19 Beautiful Examples of HDR Done Right

19 Beautiful Examples of HDR Done Right

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As some of you may know, HDR photography is a big part of what I do. I’ve spent countless hours learning, practicing and honing my processing techniques and I’d like to think that by now I have an eye for a good HDR image. One thing that gets on my nerves is when I see a post on some blog titled “50 Examples of Incredible HDR Photography.” It’s not the title that bugs me, but the content. So many of these list posts are full of poor examples of HDR photography. Maybe not to the untrained eye, but certainly to an avid HDR enthusiast. Some of the images are great, don’t get me wrong, but others are full of over saturation, blatant halo’s, blown channels, and just bad imagery. It seems that the extent of these authors involvement in the world of HDR is the time it took to scour the web to create a post for it.

I thought I would do something a little different. I spend pretty much every day of my life in the HDR community. Whether I’m updating my daily blog, chatting with other HDR photographers on Twitter and email, viewing the work of these great photographers on their blogs, or even writing articles on HDR for this site. I am pretty picky about the images I will share with others. If it doesn’t blow me away, I don’t spend much time looking at it.

What’s different about this list of HDR images is that an HDR photographer (your truly) is putting the list together. I’m not saying that my opinion is superior to the next guy, but I think that when it comes to spotting a great HDR image I’m up for the challenge.

Below are a few examples of absolute spot on HDR images from around the world, and all from different photographers. These images (at least in my opinion) represent a handful of the best work the HDR community has to offer. You won’t find any halo’s, ghosting, blown channels, or muddy whites in these images! Every image was carefully hand picked for excellence in processing and composition.

Note: I’ve provided links to all these photographers sites. Be sure to click the images to see some more incredible work from these guys. These images are just the beginning!

For more information on HDR Photography, just type “HDR” into the search box at the top of the DPS site.

1.) Willow Trees in Cassiobury Park – Watford, England

Image by Daniel Loshak

2.) Dallas Cowboys Football (hold comments on our season please) – Dallas, Texas

Image by Cliff Baise

3.) The Taj Mahal – India

Image by Trey Ratcliff

4.) The Flatiron Building – Manhattan, New York

Image by Dave Wilson

5.) A Long Sunset in the Emerald City – Chicago, Illinois

Image by Justin Kern

6.) A Back-lit Nebraska Storm

Image by Mike Olbinski

7.) After the Storm – Dubai, United Arab Emerits

Image by Catalin Marin

8.) Split – Boston, Massachusetts

Image by Scott Wyden

9.) Flagstaff Lake Sunrise – Maine

Image by Rob Hanson

10.) Golden Delight – Clifton Springs, Australia

Image by Danka Dear

11.) The Workstation – Lawrence, Massachusetts

Image by Bob Lussier

12.) Christmas Night Snowfall – Monte Berico, Vicenza

Image by Augusto Mia Battablia

13.) Colorado Ball0on Classic – Colorado

Image by Chris Coleman

14.) Tugboats in the Snow – Portsmouth New Hampshire

Image by Philip Cohen

15.) Rugged Dartmoor – England

Image by David Wares

16.) The New York City Skyline – New York, New York

Image by Tim Gibson

17.) Relics – Portland, Oregon

Image by Brian Matiash

18.) Here Comes the Sun – Eleuthera, Bahamas

Image by Scott Frederick

19.) Locals of Halong Bay – Vietnam

Image by Jacob Lucas

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James Brandon is a landscape and weather photographer, photo educator and author residing in Dallas, Texas. Get access to his free video tutorial library at his website which is also full of photo tips and articles to help photographers advance their skills and keep their passion for photography alive. James hosts workshops around the world and sells ebooks, video courses, presets and more through his online store. Use the coupon code "DPS25" for an exclusive discount!

  • Dana

    Corrections to last post.
    To add to my last comment……. Since this is posted on DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY SCHOOL, I must assume everyone is using a DIGITAL camera or digital camera back. Therefore everyone must be using some form of computer interface and software to get photo’s downloaded and edited. Therefore no one here is a purist just an artist. and some damn good artist too! Enough SaId!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • anonymous

    these truly are BEAUTIFUL

  • Adele

    To Anonymos

    You sure know your stuff & know what you are talking about my Hat goes off to you
    And to all the Other’s that are in this to Have Fun & Love what they are doing Keep up the Good work & Beautiful
    Shots And to
    Steve (Sam) Jackson Your comment was so far out there

  • Hi Adele, the debate has many facets as did my comment so to sum up by saying I was way out is too vague to reply to you directly so I can’t. but I will add a bit more.

    For all it looks like I am dismissing HDR for myself at this time I nowhere say I’m dismissing it for other people to use and this example [eimg url=’http://www.myshutterspace.com/photo/ready-to-roll-1?context=user’ title=’ready-to-roll-1?context=user’]

    is one I commented on prior to reading this article saying :- Hi Wayne I’m not one for commenting much on HDR as I’m no great fan of the results it gives and in particular on landscape shots where 99% of the time there is some halo effect to be seen as a result of using it.

    That said indoor shots it seems are less prone to that so are more suited to the technique and this is a good example of when it is a useful process to have in a photographers armoury.

    The result here is as good as any I have seen and considering you took it hand held I have to say the finer details have been retained ( the headlight for example ) and the contrasts are pretty good too which is something that also usually suffers in HDR.
    Praise where it’s due is my motto and so there you go it gets my thumbs up :o)

    Now as you see I genuinely thought it was praiseworthy but that is because it is not a million miles away from how it would probably look but easier to see than an image from a single file might look , therefore it is easy on my eyes which can’t be said for many of the examples on show in this article and that in a nutshell is what most of the people who aren’t fans of the process would say . The issue is the debateable ” done right ” , as was said earlier one persons right is anothers wrong ..live with it , don’t browbeat others into accepting HDR , let it grow on them as it might .

  • I like two of these images. That doesn’t mean the others are bad or wrong, just not to my taste.

    Why some people commenting on here, for and against these kind of HDR images, can’t see that I don’t know. There’s no point in arguing about right or wrong, it simply doesn’t apply.

  • Mandy

    I’m new at HDR, but I’d love feedback…

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7716079@N04/

  • Steve

    To pick out one, Dave Wilson’s remarks are spot on. These are art and are not meant to be documentary. If you like the technique, great. If you don’t, just walk away. But please leave your arrogance behind. I’m not a huge fan of these images; I too would rather they lean to the subtle and not be overpowering, but I do appreciate many of them which are simply flat-out striking.

    And for those of you who believe that the only pure photo is the ONE that comes out of the camera (and are quick to demean others who post-process their images), remember that Ansel Adams was a master of the darkroom.

    Lighten up, folks.

  • Well said, Steve!!!

  • Thank you for a very interesting post, and some exceptional HDR photos.

    It would be super helpful to read an article (or short series of articles) on “getting HDR right.”

    The photos shared are obviously a result of the individual photographer having the knowledge of “what to do right” and probably having a significant amount of “learned and field experience”. It would be very helpful to get these photographers (or James yourself) to share some of their (or your) “learned secrets and tips” with the rest of us, who are always trying to improve our technique.

    Thanks again for a great post and set of excellent HDR photos.

  • Alastair W

    what is HDR Sorry to ask but I am a novice

  • julie

    Stunning. Simply stunning. Thank you.

  • While the hollywood animators are trying hard to move their created realms closer to ours and with each succession it looks more “real”, HDR seems to be moving the opposite direction.
    They are beautiful to look at though but hardly able to bring any inspiration or emotion to it, at the back on the mind, one wonders, could this be real or created?

  • While the hollywood animators are moving their rendering closer to our real world and with each succession geting closer, HDR seems to be moving the other direction? Pretty images i must say though i find it hard to draw any emotion out of it.

  • ooops! sorry, I didn’t mean to post twice….I didn’t see a “comment must now be approved” or any other kind of indicator so i thought my cmt did not go through!

    I’m not here to argue for or against, I think that is pointless. For photographers not to use any and all available tools to produce their art, to me would be like saying Ansel should NOT have spent countless hours on ea photo in the darkroom!

    This pic is another example of me needing to spend more than 7mins editing BUT, I think this is a perfect example of a good use of HDR….I mean how else would you shoot it with the sun behind the school??

    Other than making composites….

    [eimg url=’http://timsdigitaldarkroom.com/Landscapes/Vermont-and-Maine/Vermont-and-Maine-2010/MG408788899091tonemapped-copy/1075562738_6U4kn-M-1.jpg’ title=’1075562738_6U4kn-M-1.jpg’]

  • tom hdr

    @timdd, you made great HDR photos! You obviously have mastered one of HDR’ fundamental: making apocalyptic sky. Don’t worry if others disagree, obviously they don’t have the sort of trained eyes like mine’s or James’s.

  • These are really good – it helps to look at correct examples to know how to improve your own work

    Thanks,

    Evan

  • Yes I to dabble in HDR….I love how it dramatises skys, and enhances steel and rust.

    I try not to over do it too.

    Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.

    It does here.

