Think James Photo | HDR Tutorial

HDR. No, stop, don’t click away! I know that High Dynamic Range images can be controversial, mainly due to the way that the extreme forms of HDR (strange skies, over saturation and halos) are more like computer generated images than real photos, but if you have a go, and take it easy, you may find that you might actually fall in love with it.

For those of you who already know about HDR and just want to skip to the juicy part of the tutorial then please move onto page 2. If you want to get to grips with HDR then do read on.

What is HDR?

HDR is short for High Dynamic Range and is a post processing technique commonly made by taking different exposures of the same scene, each at different shutter speeds. The result is a series of photos of the same scene, varying from underexposed to overexposed. A software process then combines all the photos to bring details to the shadows and highlights. This helps to achieve the same task in the final photograph that the human eye can accomplish on the scene.

Want a more detailed explanation of HDR?.. Well ok then.

Your brain and a computer may be similar by using electrical impulses but they see imagery in very different ways. You, as a human being, alien or animal, do not see the world in one aperture or shutter speed like your camera does. Even a great photographer, with a really good camera, can rarely grab the scene exactly as they saw it. Cameras may be good at capturing tones, shadows and shapes but they don’t capture a scene how the human eye sees it. Your eye adjusts in different lights, sees more textures and looks in all apertures. HDR combines all of these situations into a single image of how the scene actually looked.

To prove to you that I know what I’m talking about here’s a few of my images that I have posted before. I won’t take it personally if you didn’t believe me to begin with. I could be anyone, perhaps even an old Architecture graduate who went into photography as he enjoyed it more then what he spent his degree doing. And who would want to be that guy? Moving swiftly on…

Cardinal PointCardinal PointThe office building on Cardinal Place Welcome to Westminster CathedralWelcome to Westminster CathedralWestminster Cathedral, London, is the largest Catholic church in England and Wales and is home to the Archbishop of Westminster (I’m not taking this from Wikipedia honest). Things I actually do know about it though (from my architectural history knowledge stuck somewhere in the back of my brain) is that its built in the Neo-Byzantine at the turn of the 20th Century. Symmetry of KingsSymmetry of KingsThere are only so many angles that can be found to photo at this place. This is one of the best but also one of the most shot. A quick Flickr search will reveal these. Anyway, I still couldn’t resist posing my version of it for you.

I love the symmetry it shows of the structure and also the ability you have to get physically underneath and interact with the architecture.
Deck 10, Down on MickeyDeck 10, Down on Mickey Orbit and StadiumOrbit and StadiumObviously the Olympic theme has to continue so here is another. Surprisingly behind one of the MacDonalds restaurants (yes there is more then one in the park) was a great place for photos. I quickly gathered up my family to this spot after taking this shot, for a group photo. Of course I always take them so am rarely in shots.

The Orbit structure that you can see on the right here is a piece of artwork created for the park. I guess the London 2012 website can explain it better then me os here's an extract:

"The search for a permanent artwork on the Olympic Park was instigated by the Mayor of London’s Office, which invited more than 30 international artists to submit their ideas for a sculpture of up to 180 metres tall.

Following a lengthy selection process, the Orbit – designed by internationally acclaimed artist Anish Kapoor – was chosen. As well as promising a unique moment and experience for visitors, the spiralling red structure successfully represented both London and the UK, and was reflective of the five Olympic rings."

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