I’ve been trying out this HDR everyone has been yammering on about and while perhaps I could have made better choices on what my subject was, so far I’m not too unhappy.  So while I will not be shooting all or even mostly HDR, I am tentatively on the bandwagon at the moment.


After all, without HDR this photo would either have been all darkness with a little bit of light shining through, or a single wall with bright blown-out shapes in the darkness.  While I feel like this might be a bit over much for the HDR effect I am generally pleased with what I got.


I am enjoying the deep range it offers, but I’ve seen so many photos that are so heavy on effect that I am a little leery of going overboard myself.  Even though part of me enjoys the crazy effects I don’t want to detract from the subject.  Of the photos I have processed thus far I think this one came out the best.

This area was near impossible to photograph, either the windows were blown-out or almost everything was too dark to see or make sense of.  HDR seems like a great tool for urban exploring in particular because it allows you to more closely capture the level of depth a person sees in places that are generally very dark with extremely bright highlights.  We have more trips planned before (and after) the snow starts flying here, so I will continue to attempt to learn this new tool.  And while I am at it I think I have some photos from previous trips that I composed with the thought of trying HDR at some point, so we’ll see if there is anything there.

I’ve already learned lesson number one:  Trees will always give you a bad halo effect.  Next time I go back this location I have a plan for a shot that I tried while there which turned out horribly in HDR due to halo effect.  Next step is figuring out how to cope with exterior building shots and fast moving clouds.

6 responses

  1. Wow! Where was this taken?

    November 25, 2012 at 10:02 am

    • It was a chicken feed factory in the south suburbs of Chicago. Now it is a rusting, crumbling shell of building that I really want to go back to. There is more to see there than you can get to in one visit.

      November 25, 2012 at 10:04 am

      • We’re very similar in our photography tastes. The friend I typically shoot with prefers nothing but urban decay (and he is an amazing talent) but I’m learning to enjoy capturing the world around me while I figure out what the heck to do with all of the features on this camera.

        November 25, 2012 at 10:08 am

      • I love, LOVE! urban exploring, but I could not only photograph that.
        Just curious, what kind of camera is it? My recommendation for a novice is to practice shooting in the AV or TV mode to learn how aperture and shutter speed effect your image. I rarely use the presets and never use the auto mode.
        For urban exploring (especially for shooting in the dark) I prefer the bulb mode with a cable release.

        These photos are HDR, or High Dynamic Range, meaning that they are composites of 2 to 5 images at different exposures (from under exposed to over) and tonemapped together so the overall light is more balanced. It isn’t a good technique to use all the time but you can build a crazy fun photo this way.

        Either way, welcome to the fold! I’m no pro (just an enthusiastic amateur) but will happily attempt to answer any questions you have. I look forward to seeing your work.

        November 25, 2012 at 10:17 am

      • I use a Canon T2I and aperture and shutter speed are what I can’t seem to grasp! I know their function in theory (to some degree) but I’m still uncertain as to what shooting conditions warrant which.

        November 25, 2012 at 10:26 am

  2. Nice camera!
    The way I learned aperture and shutter speed was by playing with them! The nice thing about digital is you can bracket your photo (take the same photo with different settings) and see what comes out best. That is why I suggest practicing shooting only in TV or AV mode where the only thing you fuss with is aperture or shutter speed and the camera deals with ISO and which ever you aren’t manually setting.

    For these photos I was shooting with an aperture of f20 (very small) so that everything is in focus. This makes the photo dark unless I make my shutter speed longer. If I remember correctly the underexposed shots used in these HDR photos was around 5 to 8 seconds, the overexposed shots were around 50 to 70 seconds.

    Also, if you’re in the Chicagoland area you could always meet up with us for a shoot at the zoo or conservatory.

    November 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm

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