HDR, or high dynamic range, photography has become very popular in the last few years. This process allows the photographer to render details in high contrast scenes including sunny day landscapes and building interiors, both shadows and highlights will have detail. All you need to do is bracket your exposures 1/2 stop or more for multiple frames. I often bracket around 1 stop for 5 frames to get good results. Using HDR techniques in Arches National Park in the middle of the day I could shoot Double Arch and still get details in my shadows while not blowing out my highlights.
Initially programs like Photomatix offered an easy way to get good results processing HDR images. And the latest version of photoshop also does a fine HDR merge. But with both these options you never knew what your final image would look like until it was processed. But now that has changed with HDR Efex by Nik.
This HDR software allows you to see the final result of a number of different HDR variations before you apply the process. Not only that, but Nik’s software offers numerous HDR processes including catagories like ‘realistic’, ‘surreal’ and ‘artistic’. Better yet, once you have applied the HDR process you still have full control to alter the effect by using adjustment sliders…things like exposure, contrast, saturation and tone compression are all available. In addition to processing bracketed images, I really like to process one image for creative effects. I was recently in the Dominican Republic and found this street scene. To add a little drama to the shot, I did a ‘surreal’ process on the shot. If you are interested in HDR processing, chances are you will like this new software.