HDR photography if you have never heard of HDR

My HDR 1 was rock-bottom shocking (in a funny way). HDR 2 was an improvement. Since then I have developed a healthy addiction to HDR and post-processing (see Andy Confesses here). Most of my recent photos on this site are HDR or at least a fair attempt.

I am still on a big learning curve and the next goal is to become well-versed in Photoshop (I know a few basics only). One of my favourite artists in this field right now is Jimmy Mcintyre – click here. Plus Art Hakker also always grabs my eyes.

This post is dedicated to my beautiful life-partner who often wonders why I disappear from home for a few hours with my camera and then return home, only to sit in front of the computer for a few more hours.

The state of “meditation” I achieve staring at, fixing, mixing and creating the photos is very important to me. It nurtures and calms my soul. Nothing else is important at this time; neither pleasures nor worries.

To save time, let’s use Wikipedia’s explanation of HDR. I will also insert my set of images (only displaying 3 of the 9 used – exposures +4 to -4, ISO 100) and the final results (one shown below).

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The final results were achieved in 1.5 hours (post-processing time after the 9 photos were taken off the camera and loaded on the computer). Still lots of extra skills needed and I will have fun acquiring same in the years to come.

“High-dynamic-range imaging (HDRI or HDR) is a set of methods used in imaging and photography to capture a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging methods or photographic methods.

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HDR images can represent more accurately the range of intensity levels found in real scenes, from direct sunlight to faint starlight, and is often captured by way of a plurality of differently exposed pictures of the same subject matter.

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HDR methods provide higher dynamic range from the imaging process. Non-HDR cameras take pictures at one exposure level with a limited contrast range. This results in the loss of detail in bright or dark areas of a picture, depending on whether the camera had a low or high exposure setting. HDR compensates for this loss of detail by taking multiple pictures at different exposure levels and intelligently stitching them together to produce a picture that is representative in both dark and bright areas.

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HDR is also commonly used to refer to display of images derived from HDR imaging in a way that exaggerates contrast for artistic effect. The two main sources of HDR images are computer renderings and merging of multiple low-dynamic-range (LDR)[4] or standard-dynamic-range (SDR)[5] photographs. Tone mapping methods, which reduce overall contrast to facilitate display of HDR images on devices with lower dynamic range, can be applied to produce images with preserved or exaggerated local contrast for artistic effect.

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Back on the edge of Durban Harbour, South Africa – part 3

The final edition (part 6) of The edge of Durban Harbour followed on from part 5.

I said at the time that would go back there quite soon – I did just that!

“Back on the edge of Durban Harbour, South Africa – part 1” is here.

Part 3 is below.

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Overlooking The edge of Durban Harbour, South Africa

Ports & Ships advises as follows:

“The idea of Durban as a port dates back to 1824 when the first European settlers made a landing with the intention of setting up a trading post.

The Bay of Natal (Durban Bay) was one of the few natural harbours available along the east coast of southern Africa between Algoa Bay and Delagoa Bay (now Maputo Bay).

Vasco da Gama is said to have sighted the Bay on Christmas Day, 1497, when he hove to off the Bluff with his three small ships San Gabriel, San Raphael and Berrio, before naming the land Natal as a mark of respect for the Nativity. However subsequent studies by Professor Eric Axelson have suggested da Gama’s ‘discovery’ was actually further south in the region of the present Port St Johns.

A later paper by Brian Stuckenberg, director emeritus of the Natal Museum and an entomologist by training, undertook extensive research into certain aspects of the Portuguese voyages of discovery and concluded that da Gama was indeed off the present KwaZulu Natal coast on Christmas Day 1497 (Natalia Vol.27 pp 19-29).

History appears to have decreed that it was while off the KZN coast and not Pondoland that the Portuguese named the land they saw ‘Natal’ in honour of the nativity.

Since then ships called sporadically over several centuries, and who knows which honest merchantman or perhaps pirate ship sheltered behind the protection of the Bluff, that wooded peninsular that forms a dramatic landmark of present Durban.”

The photo below was taken at 05:18 shortly before sunrise.

The view is from the Bluff overlooking Durban harbour towards Umbilo, Glenwood and Berea.

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It’s gonna take some comparing

It’s gonna take some comparing to tell if the first set of photos at this location HDR 3 (high dynamic range) final have been improved on.

So if you have a minute, click on HDR 3 (high dynamic range) final, view the photos and then look below to see if the last 2 months of dabbling in HDR has reaped any positives (the quality of the HDR not the shot or view).

I’m using a Canon 550D with standard 18/55mm. Just discovered Magic Lantern to get more than 3 bracketed shots at once.

I leave ISO at 200, the F-stop is set depending on what the camera auto sets on AUTO mode (I gauge then set back to AV). I focus with auto then set back to M before shooting. The stabilizer is OFF.

Photomatix is my processing friend.  

Let me know what you think – I love hints and advice from any experts out there.

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Back on the edge of Durban Harbour, South Africa – part 1

The final edition (part 6) of The edge of Durban Harbour followed on from part 5.

I said at the time that would go back there quite soon – I did just that!

Photo 1 (only) is from the recent visit and the others are from previous visits.

So now we are “Back on the edge of Durban Harbour, South Africa – part 1”.

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