The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Some HDR Experiments

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and it's a type of photography where you take 3 or more exposures of a scene, (one underexposed, one normal, and one overexposed) and then feed the images into a computer which correlates the images and optimizes the contrast and colour. You can play around with the results to get really artistic if you want, (see below - boosting colours, getting almost surrealistic effects) but even the basic output is a picture which has a much higher dynamic range than most photos and so comes closer to capturing an image the way our eye sees it (keep in mind that the brain does a tremendous amount of image processing and enhancement of the limited signals it gets from the eye).

Anyway, I downloaded a trial version of Photomatix, and have taken a few HDR shots just for fun. Since it's a trial version, it leaves a watermark on the photo, but beggars can't be choosers.

Here are a few shots I've done recently. Some of them worked better than others. Since I don't really know what I'm doing, using the program is kind of unpredictable, and it's really not 100% What-you-see-is-what-you-get. Also, I didn't use a tripod with any of them, so they're a bit blurry up close, but overall I was pretty pleased with the results.

Here's a shot of Beppu tower. I like the way this one turned out. The clouds look really nice.

Even a plain old street scene like this looks warmer and more vibrant. (Also Beppu.)

I was a bit disappointed with the way this one worked out. I thought I could make the rainbow
really stand out somehow. Anyway, it captured the way the sky looked that day, despite introducing some
weird edge effects (the sky seems to "pucker" around the wires somehow).

I shot this one from the 45th floor of the Tokyo Government offices today.

This one looked much better on my computer screen before I generated the JPEG output, but
it's not so bad. I like the sky and the glow from the street signs, which is what I was going for.
This one is just a shot from Minami Kashiwa station.

If you want to see more (and better) HDR photos of Tokyo, click here. Keep in mind that they're photos ... some of them look like purely computer-generated images!


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