One of more controversial debates going on right now in the world of photography is HDR photography, short for High Dynamic Range photography. Please don’t ask me for an accurate explanation of the terms or even how it works. The first time I even heard of the term was during the MPIX New York photo tour last year. During the opening question-and-answer session, Rick Sammon explained that while the human eye sees about an 11-f-stop range, a single photo can only capture maybe 4 f-stops. Combining multiple exposures of the same photo can hopefully replicate the same amount of detail that ours eyes can see, from the details that are hiding in the shadows to what appears blown out in the highlights. You therefore expand the range visible in a photo, hence the HDR acronym.
I happen to like HDR, but I prefer it applied with a light touch—enough to remain realistic without going overboard and looking almost cartoon-like. (Although there are definitely artistic applications for that, too.) For example, I’ve always loved the photography of Ansel Adams, and found it interesting that he is often referred to as the first HDR photographer. It makes sense, because when you examine his photographs closely, you can see how much detail there is in the deep shadows and in the bright skies and reflections. His darkroom technique involved meticulously manipulating the contrast in the negative in order to display a wider range of visual information. In other words, HDR. Continue reading HDR the lazy girl way