HDR = High Dynamic Range with One Image?

Author: David Huffman

Yes!  You can create a High Dynamic Range image with only a single exposure.

First, what is High Dynamic Range?  HDR, as it is commonly named, is a method to expand the dynamic range of the image so that more detail is captured in the deepest shadows and in the brightest highlights.  Digital cameras, no matter how good, cannot duplicate the full dynamic range of human vision.  So, using multiple images (in most cases) images are created at a range of exposure from normal to plus  and minus several stops of exposure and then these images are combined into one file image.  This type of image creation requires a steady tripod and many other techniques to assure that the camera is not moved or other adjustments made between exposures.

But what do you do if the subject is moving, yet you want to expand the dynamic range?  I use PhotoMatix HDR software by the company HDR Soft.  I find it easy and quick to use, and I can even expand the dynamic range of a single image.  The two accompanying photographs illustrate this clearly, where the splash of the sea on the rocks was obviously moving quickly, and cannot be captured in three separate exposures with identical precision. So I just use one exposure and the software to create the HDR image.

If you would like to try this, take any single image you like and download the trial version of the software.  You can try it for free, and if you wish to buy it, you can save 15% using the links on my website,www.HuffmanPhotoArt.com.  Visit the SAVE HERE page to get the special discount code.

David Huffman is a Volunteer Trip Leader for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops, Author and Educator.