    [eimg link=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/edster951/4230040224/’ title=’Little Yellow Digger (HDR)’ url=’http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4011/4230040224_cb07d5dc75.jpg’]

  • Aidan Weltner

    Those are great images. Those are pictures I aspire to take when I shoot HDR.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/aidanweltner/sets/72157625315649520/

  • elle

    ok so im new here and i have nooo idea what HDR is, i mean i have photoshop….is that what it is… cause yeah i really wanna know…im only 15 thats why i dont know alot

  • Geez, so many harsh comments. Remind me never to write an article for DPS. haha. I find HDR fascinating. Just another art form. Can’t it be appreciated for that? Nice photos. I really like the Dallas Cowboys one simply because it’s inside so even though there is some natural light, it’s probably got a lot of harsh stadium lighting too. I’m no expert. Just an avid fan of photography in ALL it’s forms. 🙂 thanks for sharing.

  • Great images but I think that this has just become a bit of a fad, most photographers seem to be marketing this type of image as something that is a bounus and then run the images taken through a program without considering how it actually works. Did you know HDR was originally used for lighting in 3D applications like Maya? And that was back when Fight Club was made. Its nothing new.

  • annonymous

    Hey Paul HDR was first used in the early 1900’s. It’s really nothing new! :))

  • Tracy

    Wow! These really are amazing images and tremendous examples of HDR. I have to say I do have a favorite – which is almost impossible with this group of photos – but “Colorado Ball0on Classic – Colorado” is a colorful feast to the eyes – at least for me. However, each image is a true testament to the power of HDR and really offers much to strive for. Thanks for this post!

  • Jense

    Thanks for this article (I am a newbie and trying to understand all I read about HDR).

    As someone new to photography, when I look at your examples I want to emulate #11; #14; and #17 – they look like amazing shots (probably done with a very expensive camera). I saw them and said to myself, ‘THAT’s the kind of shot I want to be able to take!’

    The rest look incredibly ‘fake’ to me, but they draw my interest because they indicate that the creators have terrific skill using some sort of program – like Photoshop. I look at these and think to myself, ‘There is someone who could teach me how to manipulate photos.’

    So, if I wanted to learn how to take amazing photos, I’d look to the three photographers that I singled out. And now I realize from your article that I would have been fooled. However! Since they ‘fooled’ me so well, I’d still look to them to learn how they did what they did (I’d love to see the original shots!).

    Thanks for all of the visual examples; they really assisted me in getting an understanding of this HDR discussion/debate. Cheers!

  • Andrew

    Seattle is the Emerald City…

  • Rick

    I don’t like HDR, it’s not what I enjoy seeing done to a nice photo. To be honest I don’t see how anyone can say an image like that blue thing with the building on the island is good art. But to each his own.

  • ross a

    i have just got in to hdr and think im doing ok but all my pictures look more like it has a paint effect but im looking for a more real effect like the picture above of th hot air balloons, can any one give me some tips on how i can get this.

  • Zack

    I was shooting real estate pictures of an 100yr old house and stumbled upon this window looking out on the property… thought it would be a good chance to mess with HDR…

  • uncle-rhea

    these examples are really beautiful, but they don’t look very realistic in my humble opinion. i still get confused as to whether or not HDR should be realistic or if it is supposed to look surreal. i can admire them for their artistic value. i specially like the image Bob Lussier that was posted. very nice.

  • I’m new to the photography world, but it seems to me HDR photos are like extensions of our personalities. We are all different in our own ways…that’s what makes us human. Therefore, as photographers our photos are also different. If you want to claim one photographer’s photos are better than another photographers…then take a look at the comments made by people on websites such as Flicker… It appears to me the better looking photos get the more positive comments anyway! As I stated before, I’m new to photography, but have read many articles written by Mr. Brandon and tried to follow his lead and explore the possibilities of HDR. Here’s an example of my attempt at his way and also my very first HDR…a blownout one!
    [eimg link=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/holtzarbeiter/5573767072/’ title=’Stairway to Heaven’ url=’http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5029/5573767072_8e1e9aef04_z.jpg’]
    [eimg link=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/holtzarbeiter/5435954952/’ title=’Mannheim Wasserturm’ url=’http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4093/5435954952_9c2c915053.jpg’]

  • mike

    I enjoy photography and enjoy HDR processing. These are fantastic images, well done.

  • Adele

    All very well done & Love Stairway to Heaven

  • Mark

    I think the difference between tone mapping and HDR needs to be clarified. I take a lot of interior shots for the magazine I work for and lately have been doing a lot of HDR bracketed sets to keep the detail in the bright windows and bring up the shadow detail. You don’t need to have an HDR image that looks surreal – I personally can’t do this as it’s unacceptable for what I do, and it’s been done to death now anyway.
    Just my personal opinion but this tone mapped effect belongs on band cd covers and advertisements, but I love a good natural, detailed HDR image with a dramatic sky and nice colours.

  • nice photos, thanks for sharing these. i love the first one

  • Jason

    Had a great laugh… 19 great HDRs? Everytime you show me a great HDRi, I can show you 1,000,000 terrible ones. You guys are with the wrong crowds…. It’s a waste of time trying to turn terd into gold.

  • A.J.

    So, if I am somewhat “new” to the whole HDR look, can you recommend the best way to go about honing one’s skills? I do not want to do it to every single image (I know I have this tendency when I start something new), but I would like to experiment with it a little bit. Thanks!

  • Joy

    Amazing work! Something to aspire to for sure!

  • nothing worse than an overcooked image, these are v nice examples, thanks for sharing. especially like Mike Olbinski’s Nebraska capture.

  • Jim

    Great photos. Just a tip though – the plural of halo is halos, not halo’s. So you are using wrong when you say:
    “Some of the images are full of halo’s.”
    “You won’t find any halo’s in these images.”
    “HDR done wrong contains horrible halo’s.”

    Instead, you should write:
    “Some of the images are full of halos.”
    “You won’t find any halos in these images.”
    “HDR done wrong contains horrible halos.”

    You can use the apostrophe and type halo’s, but only when you are writing about a possessive quality of the halo. For example:
    “The halo’s glare ruins the picture.”
    “The halo’s blur is all over this photograph.”

    I am not saying this to hurt or to ridicule. I am saying it as a tip so that your writing can be just as beautiful as your photographs. Just like when you see a photo and think “that photo is pretty, but it could be a little bit better if the photographer had just adjusted his ISO”. I see your writing and think “that writing is informative, but it could be a little bit better if the author had just adjusted his punctuation.” Some people have an eye for photos, some people have an eye for punctuation.

  • LOL. Jim, slow down there buddy. I’m well aware of the difference between halos and halo’s. It’s just an innocent typo in the article 😉 If I got a comment like that every time I accidentally typed your instead of you’re or its instead of it’s I think I’d just have to quit writing altogether.

  • This is a decent collection of HDR photography inspiration. Most of your photo are not digitally edited or maybe not that obvious 😀 I would like to share my own collection http://designecho.com/inspirations/35-stunning-hdr-photography-examples/

    Thanks!
    designecho.com

  • Vangelis

    The video game industry had its problem with overdue of HDR, when everything looked like plastic.
    I see the same problem in the pictures showed here, metal, wood, rocks that look like plastic.

  • Craig Swinson

    YEAH….no. There are maybe 6 or so…

  • R3DK1NG

    …Cool story bro

  • wlalos

    All these pics looks to me like cat’s vomit.

  • Alexander Hugestrand

    What makes people vomit over HDR-images is the false relation in brightness of objects relative each other. Image nr 9 for instance. My guess is that the sky was actually brighter than the trees in reality, but in the image it’s the opposite.

  • Denys Almaral

    When they are “done right”, then you don’t notice the are “HDR”.

Some Older Comments

  • Vangelis July 4, 2013 08:00 am

    The video game industry had its problem with overdue of HDR, when everything looked like plastic.
    I see the same problem in the pictures showed here, metal, wood, rocks that look like plastic.

  • designecho April 2, 2013 01:08 am

    This is a decent collection of HDR photography inspiration. Most of your photo are not digitally edited or maybe not that obvious :D I would like to share my own collection http://designecho.com/inspirations/35-stunning-hdr-photography-examples/

    Thanks!
    designecho.com

  • James Brandon February 20, 2013 06:29 pm

    LOL. Jim, slow down there buddy. I'm well aware of the difference between halos and halo's. It's just an innocent typo in the article ;-) If I got a comment like that every time I accidentally typed your instead of you're or its instead of it's I think I'd just have to quit writing altogether.

  • Jim February 20, 2013 03:12 am

    Great photos. Just a tip though - the plural of halo is halos, not halo's. So you are using wrong when you say:
    "Some of the images are full of halo’s."
    "You won’t find any halo’s in these images."
    "HDR done wrong contains horrible halo’s."

    Instead, you should write:
    "Some of the images are full of halos."
    "You won’t find any halos in these images."
    "HDR done wrong contains horrible halos."

    You can use the apostrophe and type halo's, but only when you are writing about a possessive quality of the halo. For example:
    "The halo's glare ruins the picture."
    "The halo's blur is all over this photograph."

