Learning HDR Photography: Resources

One of the hallways inside San Francisco City HallOver the past year or so, I’ve started creating a lot more photographs using HDR (high dynamic range) technology. The human eye can see a wider range of tones (from bright white to absolute blackness) than can currently be captured by camera technology; HDR processing and tone mapping allows a photographer to merge multiple exposures to create an image with a different look that can more accurately represent the range of tones seen by our eyes. HDR can also be used to create surrealistic images that often have a painterly look to them.

In the time I’ve been experimenting with HDR I’ve received numerous inquries about the best way to get started. Here are a few HDR resources that I’ve discovered and found useful:

  • Trey Ratcliff’s book A World in HDR offers both a collection of his beautiful images along with his thoughts about the work and his process of creating them. For those of you who appreciate photos in the physical form, this book would be a great addition to your library.
  • RC Conception wrote The HDR Book, which not only covers the process of capture and tone mapping but goes into great deal about the post-processing that follows the HDR merge process. Most HDR tutorials and techniques only get as far as the tone mapping; RC takes it further with some great tips on what adjustments can be made to the resulting images for the desired effects.
  • My friend Doug Kaye has recently been writing articles about hands-on experimentation with a variety of HDR tools and techniques as he searches for the best image and workflow. Check out:
  • Trey Ratcliff offers several HDR Photography Tutorials as ebooks, DVDs, and on his website. Hit that link to check out his Stuck in Customs products.

Doug’s blog posts are free, Trey has some free material on his website, and the two books recommended are both under $30. The DVD tutorials are a bit more expensive but they’re really good and if you’re one who learns better from a multimedia experience I highly recommend it.

Let me know if you come across any other great resources I should be recommending!

Looking upward at a large skylight feature in the center of the main library in San Francisco

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