Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Study in HDR and Black and White

In her last post Victoria over at Photography Unscripted pondered over the value using HDR (High Dynamic Range) techniques on her images when she prefers them in B&W. She mentioned not having found color images of her own that looked great as HDR. I have struggled with the same thing. I have found in my own photos there are some color shots or exposure ranges that don't look good as HDR. I have found some that look stunning, but have decided it is not meant to be used all the time. In fact I lean towards a more natural look in my HDR than some of the over the top stuff I have seen. Victoria mentioned possibly doing a bracket series of infrared and turning them into HDR. I would be very interested to see how this turns out in both color and B&W infrared. I am going to file that away for infrared season this summer. I think this could be amazing. Considering how good Victoria's IR work is already I'd like to see what she can do when turned loose on HDR-Infrared!

I did experiment with HDR in B&W white tonight with this shot of a great old movie theater in my town. The top one is a single exposure converted to B&W and with a 40% sepia filter applied to it. At first I thought it look pretty good. Then I did the same image as an HDR series using this exposure as the normal image and also using one shot 2 stops over and one shot 2 stops under and combining them in HDR EFEX PRO, then converting to B&W and finally adding the same amount of sepia (40%) to the image. I really like the HDR Image ( the bottom of the two images) because of the greater amount of detail the effect was able to bring out in the photo in areas that are lost in shadow in the single exposure. The HDR image has a really old feel to it and looks like it was shot with a 4x5 camera in the 1940s. I will in the future plan to use HDR in some of my B&W work where a gritty detail will help the feel of the photo.

If this post was a little too full of tech stuff I apologize.... Feel free to just look at both versions of the image and tell me which you prefer and why.

Keep Makin' Art!


Victoria Fatum said...

I really like the HDR version of this photo, Carl. I think what sold it for me is the glow from the lights... the way they hit the street and the building above. Really nice.

Carl said...

Hi Vicki
Yeah - The HDR on this one really brings out the details.