HDR first experiment – Sunset

As previously posted, I enjoyed the Photowalk and subsequent talk by Trey Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs fame, and it gave me a new appreciation of what HDR can do or could be used for.

I enjoy taking photos of sunsets, but it can be difficult to get foreground detail into the image if you expose for the sky. The foreground tends to be quite dark or silhouetted as a result. So I thought that HDR might help even out the light and give a better representation of what I saw at the time, but what my camera struggled to capture evenly.

The most critical thing is that I wanted the HDR not to be obvious, I wanted to use it to enhance the image with subtlety, not scream “look at how cool my HDR is”

So here is my first experiment – the one with the Photomatix watermarks on it is the HDR as I am only using the demo at the moment. Still have to decide if I want to shell out the $150 approx it would cost me and if it is really worth it.

Sunset unaltered

HDR Sunset with 3 exposures -2 0 +2

I personally like with the HDR version how the water picks up the colour of the sky more vibrantly and how you see the detail of the landscape in the right hand side, including some rising fog that I personally didn’t see as I always shoot without my glasses on and couldn’t see that far.

Overall the colours in the sky are much brighter and more vivid – this is possibly a little more enhanced that was natural – the deep orange of the sky under the clouds is darker and richer than I remember but I have seen enough amazing sunsets to know that nature can output these kinds of colours, so am not too bothered about it.

Am I on the right track? I enjoy sunsets and have been going out a lot lately, looking for the best spot around the local estuary to get them with some nice water in the foreground to pickup reflections. Is the Photomatix an investment, if I continue using it with a light touch?

We also have lots of of great stone architecture and buildings that I have been noticing, and once I get a day when the sky is right *and* I have my camera with me, I might get some HDR shots to compare.

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About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
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One Response to HDR first experiment – Sunset

  1. Katrina says:

    I like the water better in the HDR version but I think I like the non HDR version better overall.

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