    I am not saying this to hurt or to ridicule. I am saying it as a tip so that your writing can be just as beautiful as your photographs. Just like when you see a photo and think "that photo is pretty, but it could be a little bit better if the photographer had just adjusted his ISO". I see your writing and think "that writing is informative, but it could be a little bit better if the author had just adjusted his punctuation." Some people have an eye for photos, some people have an eye for punctuation.

  • Barney Delaney - Landscape Photography May 11, 2012 10:29 pm

    nothing worse than an overcooked image, these are v nice examples, thanks for sharing. especially like Mike Olbinski's Nebraska capture.

  • Joy December 31, 2011 09:50 am

    Amazing work! Something to aspire to for sure!

  • A.J. December 30, 2011 06:45 pm

    So, if I am somewhat "new" to the whole HDR look, can you recommend the best way to go about honing one's skills? I do not want to do it to every single image (I know I have this tendency when I start something new), but I would like to experiment with it a little bit. Thanks!

  • Jason November 12, 2011 09:29 am

    Had a great laugh... 19 great HDRs? Everytime you show me a great HDRi, I can show you 1,000,000 terrible ones. You guys are with the wrong crowds.... It's a waste of time trying to turn terd into gold.

  • Dennis FA October 9, 2011 04:12 pm

    nice photos, thanks for sharing these. i love the first one

  • Mark July 22, 2011 04:59 am

    I think the difference between tone mapping and HDR needs to be clarified. I take a lot of interior shots for the magazine I work for and lately have been doing a lot of HDR bracketed sets to keep the detail in the bright windows and bring up the shadow detail. You don't need to have an HDR image that looks surreal - I personally can't do this as it's unacceptable for what I do, and it's been done to death now anyway.
    Just my personal opinion but this tone mapped effect belongs on band cd covers and advertisements, but I love a good natural, detailed HDR image with a dramatic sky and nice colours.

  • Adele July 8, 2011 12:26 am

    All very well done & Love Stairway to Heaven

  • mike July 7, 2011 04:12 pm

    I enjoy photography and enjoy HDR processing. These are fantastic images, well done.

  • holtzarbeiter April 22, 2011 07:32 pm

    I'm new to the photography world, but it seems to me HDR photos are like extensions of our personalities. We are all different in our own ways...that's what makes us human. Therefore, as photographers our photos are also different. If you want to claim one photographer's photos are better than another photographers...then take a look at the comments made by people on websites such as Flicker... It appears to me the better looking photos get the more positive comments anyway! As I stated before, I'm new to photography, but have read many articles written by Mr. Brandon and tried to follow his lead and explore the possibilities of HDR. Here's an example of my attempt at his way and also my very first HDR...a blownout one!
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/holtzarbeiter/5573767072/' title='Stairway to Heaven' url='http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5029/5573767072_8e1e9aef04_z.jpg']
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/holtzarbeiter/5435954952/' title='Mannheim Wasserturm' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4093/5435954952_9c2c915053.jpg']

  • uncle-rhea April 16, 2011 03:43 am

    these examples are really beautiful, but they don't look very realistic in my humble opinion. i still get confused as to whether or not HDR should be realistic or if it is supposed to look surreal. i can admire them for their artistic value. i specially like the image Bob Lussier that was posted. very nice.

  • Zack March 7, 2011 05:13 pm

    I was shooting real estate pictures of an 100yr old house and stumbled upon this window looking out on the property... thought it would be a good chance to mess with HDR...

  • ross a February 28, 2011 04:19 am

    i have just got in to hdr and think im doing ok but all my pictures look more like it has a paint effect but im looking for a more real effect like the picture above of th hot air balloons, can any one give me some tips on how i can get this.

  • Rick February 5, 2011 12:29 pm

    I don't like HDR, it's not what I enjoy seeing done to a nice photo. To be honest I don't see how anyone can say an image like that blue thing with the building on the island is good art. But to each his own.

  • Andrew January 27, 2011 03:51 pm

    Seattle is the Emerald City...

  • Jense January 22, 2011 08:07 am

    Thanks for this article (I am a newbie and trying to understand all I read about HDR).

    As someone new to photography, when I look at your examples I want to emulate #11; #14; and #17 - they look like amazing shots (probably done with a very expensive camera). I saw them and said to myself, 'THAT's the kind of shot I want to be able to take!'

    The rest look incredibly 'fake' to me, but they draw my interest because they indicate that the creators have terrific skill using some sort of program - like Photoshop. I look at these and think to myself, 'There is someone who could teach me how to manipulate photos.'

    So, if I wanted to learn how to take amazing photos, I'd look to the three photographers that I singled out. And now I realize from your article that I would have been fooled. However! Since they 'fooled' me so well, I'd still look to them to learn how they did what they did (I'd love to see the original shots!).

    Thanks for all of the visual examples; they really assisted me in getting an understanding of this HDR discussion/debate. Cheers!

  • Tracy January 15, 2011 05:20 pm

    Wow! These really are amazing images and tremendous examples of HDR. I have to say I do have a favorite - which is almost impossible with this group of photos - but "Colorado Ball0on Classic – Colorado" is a colorful feast to the eyes - at least for me. However, each image is a true testament to the power of HDR and really offers much to strive for. Thanks for this post!

  • annonymous January 14, 2011 08:51 pm

    Hey Paul HDR was first used in the early 1900's. It's really nothing new! :))

  • Paul Armes January 6, 2011 02:49 pm

    Great images but I think that this has just become a bit of a fad, most photographers seem to be marketing this type of image as something that is a bounus and then run the images taken through a program without considering how it actually works. Did you know HDR was originally used for lighting in 3D applications like Maya? And that was back when Fight Club was made. Its nothing new.

  • Tammy January 5, 2011 07:26 pm

    Geez, so many harsh comments. Remind me never to write an article for DPS. haha. I find HDR fascinating. Just another art form. Can't it be appreciated for that? Nice photos. I really like the Dallas Cowboys one simply because it's inside so even though there is some natural light, it's probably got a lot of harsh stadium lighting too. I'm no expert. Just an avid fan of photography in ALL it's forms. :) thanks for sharing.

  • elle January 2, 2011 12:25 pm

    ok so im new here and i have nooo idea what HDR is, i mean i have photoshop....is that what it is... cause yeah i really wanna know...im only 15 thats why i dont know alot

  • Aidan Weltner December 27, 2010 06:18 am

    Those are great images. Those are pictures I aspire to take when I shoot HDR.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/aidanweltner/sets/72157625315649520/

  • Eddie Griffiths December 23, 2010 04:00 am

    Yes I to dabble in HDR....I love how it dramatises skys, and enhances steel and rust.

    I try not to over do it too.

    Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.

    It does here.

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/edster951/4230040224/' title='Little Yellow Digger (HDR)' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4011/4230040224_cb07d5dc75.jpg']

  • Evan Johnson December 21, 2010 07:54 pm

    These are really good - it helps to look at correct examples to know how to improve your own work

    Thanks,

    Evan

  • olegna December 17, 2010 11:06 pm

    Im not really good at HDR, this one is one of my favorite ones..
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/olegna316/4362024982/in/photostream/#/photos/olegna316/4362024982/in/photostream/lightbox/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/olegna316/3813002077/in/set-72157605860347365/#/photos/olegna316/3813002077/in/set-72157605860347365/lightbox/

    just sharing

  • tom hdr December 17, 2010 12:53 pm

    @timdd, you made great HDR photos! You obviously have mastered one of HDR' fundamental: making apocalyptic sky. Don't worry if others disagree, obviously they don't have the sort of trained eyes like mine's or James's.

  • timsdd December 16, 2010 06:27 am

    ooops! sorry, I didn't mean to post twice....I didn't see a "comment must now be approved" or any other kind of indicator so i thought my cmt did not go through!

    I'm not here to argue for or against, I think that is pointless. For photographers not to use any and all available tools to produce their art, to me would be like saying Ansel should NOT have spent countless hours on ea photo in the darkroom!

    This pic is another example of me needing to spend more than 7mins editing BUT, I think this is a perfect example of a good use of HDR....I mean how else would you shoot it with the sun behind the school??

    Other than making composites....

    [eimg url='http://timsdigitaldarkroom.com/Landscapes/Vermont-and-Maine/Vermont-and-Maine-2010/MG408788899091tonemapped-copy/1075562738_6U4kn-M-1.jpg' title='1075562738_6U4kn-M-1.jpg']

  • Marcus December 15, 2010 02:29 pm

    While the hollywood animators are moving their rendering closer to our real world and with each succession geting closer, HDR seems to be moving the other direction? Pretty images i must say though i find it hard to draw any emotion out of it.

  • Marcus December 15, 2010 02:26 pm

    While the hollywood animators are trying hard to move their created realms closer to ours and with each succession it looks more "real", HDR seems to be moving the opposite direction.
    They are beautiful to look at though but hardly able to bring any inspiration or emotion to it, at the back on the mind, one wonders, could this be real or created?

  • julie December 15, 2010 07:22 am

    Stunning. Simply stunning. Thank you.

