HDR in My Neighborhood

It’s been a while since my last posting and although I continue to take many photographs, I felt I didn’t have anything compelling to share. I was spoiled by my recent trips to Paris and London. Therefore, I overlooked the daily beauty I see. However, we could find many amazing images right outside our doorstep if we take the time to look. The river that surrounds our community hosts many swans, ducks, one, two, and even four-man row teams. We, periodically, see cows grazing the fields on the other side. We’ve even captured a plane performing aerial stunts above our neighborhood as well as a hot-air balloon flying overhead. Nevertheless, more gradual events happen also. As the seasons change, I take a shot once a month of the back and front of our house to document it.

The trees in the neighborhood continue to strip their leaves in preparation for the oncoming winter. The ones remaining transform into beautiful shades of red, gold and orange. During the late evening sunlight, the warm light further accents the leaves and produces beautiful images. In addition, the sky has a pastel color that further accents the autumn image.

Unfortunately, when I take photo, the various amounts of light are too much for the camera to handle. There is the bright sky overhead contrasting with the dark river and shades within the trees. The human eye has no problem seeing the dynamic range in light. However, a camera is unable to capture all this information in one image. That is why when we take a picture of the sky everything in the foreground is dark. Yet, if we take a picture of the ground, the sky turns white with no cloud detail. There are techniques to combat this problem. One technique is to use a Graduated Neutral Density (GND) filter. However, that requires using additional equipment. The second technique is to take multiple images of the scene and combine them to accurately reflect what you see.

I won’t bore you with the details of how it works. Instead, I’ll show you some images I took with the camera and then the final image that combines them.

The first image I exposed the camera to capture the trees, water and fence. However, the sky is overexposed and there are no clouds to see.

The second image I exposed for the sky. However, everything else is underexposed.

The final image is a result of five exposures I made of the backyard. This is possible using HDR which combines various images with different exposures to create one properly exposed photo. Lastly, it is highly recommended that one uses a tripod to make certain there are no shifts in capturing the multiple images. Take the time to admire and appreciate the beauty around you. It’s more abundant than you realize. Then, go out and capture some more images!

-Roger

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