HDR Life Lessons

Between “feeling puny” (as a former relative used to say) and being caught off guard by the early sunset (I somehow failed to notice that the sunset an hour earlier yesterday), I didn’t make it out to do a new shoot today.

But, never fear!  I have new photos to share.  I did a series of 5 exposures each of two compositions from the balcony at the same time I shot the images I posted yesterday.  These were just taken later in the shoot.

I included 3 images for comparison for each composition.  The first is exposed based on what the camera thinks is the correct exposure.  The second is under exposed by 1 stop.  I included the second image because I am particularly drawn to the high contrast of post-sunset skies at this exposure level.  To me, it looks the most like reality.  However, the buildings and landscape features get completely clipped at this exposure and I’d like to have a more detail in the landscape below the sky.

Since I shot 5 exposures, I thought I’d give HDR a try.

Even when I was shooting the 5 exposures, I knew HDR was going to be a long shot.  Literally.  By the time I got to the over-exposed images, the exposure times were multiple seconds.  The wind was blowing at about 15 miles per hour on the ground and who knows how fast higher up.  I could stand there and watch the clouds moving faster than a multi-second exposure.  Rapidly-moving clouds blur in long exposures.  Even the under-exposed image shows some blurring; the over-exposed images turn the clouds into undefined wisps.

But, I’m slightly feverish, so I have a good excuse to think it might create something interesting anyway.  I selected the options to remove ghosts and noise and to align the images when I processed the 5 exposures.  The third image is the result.

Photomatix got confused when it tried to align things and remove ghosts because of the differences in the amount of blurring between the multiple exposures.  So, the really dark clouds turned into floating dark blobs.  It actually did a better job than I predicted, so kudos to Photomatix.

The second series of photos is a different composition, but otherwise the same as the first series.  Same results.

I guess today’s life lesson from photography is that even though a camera can capture many moments in a single image and HDR processing can multiply that effect, sometimes we really are better off just enjoying each moment individually.

As a side note, Nurse Tisen seems to be ready for retirement.  Moving from the couch back to my office chair has him convinced I’m no longer in need of special attention. It was all I could do to keep him at a normal walking pace when I took him outside today.  Tomorrow he’s going to doggie daycare so he can run around.