Sometimes an HDR image can almost form in your mind before you take it. Other times, you can get surprised by the results of what might be expected to be a normal boring photo. On this occasion, I was actually expecting to get something nice back from the camera. The texture of the wooden jetty, mixed with the smooth blue sky gave me the sense that a gentle soothing photo was waiting to be exposed.
I was happy with the result here.
I had a few moments to spare when visiting Kyoto recently and decided to take the elevator ride up the 100 meter tall Kyoto Tower for a few sunset pictures. I didn’t have a tripod with me and a lot of the pictures are at ISO 3200 which is no good for HDR work. Here is one that came out without too much noise on it as the sun was heading down.
Underneath Tokyo Bay, linking Tokyo to the peninsula of Chiba, is the AquaLine. It is half tunnel and half low lying bridge. In the middle of the AquaLine where the transition from bridge to tunnel takes place is a large concrete car park and restaurant called Umi Hotaru.
From the photo you can see the concrete blocks from the end of the Umi Hotaru and on the horizon the Tokyo skyline. Everything in between is water and tunnel.
This was a set of 5 photos taken between -2 and +2 EV. The sky from the middle exposure photo is overlayed back on the HDR image. It was late in the afternoon when I took this and the concrete blocks are picking up quite a bit of reflection from the sun setting out to the left side of the photo.
The eye is able to catch many of the fine light details when we look around us. We see the shades of dark as well as the reflections of light. Often with a camera it is difficult to capture these two contrasting points, but by taking multiple exposures at different light levels and then merging the photos together we can create a more dynamic image.
HDR Photography opens up a new dimension to capturing images. Grains of wood and stone pick up the light and reflect it many ways, whilst glass also performs well at throwing off reflected beams of light.
I used the original sky from the middle of 3 photos I took here at -1EV 0 and +1EV. (This is before I realised my camera wouldn’t take 3 shots at -2 0 +2 for me and I had to start taking 5 shots to get the range I wanted). This was one of my first photos I actually liked the sky color as it was a blue and not gray.
This was more of a snapshot than a planned photo. I was walking past this local Shrine on my way to take some photos of the many cafes in Daikanyama, when my mind starting wondering what the brickwork and wood would look like with a bit of HDR and tone mapping.
I took this shot without a tripod, but since it was in the middle of the day there was plenty of light which meant the shutter didn’t need to stay open for too long. You can see a nice patch of blue sky above the Shrine which shows what a nice day it was. The Shrine itself was surrounded by buildings which gave it a coming out of the shadows into light feeling.
I had already set the camera to take 5 exposures in preparation for the cafes later, so the standard range of -2 -1 0 +1 +2 came out. I took these as RAW files rather than have the camera process JPEGs on the spot. I am not sure yet whether there is a great advantage here.
A few things I would like to change if I went back to take this shot again. The brickwork at the front of the Shrine was my reason for wanting to take the shot in the first place. This has not come out clearly, mainly due to the lens. I used a 24-120mm Nikkor lens down towards the 24mm end, but the corners of the image have been blurred away.
There are so many great scenes of Yokohama, but my favorite area to visit is Yamashita Koen. On a weekend there are many people walking in the park enjoying the deep blue colors of the port, the light blue of the sky and the greenery of the park in between.
Yokohama celebrated its 150th year of opening to the West a year ago and Yokohama Port Tower was renovated at that time. After all my visits to Yokohama I still haven’t been up the Port Tower to see the view.
This photo was one of my early shots. When I merged the photos I choice the sky from the middle shot since the combination of the 3 photos made the sky look very strange. I feel like the sky is a bit too bare here though and maybe some extra cloud would have been nice.