Union Station HDR Success!

So let me just tell you, this is pretty freakin’ cool.  Last week I got a book about how to use Photoshop, something that I seriously have no idea how to work with.  Well, in this book it has a chapter about HDR, or High Dynamic Range, photos.  This is something that I have wanted to do for a while but have had no clue where to even start.

These HDR photos use between 3 to 9 shots of the same picture, but all with a different exposure, to give you a certain effect.   Different exposures allow you to see different parts of the picture that you might not have seen because certain areas were too light, or too dark.  When you sandwich them all together with Photoshop they allow you to see everything in the picture in a way that is impossible to view with just one shot, or even your naked eye. Here are the 5 shots I took that were later sandwiched together:

Union Station HDR 1 -2

Union Station HDR 2 -1

Union Station HDR 3 0

Union Station HDR 4 +1

Union Station HDR 5 +2

As you can see, on the really bright one you there are details on areas that you can’t see in the really dark one, and vice versa. Each photo is one “stop” apart from each other, but that’s something that’s super technical that even I don’t understand.  This book taught me that my camera is advanced enough to do this automatically, all I had to do was change some settings and keep still. 

You can also see that I set my camera on the handrail to keep it still.  This is because it’s against the rules to set up a tripod in Union Station.  A security guard stopped me from setting up my tripod because you actually need written permission from the building managers to take pictures there because it’s a privately owned building.  Who knew?

But because of my complete lack of Photoshop skills I was fully expecting this not to work, even if I had step-by-step instructions in my book.  Well, wouldn’t you know, it kinda worked!  After some extra tweaking the final product came out pretty cool (you can see a larger version if you click on the picture):

This is a perfect example of how Photoshop can make your photos better.  You could never get this scene directly from a camera.  With a little extra time and love on your computer you get something that is really worth the effort.

If you are interesting, here’s a link to a Flickr group that just has HDR images that people have submitted.  Some of these images are breathtaking: http://www.flickr.com/groups/hdr/

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5 responses to “Union Station HDR Success!

  1. Good work. Hdr is a lot of fun.

  2. wow that is cool!

  3. Impressive! I must break out the tripod and have a go. The fact that you managed this without one is even more impressive. Lucky there was something to place the camera on – the rail in shot looks good too.

    • Thanks for the comment! The railing really did help, but Photoshop CS4 supposedly has a really good realignment tool that even if they are off a little it will correct it. I pulled out the tripod later for some stuff outside that I am going to post later. I hope you enjoy that too.

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