HDR ... High dynamic range imaging in digital photography, maximizes the scope of tones from the lightest to the darkest portions of an image; it's a process enabled by state-of-the-are image editing applications (including in-camera editing) that exceeds the initial, traditional digital imaging editing.
HDR images can portray more accurately what the human eye can see, ranging from bright sunlight to dim, barely perceptible light. Non-HDR images don't always record, in the same exposure on a camera's sensor or film, all that you see when you set up your shot. In the most contrasty of subjects, it's not likely that everything from highlight to deep shadow will be correctly exposed.
Cameras that do not have the capability of taking HDR images yield exposures that overall fall within a limited range from highlight to shadow. You might get images with well-defined highlights but detail-void shadow areas -- or, the opposite outcome.
An HDR image is one that, either, via in-camera editing, or, by way of image-editing software, restores lost detail by combining shots in-camera, or, combining portions of shots uploaded from the camera, areas of more than one exposure of the same shot. Simplifying -- correctly exposed highlight areas of one shot are combined with correctly exposed shadow areas of the same shot taken several times at different exposure levels.
When first learning of HDR, the tendency is to freak out, thinking "without HDR, none of my shots will be perfectly exposed." Remember, millions of perfectly composed photographs were take long before HDR came around although geniuses like Ansel Adams did their own versions of HDR in traditional darkrooms, dodging and burning film negatives before making prints.
Now, should you decide to experiment with HDR, keep in mind that there's such a phenomena as "too much of a good thing." I find lots of HDR images to look like overworked cartoons -- too much range in contrast and way too saturated with weird-looking colors.
The images I've posted in this article were taken with my 4G iPhone set to keep just the final HDR image and not the multiple (jpeg) images it took to combine into the final image. (I don't keep the multiple jpegs because they occupy memor).
The iPhone has an 8 megapixel (MP) camera which, given that my first digital camera was less than 2 MP, kind of blows me away. Obviously I like the image quality or I wouldn't be showing them -- but you decide; feel free to comment, critique ... I'd like some feedback.
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