketing, shot with Panasonic G7, which is not the best camera in terms of matrix quality.
In other words, all three frames do not suffer from ideality, but there is everything you need: normally exposed (from here the program will take medium tones), underexposed (from here light tones should be taken).