July 17 2008 / by niksipolins
Category: Technology Year: General Rating: 6 Hot
With all the technology growth in fields like space travel and gene mapping, isn’t it about time photography took a real step forward? HDR or High Dynamic Range Imaging promises to do exactly that quite literally democratizing the production of digital images.
High Dynamic Range Imaging, the practice of ‘bracketing’, or combining in Photoshop, a properly exposed image with both underexposed and overexposed versions of the same image, creates stunning, surreal photographs.
The above landscape shot of NYC’s skyline at night is perhaps the most well known example of HDR Imaging. Yes, it is NYC. No it is not a CG promotional image of Gotham City for The Dark Knight (though it certainly could be). It is merely 3 photographs, taken on a tripod at different exposures, and last year it won 2nd place in Wikimedia Commons’ Picture of the Year Competition.
I know that FutureBlogger isn’t exactly a photography site, but this imaging technique shows real promise in putting professional quality photography into the hands of the masses.
While this practice may seem daunting to all but a few highly experienced photogs, it is not as complicated as it looks. Many entry level Digital SLR’s already come equipped with automatic HDR modes (just look in your menus), and as shooting time lag (time between shots) continues to decrease, and on-board camera processors continue to speed up, HDR imaging could eventually become something your camera does for you automatically.
In-Camera HDR would eliminate underexposed shots by automatically taking the bracketing shots for you, and this could happen within a few micro-seconds of your initial shot, eliminating the need for a tripod. An on-board bracketing algorithm would eliminate the need for time-consuming manual bracketing in Photoshop. (cont.)
Automatic HDR Imaging would be the end of dark or blurry low-light shots, and would mark the beginning of the true democratization of digital imaging. Anyone with a digital SLR and an eye for composition could contend with professional photo-journalists and artists (and their prohibitively expensive cameras). As ‘pro-sumer’ digital SLRs and point and shoots increase in technological sophistication and decrease in price, the future of digital imaging is looking brighter every day.