Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cars and HDR

These are just two of my favorite things as the song goes.  If there is a Car Show in the Tampa Bay area on a weekend morning or night, chances are you see me, my camera and my tripod there capturing as many cars as I can in HDR. 

What's HDR you ask?  Well, some of you already know but for those that don't, I'll give a quick explanation.  HDR stands for High Dynamic Range.  Sounds pretty fancy and high tech doesn't it?  I guess in a way it is but it's really not that complicated. Photographers measure light in stops.  Our cameras have sensors that detect the light and can if you wish adjust the shutter speed of the camera to give you an even exposure based on the information the sensor receives through the amount of light the lens lets in.  Most cameras are capable of capturing 3 to 4 stops worth of light, your eyes can see between 11 and 14.  You'll notice this difference more in the highlights (bright areas) and shadows (darker areas) of your non HDR photographs.  HDR is a two step process, the first is capturing the scene (taking the photographs).  I 9 times out of 10 will take 5 exposures of the same scene each exposure is 1 stop over or under exposed from the previous.  (+2 +1 0 -1 -2).  By capturing the scene in this manner, you are exposing for both the highlights and the shadows, this means that once you have loaded the 5 exposures into your HDR software like Photomatix or HDR Effex Pro to name a few, you will now have details in those highlights and shadows that you didn't have previously with just the single properly exposed image. 

Here's an example of a 0 exposure (properly exposed according to the camera's sensor shot). This photo is straight from the camera, I haven't done a thing to it.

Here's an example of what the HDR of the same image looks like , saved directly from HDR Effex Pro without any adjustments in Photoshop.

As you can see there's is a lot more detail and vibrance in this image now.  Below is what the final image ended up looking like for those that are interested.

As you can see, there's a lot more contrast, vibrance, saturation and reflection in the image.  This why I take the extra time to shoot HDR, it's why I lug the tripod around and why it takes me some time to process my images.

It's not about taking a photograph of a car for me, it's about creating a piece of art with what I have photographed.  Anyone can run around a take nice looking photographs of cars and people at these events and some of these photographers are absolutely amazing with the camera but for me, I want a canvas I can create something unique and special with and that's what HDR gives me and that's why I go through all the extra steps to create the artwork I create.  Nothing makes me happier than hearing that an owner of one these amazing cars or trucks wants a print of what I have created.  That's one of the best compliments any photographer can earn.

Thank you so much for reading my blog, if you have any questions I can be reached at .   If you would like to schedule a photoshoot of your car or truck, let me know, I'd love to discuss it with you.  :)

Warm regards,
Michael White

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About Me

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My name is Michael White and I'm a Fine Art Photographer based out of the Tampa Bay area.   I enjoy photographing various landscapes and wild life that can be found in the US.  I am also the creator of a new process called High Key HDR. 
You can find my website at and I can also be followed on Twitter at @rorymadstudios .