Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

HDR Experimentation at Circle B Bar Reserve at Sunrise

I’ve been reading a lot about High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography.  Camera sensors are not capable of capturing as much dynamic range in an image as our eyes can see;  therefore, images lack the full range of tones.  HDR attempts to solve this problem by allowing you to combine images of different exposures in software, drawing out details that were not obvious in the original images.

I’ve been curious to try this technique, so I took several shots of the Eagle Roost path at Circle B Bar Reserve this morning.  I had wanted to do a sunrise image, but since the sun wasn’t cooperating this morning, I chose this field instead.  It’s so pretty with the wild grasses all covered in dew, and Eastern Meadowlarks posing in many of the pine tree tops.  I took five images at 1-stop intervals, from -2 stop to +2 stop exposures.  Then I combined them using a trial version of Photomatix Pro HDR software.  Here’s the result:

HDR Image of Eagle Roost at Dawn

HDR Image of Eagle Roost at Dawn

In contrast, this was one of the original images (the “correctly” exposed one).  Note that it is darker and does not have nearly as much detail in the sky or foreground plants.

Original Image of Eagle Roost at Dawn

Original Image of Eagle Roost at Dawn

So now I’m even more curious to try this technique with a sunrise picture.  There’s not a lot of room for HDR in birding photography, but it is a fun technique to play with on landscapes!