Saturday, August 18, 2012

Using HDR for Tough Exposures

        Digital photography has changed the way we now think about exposure. It's no longer accepted to simply think about shutter speed and f-stop to make a perfect photographic exposure. The restrictions of the old film days are gone, and they have been replaced with all  sorts of new ways to arrive at a well  exposed image. Latest developments in imaging software have made it possible to get images that would have been difficult and sometimes impossible with film.
       This image was taken last evening here on  the lake. This time of year we have lots of weed growth occurring across the lake, and it's a huge draw to our waterbirds, who find an endless food source amongst the weeds. Simply by walking through the weeds, waterbirds can find a feast of frogs and small fish. I am drawn to the same weeds because of the way water and light play against this background. Add a sunset or sunrise to the mix, and you can see some amazing photos unfold before your eyes.
      The Great Blue Heron has always been one of my favorite subjects, but this heron presented a unique photographic situation. Back lighting can be tough, and sometimes just impossible. Over the years I have passed on so many shots, because I knew the results would be ultimately disappointing. Today, however,  I never pass up shots like this one. Using some of the tricks in my digital bag of goodies, I know that double processing a raw file can mean getting the shot you see in your lens. Unrestricted by the finality of film, I can over expose one file, while  underexposing another. By combining the two exposures, I can arrive at a perfectly exposed image. Oh....I do love digital imaging!
      All of the arguments about film vs. digital seem to have gone the way of the 8 track players. We have embraced the digital world, and we're better for least when it comes to getting great exposures.

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