Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Canon 5D Mark II Slot Canyons Digital Diaries Post #2: HDR is NOT Photography?

Here is an HDR image from today's shoot at Upper Antelope Canyon. It's a combo of six images - at, over and under the "best" exposure.

I was photographing straight up. The contrast range was beyond that of any film.

I could have opened up the shadows somewhat, but I was thinking about the expression: Light Illuminates, Shadows Define.

Then I thought about all the folks who hate (I know that is a strong word) HDR. Well, here is another expression: To each his own.

Me, I actually think that HDR photography is photography - because it helps use create an image that looks like the scene we see with our eyes.

Explore the light - and lighten up!
P.S. Learn more about HDR photography at the Plug-in Experience. Get a discount on some cool plug-ins while you are there.


John Tucker said...

Absolutely gorgeous, Rick! HDR works when done right. :-)


Jason Collin Photography said...

Rick I would have not known your great canyons image was HDR if you hadn't said so.

I think the HDR that gets people's ire up is the overly tone-mapped kind. Those HDR shots stopped me for over a year from seriously trying it.

Now I love HDR for when it is appropriate (I do not go the overly tone-mapped route).

I hope someday to get to shoot in these canyons.

Performance Impressions said...

nice shot, I have just started experimenting with HDR photography. I think such images should be labeled as such but not an official government label. Seems like the way to go when time and subject allows and you are trying to show definition in dark shadows while having bright hightlights.

Event & Live Music Concert Photography Specialists

Michael Van der Tol said...

It's all Art to me - even a photograph of a blurry potato.

Carolyn Fox said...

Beautiful image, Rick. HDR allows us to share what our eyes saw, without the limitations imposed by the camera.

Tim Limón said...

Rick, I agree. Anything that helps us get closer to what our eyes can discern is a step in the right direction. Photography is an art, the frame is the canvas, light and shadows are the paint. Technology (like HDR) gives us a better paint brush.

Rick Sammon said...

Michael ... re blurry potato: One out of focus picture is a mistake. 10 out of focus pictures is a style!

Thanks to everyone for all the great comments.

Back to processing my HDR images.


Rick Sammon said...

Michael ... re blurry potato: One out of focus picture is a mistake. 10 out of focus pictures is a style!

Thanks to everyone for all the great comments.

Back to processing my HDR images.


Greg Russell | Alpenglow Images said...

I love it. HDR is a regular part of my workflow, and I've spent a lot of time learning how to make it look "natural." I believe it absolutely is photography; I'm just helping mitigate the limitations of the technology.

Greg Russell

Steve Sullivan said...

To each his own indeed. Great article Rick. Personally I love HDR and the endless possibilities it brings. Thank you for sharing.

Jim said...

Preach it brother. There's nothing like HDR. It opens up such creativity. I know the people tend to be most impressed with my work when I create HDR images. And the bottom line is I want people to react to my work in powerful and positive way to my work.

denisephotos said...

It is always amazing and somewhat surprising to me when people try to plop photography into some kind of slot or mold, as if their own idea of photography is the end all. Photography is and can be something different to each photography. It truly is an artform for some, a way to document for others. Photography is what you make it. Besides, who cares what other people think.

Pete said...

HDR is great if used properly. There are so many people out there using it badly.

Lovely shot by the way :-)

Wendy said...

Not everyone is going to like HDR. Not everyone is going to like black and whites, or sepia, or even infrared. But that doesn't make it any less photography. We all have our preferences. My guess is, most people do not like what they do not know. But your image is perfect! PERFECT! I love it! The fact that you had to think about the lighting, the shadows, the colors, the overs, the unders, and the bests... well... that IS photography!

Steve said...

I am no fan of HDR. That said, it is a tool like any other and depends upon the hand wielding it for its value.
I still think my plastic boob analogy holds. When overdone, they scream "these are fake." Done well, the reaction is a more appropriate, "Hubba hubba."
Your slot canyon shot shows the appropriate restraint.

Chris said...

I find that the HDR's I like the most are one's that aren't immediately apparent that they are HDR.

Toned back in brings out the contrast in a photo, making it appear to pop off the screen/pages. Overdone and I just think it looks garish and over the top.

It's all opinion though!

Don Allen said...

Rick, Love the HDR - we had a great time at the canyons a few months ago, and also had fun with some HDR shots!

It could be said that since the camera has a lower dynamic range than the eye, and therefore the data it captures is not an accurate representation of the scene - then the only way to make it accurate is to use some type of dynamic range expansion technique - such as HDR.

At least that's my story - and I'm sticking to it!

Gary Simmons said...

I love the shot Rick, and I don't have much time for all the HDR-naysayers. Life's too short, and there are too many photos to be taken!

Photo purists make me laugh when they say HDR isn't photography because it isn't realistic... Black and white anyone?

I shot an HDR this month that I really like, and like yours, I don't think many would call it an HDR unless I pointed it out. But even if they did, so what? It's still a great photo to me.

Ian Lacy said...

This is a really beautiful shot. I think you nailed it; the shadows definitely define here. I'm a big proponent of HDR and I don't understand when people say HDR is not photography. I'd would wager all of my gear that if Ansel Adams had the ability to produce HDR images (which, in a sense he did in the darkroom anyway) he'd be all over it today, increasing its popularity. Any image that is captured through a lens onto some form of media is photography in my eyes, no matter the processing that goes into the final product. And because of this, I find that a lot of the major, vocal HDR opponents are somewhat hypocritical in their comments. They too spend hours in post-processing touching up their photos: dodging, burning, removing, adding. I don't see a difference. Both of these production styles work towards conveying the artists image, and that's what is important. HDR is wonderful in that it provides the ability to display the scene to the limitations of the human eye rather than the sensor of the camera. Thanks for sharing this image and keeping your blog top notch.



Francie said...

Rick, your blog is terrific, I have learned so much since I started reading it a few months ago! Knowing now that the camera can only capture a limited dynamic range has definitely been a plus when I work with an image in Photoshop and Lightroom to recreate what I saw at the moment of capture. As my technical skills improve I definitely plan to work with HDR also.
Thanks also on posting about Topaz Adjust, I bought the whole suite, WOW, what great plugins.

To each her/his own, absolutely, everyone views the world through a different pair of eyes, our photographic expression will (and should) be unique to the individual photographer.

p.s. I live in Tallahassee, and one day will make it to your St. Augustine workshop!