Using HDR in landscape photography

Shacks, Valley Forge Nat’l Historical Park

This has got to be the worst winter we have in Pennsylvania. We did not have that much snow unlike last year! Bummer!
So when it snowed for about 6 inches in January I had to go to the Valley Forge National Historical Park nearby to shoot some fresh snow. The sky was overcast and the snow did not really stick to the trees. In other words, the weather situation was bad for outdoor photography.

The next day after a snow storm is the best time to shoot winter landscape because fresh snow adds drama to your images. My plan was to shoot the shacks and the grounds in the park. Valley Forge was the site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army. The shacks would make a pretty good subject, plus the foreground snow and sun in the background.

The weather was not cooperating so I bracketed my shots.I used the spot metering of my camera and I metered the sky to 1/60 seconds, metered the subject to 1/30 seconds & finally the foreground snow to 1/15 seconds. All these exposures were shot in RAW. Please refer to the second photo to where I metered my shots.
Where I metered?

I loaded these 3 exposures in Photomatix Pro 4.0 software for HDR, set custom white balance to 8000 to make it warmer and finally used the tone-mapping feature. I saved the file to tiff 16-bit and used Adobe Lightroom 4.0 to adjust saturation, color, sharpness etc. and finally saved it to JPEG.

Photomatix is a really good software for HDR. Just learn how to use it. There are so many tutorials about it in Youtube.

No matter how people call it; HDR, layered, combined or blending as long as you like the end result. Just look how there is now detail in the sky, foreground and subject.
So you be the judge about the final photo.

Keep shootin’

Abe

Technical photo stuff: HDR 3 exposures, DSLR camera, 17mm, f/16, ISO 100, 1/60-1/30-1/15 seconds, no filter. Post processed in Photomatix Pro 4 & Adobe Lightroom 4.

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