In today’s episode, I take a quick look at a range of high dynamic range (HDR) techniques. From working with single images to merging multiple exposures, HDR techniques can give your photographs an interesting look. You can vary this look from the extremely natural to the intensely surreal.
This is the Union Pacific “Big Boy” 4005 at the Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver. The shooting conditions in the museum, especially of this train, are extremely difficult. First, you have extreme backlighting due to the large window. Second, the train is black and lit only with incandescent lamps. That means you have a difficult exposure and also mixed lighting. I decided this situation called for some creative processing.
I just finished up teaching a great hands-on class on HDR Efex Pro 2 at the Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver, Colorado. What was great about this class is that the museum offered us early access to the collection and permitted the use of tripods. That enabled us to get some really fun shots in fairly dark conditions.
I originally captured this image of the Cadet Chapel in 2011, using a Nikon D3s and 24-70mm f/2.8 AFS G zoom Nikkor lens. I intended for it to be HDR, but I just recently got the result I wanted using Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2. The combination of local tone-mapping via Control Points and new adjustment algorithms really made this image work this time around.
I combined the “Soft” detail option with the “Dingy” Drama setting in HDR Efex Pro 2. I used Control Points inside HEP2 to keep the sky from looking too extreme, and to only add Structure where I wanted it. I then used Pro Contrast, Skylight Filter, and Glamour Glow in Color Efex Pro 4 to finish the image.