As the ice slowly begins to crawl across the lakes here in Minnesota, my mind wanders back to the smell of ethanol and warm sunshine. Simultaneously I also begin to plan and think about next year. Winter is always a season of change and experimentation for me. Most of those experiments happen at the local hockey rink, and make their way to the track come spring. An area I would like to explore next year is the world of HDR (high dynamic range) photography.
What HDR allows is the merging of several photographs into one, in order to better exhibit the range of light between the lightest and darkest areas of an image. Typically this is done through bracketing when you have a still subject to work with, or by editing a RAW file of drivers or track action. Essentially you are taking images which are correctly exposed, overexposed, and underexposed into one image! Once the images are merged you can make a number of adjustments, including definition, contrast, and color saturation you desire. There really is no right vs. wrong at this point…The program I use to merge my images is called Photomatix Pro, and is available for about $100.00. There are a variety of other programs available as well, including one for the new iPhone!
The topic has recently caused a little controversy amongst photography purists… Some see this as a new opportunity, while others view it as cheap photography. Below I have included some early experiments. We have included the original image as a basis for comparison. Let us know what you think?
Dario on Pitlane: f 2.8 at 1/8000
I really liked the increased definition in the firesuit and track here! However, where did those clouds come from?
Danica Waiting: f 4.0 at1/1600
I love how the textures came out here! However, getting blurred areas as smooth as you’d like without losing definition can be tricky! This was a tricky one!
Gasoline Alley: f 2.8 at 1/4000
Was surprised about the definition I pulled from this one.
Kanaan: f 9.0 at 1/160
I was pleased how this worked with an action shot at slow shutter speed, but maybe not my favorite type of image to use the software on?
What do you think of HDR and these images?