HDR Evolution

HDR Evolution

I, like many beginning photographers have become enamored of HDR photography. The potential of the technique to make better photos is enormous. However, many of us (myself included) have tended to overuse it and make...well... acid trippy photos. With Trey Ratcliff's adage "Friends don't let friends use HDR on drugs," ringing in my ears, I want to document my progression of the last few months in this post.

Inspiration

Upper Lake at Rockville Park - May 2012

This image is from Rockville Park, on a cloudy day in May. It was taken with an iPhone 4S and the Pro HDR app. This was the first photo to really excite me about the potential of HDR. The detail of light in both ground and sky amazed me. It was only a couple of months before I bought my first dedicated camera. 

The Camera

I wanted a camera that could auto bracket multiple exposures. I wanted a camera for less than $500. I wanted a camera with interchangeable lenses. So, after much shopping around on Amazon, I decided on a Panasonic Lumix. The DMC-GF3 (Affiliate link) model to be exact. It's a Micro 4/3 (Four Thirds) camera. Incredibly small, about the size of a consumer grade point and shoot camera without the lens. It can do exposure bracketing from -1.3 to +1.3. Not ideal but workable, especially when shooting in RAW. Then I picked up a reasonably priced tripod from Targus for $25. 

Rockville Park - August 2012

Hideous. I thought it looked really cool at the time. Well, lesson learned. Buddha though, is a little more dignified. 

Buddha in the Japanese Tea Garden - September 2012

While working in Photomatix, I've noticed I use color saturation and lighting adjustments less. Instead, my focus is on detail contrast which brings out the blacks in an image.

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Lawler House

Cloudy Sunset

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