  • Alastair W December 14, 2010 03:11 am

    what is HDR Sorry to ask but I am a novice

  • A. J. December 14, 2010 02:26 am

    Thank you for a very interesting post, and some exceptional HDR photos.

    It would be super helpful to read an article (or short series of articles) on "getting HDR right."

    The photos shared are obviously a result of the individual photographer having the knowledge of "what to do right" and probably having a significant amount of "learned and field experience". It would be very helpful to get these photographers (or James yourself) to share some of their (or your) "learned secrets and tips" with the rest of us, who are always trying to improve our technique.

    Thanks again for a great post and set of excellent HDR photos.

  • VickiD December 13, 2010 12:15 pm

    Well said, Steve!!!

  • Steve December 13, 2010 10:49 am

    To pick out one, Dave Wilson's remarks are spot on. These are art and are not meant to be documentary. If you like the technique, great. If you don't, just walk away. But please leave your arrogance behind. I'm not a huge fan of these images; I too would rather they lean to the subtle and not be overpowering, but I do appreciate many of them which are simply flat-out striking.

    And for those of you who believe that the only pure photo is the ONE that comes out of the camera (and are quick to demean others who post-process their images), remember that Ansel Adams was a master of the darkroom.

    Lighten up, folks.

  • Mandy December 12, 2010 09:25 pm

    I'm new at HDR, but I'd love feedback...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7716079@N04/

  • Miles December 12, 2010 05:51 pm

    I like two of these images. That doesn't mean the others are bad or wrong, just not to my taste.

    Why some people commenting on here, for and against these kind of HDR images, can't see that I don't know. There's no point in arguing about right or wrong, it simply doesn't apply.

  • Steve (Sam) Jackson December 12, 2010 04:01 pm

    Hi Adele, the debate has many facets as did my comment so to sum up by saying I was way out is too vague to reply to you directly so I can't. but I will add a bit more.

    For all it looks like I am dismissing HDR for myself at this time I nowhere say I'm dismissing it for other people to use and this example [eimg url='http://www.myshutterspace.com/photo/ready-to-roll-1?context=user' title='ready-to-roll-1?context=user']

    is one I commented on prior to reading this article saying :- Hi Wayne I'm not one for commenting much on HDR as I'm no great fan of the results it gives and in particular on landscape shots where 99% of the time there is some halo effect to be seen as a result of using it.

    That said indoor shots it seems are less prone to that so are more suited to the technique and this is a good example of when it is a useful process to have in a photographers armoury.

    The result here is as good as any I have seen and considering you took it hand held I have to say the finer details have been retained ( the headlight for example ) and the contrasts are pretty good too which is something that also usually suffers in HDR.
    Praise where it's due is my motto and so there you go it gets my thumbs up :o)

    Now as you see I genuinely thought it was praiseworthy but that is because it is not a million miles away from how it would probably look but easier to see than an image from a single file might look , therefore it is easy on my eyes which can't be said for many of the examples on show in this article and that in a nutshell is what most of the people who aren't fans of the process would say . The issue is the debateable " done right " , as was said earlier one persons right is anothers wrong ..live with it , don't browbeat others into accepting HDR , let it grow on them as it might .

  • Adele December 12, 2010 02:09 pm

    To Anonymos

    You sure know your stuff & know what you are talking about my Hat goes off to you
    And to all the Other's that are in this to Have Fun & Love what they are doing Keep up the Good work & Beautiful
    Shots And to
    Steve (Sam) Jackson Your comment was so far out there

  • anonymous December 12, 2010 11:48 am

    these truly are BEAUTIFUL

  • Dana December 12, 2010 10:47 am

    Corrections to last post.
    To add to my last comment……. Since this is posted on DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY SCHOOL, I must assume everyone is using a DIGITAL camera or digital camera back. Therefore everyone must be using some form of computer interface and software to get photo’s downloaded and edited. Therefore no one here is a purist just an artist. and some damn good artist too! Enough SaId!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Steve (Sam) Jackson December 12, 2010 10:36 am

    A few things to add since leaving my last comment and reading the recent entries.

    1, Mr anonymous of all the people sounding irate about HDR you seem to be the most irate, trying to scream home your point most and I'll give you credit you have done your research to argue the point about it not being new ( I learned a few things ) and to justify the real versus surreal argument. to those who are against those points ( I am not one of those ) . My questions to you are ... A. Why are you so irate and determined to stamp on those feeling differently to how you do about it ? and .....B , You make a good case for the technique so why hide behind anonimity ?

    Finally I was thinking about the limits of digital photography and in particular how that must be affecting pro togs using digital cameras who now have to battle to produce no second chance images in situations with extreme dynamic range such as a bride in a brilliant white dress which is catching the sun down one side as she leaves the highly shadowed church entrance with her darkly dressed spouse also in shadow by her side . Of course bracket every shot and do a HDR version would be one option , it would be a fairytale wedding indeed when she ends up looking like a cartoon character and has a nice halo around her blowing blonde locks but hey we will be able to see all the detail inside the church behind her more brightly lit than imaginable and the pastel shaded confetti will be almost luminescent adding even more wonder. Excellent !

    In the Real world of photgraphy Mr anonymous togs aren't resorting to such drastic measures they simply meter and expose correctly leaving the bride and her spouse looking as REAL as they were on the day.

    Now I know I am being a bit tongue in cheek here when I make my point but what I just want to end with is each to their own, the examples shown in this thread are never going to appeal to everyone but EVERYONE has their reasons for AND against , so listen to them all , don't just SHOUT DOWN anyone who says the results look wrong, surreal or anything else.
    If I or anyone else feels they can cope just fine with a single exposure why should we be labelled " purists" Old Farts" " narrow minded" or any other abusive tag simply because it goes against what you say is a popular fast growing trend. I'm not a sheep who just has to follow the flock , I can see what I like and what I don't so based on that alone I make my choices for and against any art, photography, graphic production etc .
    Who knows one day the camera will do everything internally with photomatix built in as standard with options for rare , medium, well done and keep going I like it bright !!.

  • timsdd December 12, 2010 07:58 am

    Great set of images! HDR isn't for everyone....don't like it? - just shut your YAPPER (ala Chris Farley as Matt Foley) :D

    W000-hooo DALLAS! http://timsdigitaldarkroom.com/Sports

    I am a saturation junkie anyway so HDR plays right into that for me. BUT I have a LONG WAY to go on the editing side I am afraid....Trey (stuckincustoms) is the man though!!

    [eimg url='http://timsdigitaldarkroom.com/Landscapes/Vermont-and-Maine/Vermont-and-Maine-2010/MG3431234tonemapped-copy/976630438_PDx8E-M-1.jpg' title='976630438_PDx8E-M-1.jpg']

    [eimg url='http://timsdigitaldarkroom.com/Landscapes/Vermont-and-Maine/Vermont-and-Maine-2010/MG40334567tonemapped-copy/1072335864_qWDbm-M-1.jpg' title='1072335864_qWDbm-M-1.jpg']

  • Dana December 12, 2010 07:37 am

    To add to my last comment....... Since this is posted on DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY SCHOOL, I must assume everyone is using a DIGITAL camera or digital camera back. Therefore everyone must be using some form of computer interface to get there photo's downloaded and edited. Therefore no one here is a purist just an artist. and some damn good artist too! Enough SaId!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dana December 12, 2010 07:00 am

    purist |?pyo?rist|
    noun
    1 a person who insists on absolute adherence to traditional rules or structures, esp. in language or style.
    2 ( Purist) an adherent of Purism.
    DERIVATIVES
    puristic |pyo?r?istik| adjective
    ORIGIN early 18th cent.: from French puriste, from pur ‘

    I have now read every response to Jame's article. I have dealt with the controversy of the purist in other realms like music. The whole purist tone thing, analog vs digital. I would like to meet the person who wrote the rule book on digital and HDR photography. Show me the rule book saying an HDR photo's are suppose to be only natural and not surreal. That is strictly a personal opinion. Give me a break on the whole debate. It is, what it is. If artist don't push the envelope on creativity then eventually the art form will die. Time is the big judge here. If HDR stands the test of time then maybe it becomes the new standard for purist. When we are all dead, the next generation will find a way to push the creative envelope. The next gen technology will produce photographic images that HDR photographers will think are no longer purist. I assume most everyone on this form uses a digital camera. Not all but most. The last time I looked I could not even buy film in the local grocery store (well maybe I just don't need to look anymore). So whom are the purest now. That should be anyone who still shoots with a bellows camera and film plates and then has the darkroom to develop it in. How many of you still do that? If you do that then you are a true purist. Otherwise SHUT UP!

  • Randy Sleeth December 12, 2010 06:16 am

    I see the technique producing striking images, and I see that it risks overdoing. Otherwise, the results do not improve much over dogs playing poker in a painting on black velvet. I would guess that folks who enjoy the non-subtle use of the effect probably think that Thomas Kincaid is a great (not just popular) painter ().

