Posted by: cannedcumulus | January 15, 2009

It’s all in what you see: HDR Photography and its wondrous results

The Backyard Wild © J. Sullivan 2008

The Backyard Wild © J. Sullivan 2008

HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography has been around for a long time and has been utilized by many different photographers, famous and obscure.  Recent developments in computer technology have made it much easier for both professionals and casual photographers to experiment with HDR photography and unleash their creative potential with these types of photographs.

House on Kennebunk Beach © John Sullivan 2009

House on Kennebunk Beach © John Sullivan 2009

HDR photographs are created through the overlapping of three nearly identical images, the only differences between them being the exposure settings; one of them is underexposed, another is normally exposed and finally one is overexposed.  Upon combining these three together in a computer program and tone mapping the image, much more detail is revealed.  Overexposed areas can be brought down and details can be seen finally in the shadowed areas, previously invisible to us. This is a very simple explanation and a more detailed explanation can be found in this article. Also, other people’s examples can be seen here or here.

Kennebunk Beach © J. Sullivan 2009

Kennebunk Beach © J. Sullivan 2009

Many people think that this type of photography seems daunting and only professionals can do it.  This is absolutely  untrue.  A new software program called PhotoMatix has now made it easy for even a casual photographer like myself to create breathtaking and creatively inspired images with a surreal hint to them.  The only knowledge required is a basic knowledge of aperture settings and focus controls.

Kennebunk Beach © J. Sullivan 2009

Kennebunk Beach © J. Sullivan 2009

With these techniques, I have created four images so far which I have put throughout this post, one of which is also my header on my blog.  I hope you enjoylooking at them as much as I enjoyed creating them.  Remember, a camera takes a snapshot of what it sees as a machine; you have to make it align to your human vision of the world!



  1. Hello!! : ) I’ve made a blog that seems kind of like yours in interest. It’s updated several times a day with my two cents and things that appeal to me, tips and reviews and I hope you can comment or add this blog to your blogroll!! Comment back if you add me to your blogroll so that I can add you too!! Please visit my blog link below!! Thanks a lot!! 😀

  2. Helpful and informative piece. Love the photos. Nice blog. thanks for sharing.

  3. Just an idea, is there any chance of us to be contribution authors as well? It’s a benefit for you too as you can boost the traffic to your blog from the viewers of my blog and vice versa for me by linking our news. It can also make our blogs more vibrant and interesting as we have a wider network.

    Please let me know your idea of it. Reply at my blog. Thanks! 🙂

  4. this was one of my favorite days with you, and i’m so glad that you are finally exploring the world of HDR–even if we had to stand in subzero weather to get just the right shots. when we get back to school, i can’t wait for you to give me a crash course in this. i’ll bring the camera, you bring the skill ;0)

    ps. i love you sir<3

  5. It’s okay. No harm done. But I hope we’ll be in touch and if you want us to work together some time, I’ll be stoked! As guest-author too maybe.

    P/S: Yea, you should try the dish. It’ll be smacking hot if you put more blendered chillis. Well, if you like hot stuff I mean. Cherio! 🙂

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