HDR: High Deviation from Reality?
When i was starting out with photography, i was very strict with myself when it comes to post-processing. I only do cropping and minor color corrections. My purist reasoning was that, a good photographer doesn’t have to do too much editing if his photo is already good in the first place.
I have now fully accepted the fact that post-processing is here to stay, especially that we’re digital and photo editing softwares are available with a snap of a finger. In fact, eversince my installation of Adobe Lightroom 2, i become very fond of post-processing my shots, i feel like now i can’t live without it.
HDR, however, is another story.
High Dynamic Range, commonly known as HDR, is a post-processing technique achieved through combining multiple shots with different exposures into one image. Although HDR images often have vivid, striking wild colors, it usually looks more of a painting than a photo. This is what makes HDR attractive to some, and unappealing to others.
Personally, i like photographs that look like photographs, not photographs that look like they’ve been shot from fantasy land.
HDR is a good technique to try to bring into digital imagery a scene as the mind remembers it. As photographer Trey Ratcliff said in his blog Stuck In Customs:
…Even great photographers with amazing cameras can only very rarely grab the scene exactly as they saw it. Cameras, by their basic-machine-nature, are very good at capturing “images”, lines, shadows, shapes — but they are not good at capturing a scene the way the mind remembers and maps it. When you are actually there on the scene, your eye travels back and forth, letting in more light in some areas, less light in others… Now, you will find that as you explore the HDR process, that photos can start to evoke those deep memories and emotions in a more tangible way. It’s really a wonderful way of “tricking” your brain into experiencing much more than a normal photograph.
If the aim is to bring out vivid, striking wild colors into the photo, i have no problems with HDR.
I love HDR photos like this:
It is really an awesome piece of digital imagery, but as a photograph, the overall feel’s too cartoonish (like a 3D animation) for me…
I don’t mean to offend (if i did) anyone who post-processes with HDR. To borrow photographer Zack Arias’ words, i am just one person with one opinion stating my viewpoint from where i sit. We all have different opinions in every aspect of photography, from gears to softwares to techniques. This is just me making my small voice heard amidst a zillion louder opinions.
This is not an HDR photo!
Will i be doing HDR in the future? To tell you honestly, i have a feeling that i might, especially if i’ll be fortunate enough to one day own one of those DSLR bodies that can shoot 3 images at different exposures (is Auto Bracketing the term?). I consider myself a noob; my experience with photography is very young, and as i wanna believe, evolving. My feelings toward HDR may change sooner or later. So i’m not really a hater, just to clarify things. :)
But as of today, this is where i stand.
P.S. If you’re wondering what my “This is not an HDR photo!” doing around this post. I have two reasons for that:
- To show what kind of post-processing i do. I love bumping up the colors, and sometimes the sharpness/clarity to add drama. It may not work for everyone, and i’m fine with that. Just like HDR doesn’t work for everyone. We all have different take on things. Follow your bliss!
- So that this post won’t contain only photos taken by somebody else. I have to have my share, it’s my space after all.
Another P.S. I’m a fan of Stuck In Customs. :)