I’ve never been a big fan of HDR photography, I’ve normally put it in the category of just because you can does not mean that you should. As you know, I almost never photograph anything that does not have a heart beat and so it is the rare case when I have a HDRable (my new word) image to work with. Seriously, try to get a bird to sit motionless for 30 seconds… Anyway, on my trip to Costa Rica we stopped at a church with the specific intent of getting some interior shots to HDR. I was grousing about the whole concept while looking out the van windows for some birds to photograph, but Greg showed me an image that he had taken at the church and I was sold.
Using my Nikon D300s and a 10mm lens I set up the shot and programmed the camera to take 9 images and to change the exposure by 1 stop on each image. My exposure duration went from 1/400 to a little more than half a second so of course I was on a tripod. In the camera, the images went from nearly black with just the light from a few of the stained glass panels to nearly blown out all over the image in the last. UGH, this was ugly.
I am a big NIK software fan and I buy all of their software whether I really needed it or not and so I have their HDR Pro software. As a side note, I use Dfine and Sharpener on all of my images. The next step is really the easiest. You open the images in Photoshop and open the NIK HDR filter and say “merge says a me” and voila, you’ve got a fully exposed image. Yes, I know you don’t really have to say the magic words, but it so magical it makes it more fun. Try it, you know you want to. This is the quite simplified version, there are a lot of sliders and effects that you can play with and come up with a bunch of other looks for your HDR image. I was trying to create as natural an image as possible given the situation. Many of the options will give you a far more artistic rendering, so enjoy it! Click the image to embiggen it. I like to make up words too…
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You can buy a copy of NIK HDR Pro from this link.
Nik Software HDR Efex Pro Software