    -Randy Sleeth

  • annonymous December 12, 2010 06:03 am

    For all you photographers that ONLY take single exposure photographs and are ANTI-HDR because you think it's something NEW are sadly mistaken

    The idea of using several exposures to fix a too-extreme range of luminance was pioneered as early as the 1850s by Gustave Le Gray to render seascapes showing both the sky and the sea. Such rendering was impossible at the time using standard techniques, the luminosity range being too extreme. Le Gray used one negative for the sky, and another one with a longer exposure for the sea, and combined the two in a single picture in positive.

    High dynamic range imaging was originally developed in the 1930s and 1940s by Charles Wyckoff. Wyckoff's detailed pictures of nuclear explosions appeared on the cover of Life magazine in the mid 1950s. Wyckoff implemented local neighborhood tone remapping to combine differently exposed film layers into one single image of greater dynamic range.

    In image processing, computer graphics, and photography, high dynamic range imaging (HDRI or just HDR) is a set of techniques that allow a greater dynamic range of luminance between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging techniques or photographic methods. This wide dynamic range allows HDR images to more accurately represent the range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to faint starlight.

    The two main sources of HDR imagery are computer renderings and merging of multiple photographs, the latter of which in turn are individually referred to as low dynamic range (LDR) or standard dynamic range (SDR) photographs.

    Tone mapping techniques, which reduce overall contrast to facilitate display of HDR images on devices with lower dynamic range, can be applied to produce images with preserved or exaggerated local contrast for artistic effect.

    Information stored in high dynamic range images typically corresponds to the physical values of luminance or radiance that can be observed in the real world. This is different from traditional digital images, which represent colors that should appear on a monitor or a paper print. Therefore, HDR image formats are often called "scene-referred", in contrast to traditional digital images, which are "device-referred" or "output-referred". Furthermore, traditional images are usually encoded for the human visual system (maximizing the visual information stored in the fixed number of bits), which is usually called "gamma encoding" or "gamma correction". The values stored for HDR images are often gamma compressed (power law) or logarithmically encoded, or floating-point linear values, since fixed-point linear encodings are increasingly inefficient over higher dynamic ranges.

    HDR images often use a higher number of bits per color channel than traditional images to represent many more colors over a much wider dynamic range. 16-bit ("half precision") or 32-bit floating point numbers are often used to represent HDR pixels. However, when the appropriate transfer function is used, HDR pixels for some applications can be represented with as few as 10–12 bits for luminance and 8 bits for chrominance without introducing any visible quantization artifacts.

    Tone mapping reduces the dynamic range, or contrast ratio, of the entire image, while retaining localized contrast (between neighboring pixels), tapping into research on how the human eye and visual cortex perceive a scene, trying to represent the whole dynamic range while retaining realistic color and contrast.
    Images with too much tone mapping processing have their range over-compressed, creating a surreal low-dynamic-range rendering of a high-dynamic-range scene.

    Interesting that a lot of you assume these to be surreal type HRDs when in fact some of them are perfectly executed tone mapped images, but you may not be a fan of what a particular photog did with them after tone mapping. Don't think HDR is what you don't like, it's the fact that each individual photographer has applied his or her own stamp on the image that may not suit your liking. You must understand your not an HDR hater, just a closed minded individual who probably likes HDR, just have to find your candy I guess.

  • Anne McKinnell December 12, 2010 04:56 am

    "A true representation of the scene shot" -- that's what snapshots are for.

    "That is art, not photography" -- photography is images created with a camera.

    Some of these comments remind me of the people who thought rock and roll was not "music".

  • annonymous December 12, 2010 03:15 am

    Check this out all you HDR haters, I guess Trey Ratcliff is pulling the wool over everyone's eyes. There must be some sort of voodoo magic he does to get millions of people to follow his work!

    http://www.stuckincustoms.com/

  • annonymous December 12, 2010 03:08 am

    HDR Photography was first used back in the 1920's in the old cowboy western movies. "The cowboy rides off into the sunset. Multiple exposures were used back then why? Because this was a break thru technique used to capture both the sun and the cowboy. HDR is NOT New. I'm afraid a lot of the HDR haters out there are likely over the age of 50! Too bad all you old farts are closed minded and stuck in your ways. Typical!

    If your young and don't like HDR, chances are you were waiting in line to see the NEW CGI, overly done movies that have come out over the years. Star Wars, Avatar, Lord of the rings, Harry Potter, etc.. Am I wrong?

    Now moving on. This article is about HDR done right. Not about whether HDR should look natural or surreal, that's a matter of taste. But what many of you are forgetting is that HDR done wrong contains horrible halo's, almost cartoonish flat results, which none of these example show. Proving the point of this article. I may not be a fan of every image here but if you take the time to look into each photographers porfolio you might find some HDR from them that you do like.

    Let's take Trey Ratcliff for example. He is the most popular and famous photographer walking on the planet right not, why? Because HDR is all the rage. He does is correctly. Whether he pushes his work to surrealism or natural he has control, just like all the other photogs listed here.

    Another point here is these images are being displayed on YOUR monitor. YOUR computer screen is NOT calibrated to PROPERLY display what these images will look like on the Photographers screens and in print. Over saturation in color on YOUR screen might be giving you a false sense of what these pictures look like. I know these images look great on my PRO monitor.

    How many of you are viewing these images with your screen brightness turned up all the way with uncalibrated color profile? Have you ever bought an HDTV from the store and noticed the picture doesn't look as good as id did in the store. YES! Because you need to calibrate it for your viewing space.

    There is NO WAY IN HELL that these photographs could of produced a more pleasing result NOT being in HDR, however the photographer decision in post may have not agreed with you. Don't let HDR be a hatred, if you don't like these examples then go make some of your own so that we can see your HDR vision.

    I challenge all of you who don't do HDR, to give it a try. I guarantee you will be pulling you eyes out just to make them look 10% as good as these examples here.

  • Martin Stevens December 12, 2010 02:22 am

    Despite what you say about HD photography I am at a loss to know how anybody can find the results attractive.The pictures are not lifelike or a true representation of the scene photographed.
    The sooner photographers get back to shooting realistic subjects the better.
    I would suggest that they take 2 identical photos of a scene,one in HD & another in normal mode.Then show them to anybody they choose & listen to their comments as to which photo was a true representation of the scene shot.

  • David Paul December 12, 2010 01:53 am

    These photographs are truly great, and obviously great skill, thought and work. Kudos to the photograhers, and may you take many more for us to admire!

    I especially love the Taj Mahal and the long sunrise in Illinois.

    The few who unduly criticize? I guess they're just a little "green" :-)

  • Steve (Sam) Jackson December 12, 2010 01:16 am

    Corrected edit

    I have looked at these in the hope that they actually would be more acceptable than the majority of HDR cartoon pictures that are appearing on every photography site in the world only to find NO they are no different from the rest and a few of those shown here are atrocious and appalling examples in my opinion .

    I realise times are changing and I for one love tweaking in photoshop but why the heck would you buy a highly developed digital camera that has been made to produce as good an image as possible only to bash every pixel senseless until the result is an image that bears no resemblance to reality.

    There is a need obviously to compensate for the limited ability a digital sensor has when trying to record strong contrasts and dynamic ranges, in fact photoshop , lightroom. etc all have enough scope in their selection and adjustment tools to do that provided a decent exposure was taken to start with.

    The idea that an underexposed shot and an overexposed shot can be combined to create an image beggars belief in my eyes and I refer to the old adage ” two wrongs don’t make a right”. Yes it allows us to see detail in the shadows and masks ( partly) the blown out areas but all tonal quality, contrast and nuances of light are lost in the process.

    All that said everyone is entitled to choose and many people love this effect so fair do’s let them enjoy it , I have no issues on that score but please do not herald it to be the greatest thing since sliced bread because.it will NEVER replace good correctly exposed photography.

    Read more: http://www.digital-photography-school.com/19-beautiful-examples-of-hdr-done-right#ixzz17og9bGiw

  • Steve (Sam) Jackson December 12, 2010 01:10 am

    I have looked at these in the hope that they actually would be more acceptable than the majority of HDR cartoon pictures that are appearing on every phoyography site in the world only to find NO they are no different from the rest and a few of those shown here are atrocious and appalling examples in my opinion .

    I realise times are changing and I for one love tweaking in photoshop but why the heck would you buy a highly developed digital camera that has been made to produce as good an image as possible only to bash every pixel senseless until the result is an image that bears no resemblance to reality.

    There is a need obviously to compensate for the limited ability a digital sensor has when trying to record strong contrasts and dynamic ranges and photoshop , lightroom. etc all have enough scope in their adjustment tools to do that provided a decent exposure was taken to start with.

    The idea that an underexposed shot and an overexposed shot can be combined to create an image beggars belief in my eyes and I refer to the old adage " two wrongs don't make a right". Yes it allows us to see detail in the shadows and masks ( partly) the blown out areas but all tonal quality, contrast and nuances of light are lost in the process.

    All that said everyone is entitled to choose and there are people who love this effect so fair do's let them enjoy it , I have ni issues on that score but please do not herald it to be the greatest thing since sliced bread because.it will NEVER replace good correctly exposed photography.

