College campuses in Mississippi offer some of the most beautiful and historic architecture in the state. As an employee of MSU I get to see them all the time and that gives me easy access to go out and shoot photos, such as my Chapel of Memories shot. Oh and let's not forget about that huge tree in front of this building.
HDR photography really drew me back into pursuing photography as a hobby. I stumbled upon it a few years ago through a web site called Stuck in Customs which showcases the work of Trey Ratcliffe. The surrealism of the photos really captivated me and I have wanted to pursue that ever since. Here is a basic overview of how I create HDR shots.
So how do you create an HDR photo?
HDR usually starts with a series of photos of the same subject captured at different exposures through a setting on your camera called "autobracketing". This settings tells your camera to take anywhere from 3 to sometimes 9 photos at different exposures from underexposed to overexposed. I almost always take 3 exposures at 2 EV (Exposure Value) increments. That means that the camera will shoot 3 shots, -2 (underexposed), 0 (Normal Exposure), +2 (Overexposed). When taking more shots, the EV increment changes to 1. For 5 shots, it would be, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2. The varying exposures allow you to capture all of the light in a scene, so that nothing is too dark or too light.
Post processing is a necessity in HDR. This is where you put those 3 (or more) images together. I use a software called Photomatix from HDRSoft. I simply load the files into Photomatix and then watch the magic happen. Photomatix blends the photos together to get something similar to what you see above. After that it's tweaking and adjusting to get what you want from the HDR image. After I finish editing in Photomatix I carry the photo into Adobe LightRoom and Adobe Photoshop to finish the job and create the final "masterpiece" that you see above (Don't laugh).