Using HDR to CYA

Long Grove Apple Haus, Long Grove, Illinois

Long Grove Apple Haus, Long Grove, Illinois

I was shooting some locations for a travel magazine and as usual the schedule would not allow me to be at every location when the light was perfect. As photographers if we could do everything our way (the right way: ) ) we would take 2 photographs a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Unfortunately the real world won’t always allow that – there are budgets and deadlines that must be met.


When I got to the Long Grove Apple Haus I stood there scratching my head for a few minutes wondering how I was going to shoot this dark brown building in this extremely contrasty light. I decided that the only solution was to use a technique that our new digital cameras allow us to utilize. HDR or High Dynamic Range (you figure out what the CYA above stands for) involves photographing a series of brackets in complete registration with each other that can than be combined in the computer to create a realistic looking final image.

4 exposures - 2 stops each

4 exposures - 2 stops each

In this case, the contrast was so broad that I needed a series of 4 exposures 2 stops apart to cover the entire range. The resulting image captures a range that would have been way outside the capabilities of film or any digital sensor.

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