  • Bob S December 11, 2010 11:24 pm

    Sorry to be one of the few dissenting votes, but all but the Lawrence workstation strike me as over saturated, fake looking. The workstation is so horribly out of focus, it too iis painful to look at. Nice lighting, horrendus focus.

  • Dean December 11, 2010 10:57 pm

    ... Tom's comment on the 8th of Dec was spot on! ... couldn't have said it any better :) ... seriously Darren, now, how about an actual article on “HDR Done Right!” ... is Martin Soler (one who posted his link above) listening? ... now those photographs of yours, is how HDR is meant to be used and done right!

  • Enzo Guarino December 11, 2010 07:27 pm

    Lot's of varied opinions in the commentry but this is how I learn to appreciate this amazing art form.

    Thanks everyone!
    Enzo

  • Alex December 11, 2010 03:40 pm

    The range of lighting you get in HDR photos really helps bring out the emotion in the shot and gives it that "professional" look. Does anyone know of a good article on exactly how to get this effect? I like it a lot and would really like to try it.

  • Bill Harmatuk December 11, 2010 03:20 pm

    Great pictures but not for me.
    Reminds me of the Elvis and lion, wolf, indian chief pictures on velvet, they used to sell beside the interstate.

    To each his own.

    Bill Harmatuk

  • marc December 11, 2010 01:31 pm

    Since when photography and natural beauty becomes unnatural and cgi like ? If it looks fake move it to the section of anime cgis. Hdr should promote real photography not anime

  • vishal tomar December 11, 2010 01:27 pm

    hi, amazing collection here....way to go..!!

    some of mine too..

  • Kyle Bailey December 11, 2010 01:11 pm

    Not sure why but my images in my comment above did not show up. I'm going to try attaching them again here.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/5064253583
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/5186861216
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/5217097186
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/5065294172
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/4682409614

  • steve power December 11, 2010 12:13 pm

    yeh, great examples of hdr. i chanced upon hdr this past january and i love it. i love all the light and shadows that can be captured and proecessed.. great sturff

  • Joseph Asghar December 11, 2010 10:25 am

    Note to self: hdr is for art rednecks.

  • Adrian December 11, 2010 09:14 am

    I'm clearly in a minority and this is just my opinion but there's not a single picture on this page that appeals to me. There's nothing subtle about any of them - they're all so "in your face". I've occasionally seen HDR used well but that's usually when the range of lighting was originally more than a normal shot could handle.

    Sorry to be negative.

  • manuel December 11, 2010 07:05 am

    VickiD Says:

    December 11th, 2010 at 6:21 am
    I read about half the comments before my head felt like it was going to explode.

    First, let me say that, personally, I love HDR and these really are great examples. Some of my favorites are here, including Brian Matiash and Trey Ratcliffe and I’ve now added some new favorites.

    What really disturbs me is the futility (can I say silliness) of the arguments. Um…reminiscent of the Mac vs. PC, Canon vs. Nikon, Ford vs. Chevy types of arguments. It’s ALL a matter of opinion and everyone has one of those (or more than one in many cases). One person said: “I’ll stick with my 50mm f/1.4 thanks, it was good enough for Cartier-Bresson.” Well, I’m sure Henry Ford drove a Model T…do you? After all, it was good enough for him!

    No one could ever convince me that something is the best, or perfect, for me just by arguing…again, to me all that matters is my own opinion and the results I achieve via my own process.

    Read more: http://www.digital-photography-school.com/19-beautiful-examples-of-hdr-done-right#ixzz17kFzeRrg

    I concur 100%

  • manuel December 11, 2010 07:02 am

    Bueno mi buen amigo Wolf , para comenzar no estoy en Mexico ni soy Mexicano.Soy ciudadano Estadounidense nacido y criado en New York. En cuanto a mi exposicion lo que queria decir es que muchos aqui tienden a surfurarse demasiado (tu incluido) en algo tan superficial como lo es el arte de HDR. Con tantas cosas sucediendo en el mundo es de necio o ignorantes molestarse hasta el punto de tener que escribri necedades aqui. Por ende, "Get a life". The other thing I would like to say is that when and if iran gets nuclear weapons I don't think it will be flying in a ballistic missile towards the usa . They are to astute to do such a thing. They will just plant it in our backyard and without us knowing it detonate it, maybe in your own yard my friend.So taking all this into consideration I think what I said, in it's proper context is a legitimate criticism. Anybody who gets all worked up by something as a hobby should get he's priority's correct. Nuff said.

  • Bob Frazier December 11, 2010 06:44 am

    James - Thank you for your thorough 3 part series and these selected examples. I think you covered two subjects though, HDR, and to borrow a coined term from a friend, XDR.

    In a nutshell, you shot the brackets, created the HDR, and then (I think) spent a lot time repairing the underlying HDR using the (XDR) layers or "sets of brackets".

    I think, for me, that the bracketed layers themselves hold all the info that I want to bring out, and that HDR software itself is not quite ready for prime time yet.

    By XDR or "Extended Data Range" I mean what can be captured through the camera and recorded by using layers of the same photo containing a range of various histograms. I think of HDR as a process, and XDR as a wider concept. Not all XDR's are HDR but all HDR's are XDR, ok?

    So that's my slant for what it's worth. Thanks.

    Here is a NON-HDR shot from Saturday that uses brackets and layers only - I'd call it XDR.

    [eimg url='http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=483538607163&set=a.18179717163.23834.604582163' title='photo.php?fbid=483538607163&set=a.18179717163.23834.604582163']

  • VickiD December 11, 2010 06:21 am

    I read about half the comments before my head felt like it was going to explode.

    First, let me say that, personally, I love HDR and these really are great examples. Some of my favorites are here, including Brian Matiash and Trey Ratcliffe and I've now added some new favorites. :)

    What really disturbs me is the futility (can I say silliness) of the arguments. Um...reminiscent of the Mac vs. PC, Canon vs. Nikon, Ford vs. Chevy types of arguments. It's ALL a matter of opinion and everyone has one of those (or more than one in many cases). One person said: "I’ll stick with my 50mm f/1.4 thanks, it was good enough for Cartier-Bresson." Well, I'm sure Henry Ford drove a Model T...do you? After all, it was good enough for him!

    No one could ever convince me that something is the best, or perfect, for me just by arguing...again, to me all that matters is my own opinion and the results I achieve via my own process.

  • Ray December 11, 2010 03:16 am

    To Geren and others whose primary objection is "when Tone Mapping is presented as the end-all of what HDR is," I think you're jousting with windmills as I find it highly doubtful that anyone has ever made such a claim. Just because extreme tone mapping exists as a subset of all HDR work, that existence does not mean that anyone is presenting it as the be-all or end-all of anything.

  • Geren W. Mortensen, Jr. December 11, 2010 03:04 am

    Hey, Ray (and others),

    To clarify my previous rant:

    I don't object to HDR, and I don't object to Tone Mapping. What I do object to is this: when Tone Mapping is presented as the end-all of what HDR is.

    An image doesn't have to be HDR processed to be Tone Mapped, and vice versa.

    You're certainly right in the assertion that not all photography is artistic. My photography is largely journalistic (or, historical), but I also love to play with effects in post -- including HDR and Tone Mapping.

  • Ray December 11, 2010 02:29 am

    Those who think legitimate photography should be limited to capturing a "natural" looking image as the eye sees it, are essentially historians rather than artists. An image that is pleasing to the eye is of great value regardless of how it was produced. I find it sad that HDR critics feel the need to impose silly and arbitrary rules on a medium that should otherwise be an outlet for creative freedom.

  • J. Neil Hammitt December 11, 2010 12:20 am

    I'm witrh Dottie

  • reginald owen single December 11, 2010 12:01 am

    Wonderful inspiration,here is "sunset in arches national park"

  • Tim December 10, 2010 11:53 pm

    Mike, I capitalized SELL for a reason..I also have a number of surreal HDR's that I have out on the web to either look at or to sell, I have yet to sell a surreal one (i.e. overcooked), and my overcooked ones attract very little attention...not saying that people don't or won't, but there is the fine line between liking something & liking something enough to part with your money for it. I have done enough art shows to know its a real fine line. If I could live on "love your work" I could retire...And I specifically do HDR a lot of times with the intention of converting to B&W..its not an afterthought, deep saturated blues make wonderful dark blacks contrasting with white clouds , saturated greens work as well..
    and what you call a halo is the sun behind the tree...lol

  • Adele December 10, 2010 10:43 pm

    Love Your Comment Dottie
    true words spoken

  • Andy December 10, 2010 08:42 pm

    I just don't get it. I consider myself a low end of amateur photographer. Most of the photos displayed in this posting just don't look real. I am assuming that these photos were done by professional photographers with very high end equipment and knowledge yet they still find the needed to doctor their photos. Why?

  • Jeremy Day December 10, 2010 07:28 pm

    Anyone not using film is a fraud. Digital photography is a perverse copy of film photography.

  • henry white-smith December 10, 2010 05:54 pm

    I am sorry, I think they are horrible. They all look so totally un-natural and more like painting-by-numbers pictures. Photography is about making a permanent record on film or digitally of what the eye sees at a particular moment in time. I think that most of the world's great photographers of the past would be horrified at all of those pictures. Purely a personal view butu I don't think I am alone.

