Quick Fix Fridays: Extreme HDR

The most dramatic HDR images are created in situations in which there is an extreme contrast range (differences in brightness levels) – when you are shooting from inside to outside and vice versa, and when you are shooting into the sun. Combine those two situations and you have an awesome HDR (High Dynamic Range) possibility – and challenge.

The key to getting a cool image is to take enough bracketed images to capture the entire dynamic range of the scene. You need to underexpose to the point where the highlights are not blown out, and you need to overexpose until you can see into the shadows.

As you can see from this screen grab, it took me six shots to capture the entire dynamic range of this very high contrast scene – my friend Spike hanging out in an old truck in a junkyard. The point: simply setting your camera on HDR (some camera models offer that feature) or shooting at 0EV, +2EV and -2EV does not always do the trick.

Speaking of tricks, to create that cool starburst effect, you’ll need to set your lens at f/22. The wider the lens (I used my Canon 15mm lens on my Canon 5D Mark II) the more pronounced the starburst.

Also, if you have the sun just peaking out from behind an object, the starburst will be more dramatic in your shot. Important: don’t look directly into the sun: you camera’s Live View is a big benefit for this type of shot. Sunglasses help protect your eyes, too.

For more on HDR imaging, check out my app, Rick Sammon’s iHDR.

Got questions? Drop by my website at www.ricksammon.com.

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