I’m still recouping from my whirlwind trip out West so I thought maybe I would share a few HDR shots I grabbed while hiking up and down the streets of the city. I don’t necessarily shoot a lot of HDR imagery bu sometimes the mood, and more importantly, the conditions inspire me. While the weather was beautiful for my short stay, it was also very bright and sunny and not always the best light for shooting. This is often the case when visiting a location and not having the opportunity to necessarily shoot in the best light at the perfect time of day. So we take what we can get and try to make the best of it. That’s why HDR is sometimes a go-to tool for me. Shooting in mid-day can mean large dynamic range to deal with from very bright highlights to deep, dark shadows.
This first shot was one of those moments. I was walking up the street, trying to grab a shot of a cable car when another entered the frame from the other direction. They both stopped in the intersection, with the rear car half in the shade and the front one in full sun. I quickly set my camera to bracket mode and fired off 3 shots.
After I got back to the hotel I uploaded the images in Lightroom and then sent them to Photoshop HDR Pro to create the image. I then sent it back to Lightroom to give it some finishing touches.
This next image was shot down at the Embarcadero. I saw this electric rail car sitting all alone near the end of the tracks. The light was kind of harsh so once again I turned to bracketing. I took them from Lightroom to Photoshop to create the merged 32-bit HDR file. I then saved it and opened it in Photomatix Pro. I did my tonemapping and then sent it back to Lightroom for a little more work.
This last image was taken in the same area, in the same light. I used the same process as the image above (Lightroom, Photoshop, Photomatix Pro, Lightroom) but I took this one a step further. Since I shot it with a pretty wide angle lens, there was distortion in the image in the way of leaning buildings. To correct this I took the image back into Photoshop and did a little distortion correction using the Free Transform tool.
Sometimes the situation means you make lemonade from lemons, and sometimes you make HDR images with full dynamic range.