  • Wolf December 10, 2010 04:20 pm

    manuel, no sé si hables español mexicano, pero ahora sí te la MEGA MAMASTE!

    Iran, nuclear war, poverty and hunger...blah blah blah, dude you're being too serious about something serious, we're being serious about a not-so-serious topic like HDR photo, there'll always be purists and the opposite, consider myself a purist.

    If you're in Mexico, be worried about the heat of bullets flying all over the country...and Iran is too far away, the US has more nuclear power than all countries combined, still they are the judges and jury...go figure...

    nuff said

  • timsdd December 10, 2010 02:37 pm

    I've known about HDR for quite a while but really haven't honed my editing skills on the top end like some of the masters (eg Trey aka stuckincustoms)

    Love the selections you posted here, a little TSE action on #11?

    I've always been a saturation junkie anyway so HDR is poerfect for me :-)
    BUT I've got a lot to learn!

    [eimg url='http://timsdigitaldarkroom.com/Landscapes/Vermont-and-Maine/Vermont-and-Maine-2010/MG40334567tonemapped-copy/1072335864_qWDbm-M-1.jpg' title='1072335864_qWDbm-M-1.jpg']

    [eimg url='http://timsdigitaldarkroom.com/Landscapes/Vermont-and-Maine/Vermont-and-Maine-2010/MG3425678tonemappedbw-copy/976629087_vawT4-M-1.jpg' title='976629087_vawT4-M-1.jpg']

    [eimg url='http://timsdigitaldarkroom.com/Landscapes/Vermont-and-Maine/Vermont-and-Maine-2010/MG3431234tonemapped-copy/976630438_PDx8E-M-1.jpg' title='976630438_PDx8E-M-1.jpg']

  • Gilly December 10, 2010 02:16 pm

    All I can say is AWESOME! Each image is incredible....someof the most stunning photography I have seen. I completely agree about poor HDR there is nothing like it when it is done right...it is an artwork!

  • Flint December 10, 2010 01:48 pm

    If our artistic forebears thought the way some of you do we'd all still be scratching crude designs onto cave walls. HDR is simply a new and interesting frontier in the artistic medium of photography that we all enjoy.

  • Dottie December 10, 2010 01:02 pm

    Here is the opinion of someone who is relatively new to 'photography', but one who has lived a good many years and appreciates beautiful things.
    How many 'photographers' take a picture of children and leave alone the untucked shirt, the smudge of dirt on their nose, or the little tear because they didn't want to get their picture taken? If you fix these things to make the image the way you want it to look, are you a 'real' photographer?
    There are some true 'artists' who can pull a 'Mona Lisa' out of a camera; they are true photographers. And there are the rest; people who use a camera, and maybe some software, to create what: images, pictures, photos, a moment in time, history, art...good ones, bad ones, you, me.
    Personally, I don't care what medium was used to create an image I like; I just like it. It's interesting to hear and learn about. But unless you're trying to pass off someone elses work as yours, I will respect your talent for what it is.
    Looking at the big picture, no pun intended, you're missing the point. The most important opinion is that of the many people out there who see your work. Do they really care how you got the final product? Or do they just like it or hate it. Plain and simple. Photographer or artist? Who cares! Keep 'em coming!

  • Bell December 10, 2010 11:50 am

    out of this world~!

  • Bev December 10, 2010 10:43 am

    I have a love/hate relationship issue with the HDR concept. I LOVE using it but hate when I see it overdone. I also don't understand when 'fans' appear to JUST ADORE certain photos that I think look very cartoonish, flat and unrealistic. I agree that HDR can salvage an otherwise boring photo, but can be overdone to ruin some of my favorite scenery. I also have a problem with HDR's looking flat--I think it's because those of us using it are so fascinated when we see highlights, we tend to tweak all to be perfectly balanced but the total photo loses it's 'main idea'. I like to see HDR's that have a 'focal point' and many don't--are too busy and look too cluttered for my taste. I also have a problem with HDR's that massacre the colors and tones. I also don't appreciate for someone to say they still don't like HDR. I feel the same way as many above mentioned "if an HDR is done properly, you cannot tell it's an HDR". With all the presets offered by Nik, etc. the HDR and other tweaks seem a little like cheating. HDR is here to stay and will always be overdone or done poorly. It's still a really fun concept to enjoy and seems to work especially well to make a photo more 'noticeable'--when you view before and after, (HDR) it's a no-brainer--the after looks much more dramatic, so it's a little difficult to select the 'before'. Someone mentioned to me that when everyone starts doing it, it's time to stop--I still use HDR but only very subtly. There is such great photography work on all the examples--kudos to James for this article!! Thanks for all the comments that add so much to this site.

  • Adele December 10, 2010 10:38 am

    You said it all Manuel
    Everyone of these HDR Photos are breath taking & May they all Continue to give us
    All these Beautiful HDR Photos They all wotk hard in what they are doing & Having fun at it also & not hurting anyone
    God Bless you All

  • glen December 10, 2010 10:21 am

    these photos are great.. i love most of them..these photos have a place in art..but these photos doesn't look natural..i've seen a lot of HDR photos which looked very natural as if you're just standing in front of the subject...i was hoping to see those kind of images in this post..but these photos are way much better than what i've seen before in this site...i still think that photography is capturing light and making the image more realistic regardless of the technique used..photographs, especially HDR, that doesn't look natural are like painting done digitally..but i have to thank the author and the photographers..these photographs, HDR or not, are composed beautifully..

  • manuel December 10, 2010 10:12 am

    Hey people...We are talking about photography, not the answer to our existence. Why do we have to get so worked up by something relating to photography or not when we have a terrorist sponsor country getting ready to build nuclear weapons in Iran. A nut with nuclear weapons playing antichrist in North Korea plus all the great problems that are not only acumulating one behind the other to an alarming rate without anybody having any solution for them...Man ! We have to learn to put things into perspective. I like HDR images. Do I think it is related to photography, no. The fact that it uses a photograph as its base doesn't make it a photograph. Now, here is the big now, this is just my opinion on the matter. Photography is a very subjective thing and when it's something subjective we are talking about all opinions are just as good as the next guys. As the frase says, "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder". Nuff said..

  • Mike Olbinski December 10, 2010 09:39 am

    To Tim the B&W HDR guy...who "SELLS" his stuff (thanks for capitalizing that word trying to make the point that you seem to think the artists featured here don't sell the "overcooked" stuff mentioned in this article which is a total fallacy)...I'd like to see your non-over-processed stuff in color.

    Because B&W simplifies a lot of things and I guarantee you that many of these above converted to B&W would look pretty much just like yours.

    And the third image in your group has some bad halo-ing going on...

  • Tom Loomis December 10, 2010 09:15 am

    Sorry,
    They all look HDR Not realistic to me. To musch PP or HDRSoft.
    Tom Loomis

  • Ramona December 10, 2010 08:58 am

    Wow, fantastic Photos!!!

    HDR is something I love to do next.
    I love the colors, saturation and exposer, they are all perfect captured in this photos. Fantastic photos, which really takes your breath away ;)

    Thank you for sharing.

    The Newbie ;)

  • Mike... December 10, 2010 08:53 am

    Photos # 8-10-11-16-and 17 are fantastic, and incredibly pleasant to my eye. Mike.

  • Scott Frederick December 10, 2010 08:27 am

    I hope that everyone is out there taking photographs. Whether your into HDR or shooting porn, I hope that you all aren't spending too much time and energy with your negative comments around the web.

    For the comments that say HDR is art and not photography, you should understand the definition of it. You will find it defined as "painting with light". Hmmm painting is art. Photography is art, HDR or not. Don't see what all the confusion is here people.

    Maybe your not a fan of my image #18, but that's ok. I have plenty of others for you to check out if you'd take the time!!!

    "Photography is the technique of recording and generating permanent images, by the capturing and preservation of physical stimulus-patterns on a layer of photosensitive material. It involves recording light patterns as reflected from objects, on to a sensitive medium through momentary exposure. The process is done through mechanical, chemical or digital devices commonly known as camera.
    The word comes from the Greek words ??? phos ("light"), and ?????? graphis ("stylus", "paintbrush") or ????? graphê, together meaning "drawing with light" or "representation by means of lines", "drawing"."

  • Rachel Cady December 10, 2010 08:26 am

    Wow! Strong feelings on the board for both sides. In my opinion, that's the sign of a great article. I loved these. I am not that familiar with HDR photography, but plan to do quite a bit of research in the near future. I think I've discovered a new hobby!! Really inspiring images! Thank you for putting this together.

  • Cheezman December 10, 2010 08:17 am

    To Martin Soler: Wow! YOUR photos are the HDR Done Right. Not at all "overcooked" like nearly all of the images in this post. Will you please right an article describing YOUR workflow? Perhaps its on your website, which I intend to enjoy more in the future. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sue December 10, 2010 08:06 am

    There are some stunning images here. Reading through the comments though there are still those who object to photography being anything other than a straight photograph produced from a photographers technical skill and knowledge. Personally, I feel that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and however the final image is achieved, either from pure photography or intense "photoshopping" even to the extreme of creating abstract art, what really matters is creating something which the "artist" is really pleased with and captures the essense of what they "see". I love many of these images, particularly the hot air balloons! Well done to everyone! Enjoy what you are doing and keep at it.

