Until a couple of weeks ago, I’ve never attempted HDR photography on a DSLR before. I have used apps on my iPhone (Pro HDR, if anyone was interested) but I don’t consider those two to be in the same ballpark, haha.
So here’s my story at my first attempt with HDR photography.
I headed out to a nice area a couple of miles away from where I live. I got to one of the locations I planned to shoot at around 7:15 pm which is like 15 minutes or so before golden hour, and parked on the side of the road. I hoped that no one would get mad at me for parking there but it’s not a very high traffic area so I wasn’t too worried. I got all of my stuff that I needed, which was pretty much just the camera and tripod haha. After I got everything set up the sun was still a little too high to get the nice pink-ish gold-ish looking sky so I was playing with the settings until it got a little lower.
So the ideal method for taking HDR photos is to bracket around 4 or 5 shots (Canon and Nikon are different). Which the camera takes the photos at different exposures in a couple of seconds. But the Nikon I’m using doesn’t have that sophisticated feature so I had to go old school and change things manually. At first I tried to change the Exposure comp. from 3 stops under, to 3 stops over exposed. But by changing it, I was moving the camera quite a bit, even while trying not to. It also took what seemed like 5 seconds just to change it each time so I had to improvise. The shutter speed is a lot easier to quickly change on the D3000 so I decided I would try that out by changing the shutter accordingly. In the end I did get better results with less shake using that method.
I took around 100 or so photos during that session and ended up with just 3 photos that I liked. I really I have to get used pressing ‘delete’ ha.
The programs I used to edit and stitch these together were Photomatix Pro, which I found out about thanks to Trey Ratcliff (which is the master at HDR in my opinion). And I also used Lightroom to finish up some of the final touches with the images.
Overall I’m pretty proud of myself for how the photos came out, thanks to the weather cooperating that day, there were some nice clouds which really add a lot of dimension to landscape photos. This whole experience just makes me even more exited to continue taking HDR photos!
So that was my first experience with HDR and I had a great time with both shooting and editing the photos. I’m already scouting different areas around here to see what would look nice as an HDR. I already have a few places in mind..