Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dying Sunflower #3, HDR

Dying Sunflower #3, HDR Version

Getting a sense of the extra control of mid-tones that HDR Pro gives, I had to go back to look at earlier sunflower posts and compare them to HDR images.  "Dying Sunflower #3" received the same workflow except the HDR step.   
Dying Sunflower #3, Original Post

While the difference between these two isn't huge, I think the HDR version is better.  The mid-tone shading has much more detail and subtlety and the highlight separation is much improved.  There is something going on here beyond better dynamic range, but what is it?

I read an article in "LensWork" recently by architectural photographer, Scott Hendershot, who is making the transition from large format to digital.  He uses a combination of HDR and panorama techniques to build up an image.  For instance most of his pictures consist of nine HDR images stitched together as a 3x3 panorama, meaning that he takes between 27 and 45 images, depending on the HDR brackets.  Hendershot claims that HDR gives you improved resolution and color depth, making it like using a higher resolution sensor.

Now I can see what Hendershot means.  The D700 has a 12 megapixel sensor, so the three image bracket would be about 27 megapixels after cropping to 1:1. The HDR image above in terms of resolution and tonal range approaches the quality of single shot pictures made with Hasselblad's budget model H3DII-31.

One downside to HDR - it makes sensor dust really "pop".  

Camera: Nikon D700 
Lens: AF NIKKOR 180mm f/2.8D IF-ED "Leni lens"
Exposure: ISO 200, f/22 @ 0.6s, tripod (Gitzo Basalt GT2830 and Gitzo GH2781QR ball head)
Lighting: Window light 
Location: Grand Center Artist Lofts GPS
Processing: Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS5, HDR, Nik Color Efex Pro

1 comment:

nospam said...


Just to clarify the ideas about stitching and HDR. Stitching several ovrlapping frames together provides more spatial information while blending multiple exposures into an HDR images increases tonal information. Using both together creates images with much greater depth and clarity. More like shooting 4x5. (

On another note, I really enjoyed your sunflower images.