The Peirce Island Boat Ramp

Today’s post poses a question, to HDR or not to HDR?  HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and I’ve begun to use the abbreviation as a verb with friends & family as we joke about the process (which uses multiple exposures overlaid on top of each other to reach a broader dynamic light range)….but as you can tell from scrolling through the website, it’s something that I truly enjoy doing – as I find that it’s similar to the darkroom black & white processing I learned to do in college.  The digital post processing is still the romantic part to me (although shooting the scene is still most important), where it is up to you to create your vision.  I use it mostly to try and replicate what I saw with my eyes when I was taking the photos.  A single exposure often feels too flat to me, still beautiful – but short of the memory I have of the particular scene/experience.

To serve as an example, I’ve posted two versions of one of my all-time favorite images – the sunrise shot taken of the Peirce Island Boat Ramp.  The first is the “HDR” version, while the image below is nearly “out of the camera” with minimal additional tweaking.  Regardless – it was clearly a beautiful scene, but I’m curious to hear – which do you prefer?

5 thoughts on “The Peirce Island Boat Ramp

  1. I like the HDR brings out the mood of the scene and the colors in the ramp, sky and buildings. It could be done in camera with filters possibly but whst is the difference both attempt to accentuate the image. If done post processing with dodge and burn in during developing is there a difference to in computer processing. I think not.

  2. The thing about effective HDR processing is that it has a nice byproduct of bringing out a crazy amount of texture. When used effectively, it can provide truly representative images of what the scene actually looked – and felt – like.

    So, I am definitely a fan of the HDR version…. but you already knew that. 🙂

  3. Judging from all of the recent controversy regarding this subject on various sites, you’re pretty brave even asking this question. . .

    I think that HDR is a tool, just like any other – and the results from using it can be positive or negative. In the case of these photos, I definitely like the HDR version; it brings out details, colors and “mood” missing in the “unprocessed” version. I really like many photos where HDR is used to present the scene as it actually was, without going to the extremes.

    In the end, I think its the photographers choice in how he/she wants to present the image. I always try to get it right “in camera”, but I also occasionally enjoy working in the digital darkroom if I think it helps the end result.

    As always, thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to comment today! I appreciate the candid feedback, and definitely agree – it is certainly a tool to be used with control. I finally got over my HDR for the sake of HDR phase, I still process almost everything with it – but only like about 1/10th of my final products that make it….which has also helped me further develop my eye and trying to get it right in camera.

    I do love the added mood and textures that you just can’t seem to get without the processing….hope to keep everyone visiting and stimulated, I appreciate it! In the end, it’s all about the scene and the light, no amount of processing can rescue a goner…

  5. Hey there Phil, I’m a little late to the comments.

    I really enjoy the vibrance that can be achieved with HDR processing. I’ve been goofing around with single image HDR and have used many of them on my blog.

    Nothing worse than finding a marker at a bad time of day and shooting into the sun, or late in the day with a point and shoot. (Canon high five). Playing with luminosity and creating fake exposures allows me to take a trash bin photo and turn it into something halfway respectable.

    But in the hands of pros, HDR can produce some striking results. In the end, you are the artist, and the end result is something you need to be confident in.

    Thumbs up for HDR when it accomplishes that!

    Be well

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