  • Ali December 10, 2010 07:42 am

    Meh. If these photos are 'HDR done right," then no wonder I'm no fan of the technique. Props to the photographers for perfecting their craft, but IMO most of the above examples look more like $40.00 starving artist oil paintings than actual photographs.

  • Phil Cohen December 10, 2010 07:41 am

    Thanks to everyone for taking the time to share their comments, both positive and negative.

    Regardless of whether you find these images appealing, it's great that you've taken the time to view the post and join the conversation. I truly enjoy shooting, editing, processing, and taking whatever steps I feel necessary to create an image that is compelling to me. It's even more fun and rewarding when others appreciate it, and mostly entertaining when people don't and share their disgust.

    Congratulations to James for putting together compelling images and starting an interesting dialogue to accompany them. Now everyone step away from the computer and go do some shooting!

  • Martin Soler HDR Photos December 10, 2010 07:32 am

    I liked them but can't say I loved them all.
    1, 3, 13 and 10 are great. Several of the others lack a WOW effect. They have an HDR effect but in my humble opinion once one has understood the HDR effect then one needs to get back to basics on photography, framing the shot, burnouts etc all these things we HDRers thought we didn't need to learn.

    I'm seeing it for myself, there's a point when a photo is an HDR photo and when a photo is just a great photo and happens to be done in HDR.

    And I guess the latter are the ones that stand out the most.

    Here's my HDR gallery, they are not all WOW, but I like to think that a couple are ;-)
    http://martinsoler.com/category/hdr/

  • J. Neil Hammitt December 10, 2010 07:29 am

    This is my second experience with a reply and I appreciate the oppotunity. I am awed by the responses and opinion points being made. I think some are just a bit over the top but that seems to be the way things go these days. I would offer that I have belonged to a large Photography Club for a number of years. There are photo journalists who are members. The comment that I often hear from these professionals on the subject at hand is the apparent lack of trust by the public when viewing digital photograpy of any kind. It seems to be due to the perception that Photoshop mechanics can and do add, subtract and generally speaking completely change the vison after leaving the camera and further that it is often done without acknoledgement of the modifications. In some cases it seems to be done to the point of being a sham. I think anyone who regularly exchanges e-mails etc can attest to the large number of engineered photos that even my uneducated eye can spot. I repeat that if altered photos are intended to be an art form, I personally have no problem with it but I do wonder why they should want to hide their artistic talents under a bushel and not say so.

  • Tim December 10, 2010 07:01 am

    Most of those are the surreal type of HDR, the type that appeals to a specific audience. Its NOT HDR done right, its HDR done the way the author likes it..How many of you who say they are wonderful, would buy one and hang it in your house for everyone to see. Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder and the buyer willing to part with their money. I sell HDR images mainly B&W, none of what I SELL is as overprocessed as most of these.
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/wilsonphotosva/3099626207/' title='Richmond Cityscape at Night' url='http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3285/3099626207_bf46be780f.jpg']
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/wilsonphotosva/3896740762/' title='City Skyline' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2652/3896740762_9e4dea6ac5.jpg']
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/wilsonphotosva/4235390317/' title='Farmers Barn' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4071/4235390317_6655793094.jpg']
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/wilsonphotosva/4443314467/' title='By The Station' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2800/4443314467_14ca769c5d_z.jpg']

    As you can tell they make great B&W because of the increased tonal range HDR gives you

  • Karina:) December 10, 2010 06:53 am

    Wow! Unbelievable.
    This is Really some of the best HDR i have ever seen!!!!!!

  • Bob Lussier December 10, 2010 06:23 am

    John said: "#8-10-11-16-and 17 were packed with errors and had no hope of ever being pleasant to my eye"

    Please provide suggestions for improvement!!

  • manuel December 10, 2010 06:03 am

    hey tom leparskas...really, you made me smile with your comment. We could debate that just because a camera was used it still is a photography , but hey, everybody is entitle to his opinion.

  • Jim December 10, 2010 06:02 am

    This is the way I like HDR to be. Not over done. Great work

  • John December 10, 2010 06:00 am

    Sorry,It must be my eyes as several of the photos you thought were great would never of made it past my photoshop delete. And a few were outstanding. Photos # 8-10-11-16-and 17 were packed with errors and had no hope of ever being pleasant to my eye. John.

  • derek December 10, 2010 05:48 am

    No, I'm afraid though the images themselves could have been beautiful, the HDR processing shows all the usual faults by being pushed too far. Exagerated colours, and"chromed" tonal variations do not make for beautiful images. In the end judgement is called for; just because we can do it, it doesn't follow that we should.
    That said, thank you James for giving them to us, you've certainly provoked heaps of comment.

  • Tom Leparskas December 10, 2010 05:38 am

    Holy cow - want a flame war?
    Religion - politics or now, HDR.

    Chill people. If you use a camera - it IS photography.

  • Tom Leparskas December 10, 2010 05:30 am

    Good post here. HDR is a steep learning curve - but fun.
    I just read Brian Matiash's blog and it is FULL of excellent info - very detailed. Of course you have to read Trey Ratliff too.

  • Kyle Bailey December 10, 2010 05:12 am

    I love the controversy that HDR brings out in people. Techniques that rock the boat and create new directions for any art form are good - stagnation leads to death. We are either living or dying and HDR is a step towards growth and change; this to me is a good thing.

    I do a reasonable amount of HDR work and while I think it is damn good, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Every art form is an expression of perception. The simple fact that a lens distorts the natural view is testament to the fact that all here who criticize a new technique are not being honest with themselves about the art form we all participate in.

    I don't particularly agree with the choices selected but I don't have the same eyes, experience or perspective that the author had when he wrote it. I've seen many images far better in my humble opinion and I've certainly seen many many more that I would describe as far worse.

    I do appreciate the thought, time and effort that all the photographers put into their work.

    For those interested I'd love feedback (good and bad) for some of my photography HDR work; only been involved with a camera for a year but think that it will be something that I will grow old with.

    [eimg url='http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/5064253583' title='5064253583']
    [eimg url='http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/5186861216' title='5186861216']
    [eimg url='http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/5065294172' title='5065294172']
    [eimg url='http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/5217097186' title='5217097186']
    [eimg url='http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/4682409614' title='4682409614']

  • Nancy December 10, 2010 04:57 am

    STUNNING!!!!!

  • Koos December 10, 2010 04:49 am

    Thanks,
    You have now convinced me that HDR is something I never have to pursue ;-)
    Kindest regards,
    Koos

  • Rob Wilson December 10, 2010 04:17 am

    GREAT images. The differences you note are obvious. What I love about these HDR photos is their crispness, and more importantly, the feeling that I am "in" the photo. So very realistic, they are excellent.

    Thanks for the article, and thanks for the superb images.

  • D.Bui December 10, 2010 04:10 am

    Have ALWAYS loved this realistic kind of HDR! This gotta the most beautiful HDR shot taken in my city btw:
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/kent-ned/4011456038/' title='DongKhoiSt_Saigon_VietNam' url='http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3422/4011456038_d42640e185.jpg']
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kent-ned/4011456038/in/faves-55234413@N05/

  • Tom Espy December 10, 2010 04:07 am

    I have purchased 'Practical HDR" by David Nightingale,Focal Press. I have not had a chance to read it yet. Can anyone who has read it please share their comments.
    I am waiting to purchase a Canon 5 D before I get into HDR. I currently have a 20 D

  • PlanetFinder December 10, 2010 04:01 am

    Emirates

  • Manuel December 10, 2010 03:40 am

    These HDR images are very nice. I like them a lot. But there is a caveat. I personally don't think HDR imagery has anything to do with photography. I haven't seen to many HDR images that look like a good photographic depiction of the real thing. When you manipulate the photo to a level where what you see doesn't have it's equal image in real life you loose a lot of what a photo really is. It has more of a good painting then a photo. We can argue till the end of times about the merits of this and that but in the end , at least for me, photography is a medium in which you get to see a very close depiction of what you see in real life. How Close ? Close enought to stir in us emotions of seeing the real thing. Of all the photos displayed here the only one which I might in some way say this about is the one of the New York Building and even that one has something to it that makes it look like a painting and not the real thing. HDR has given us a beautiful means of exposing imagery in a whole different way which uses as its base a photograph but the photograph has been manipulated to such a degree to make it look more like a surreal painting of the real thing instead of a photographic depiction of true to life . HDR makes me remember those old poster that use to come out at the late sixties and seventies where reallity was a psycodelic depiction of what was seen in real life.

  • Ron December 10, 2010 03:29 am

    I have just discovered HDR photography and it is a pleasure to see examples of where it has been used and the effects that can be gained from using it. This is definitely an inspiration for me to go out and try more things using HDR. Thanks for this compilation.

  • Sandeep Jain December 10, 2010 03:20 am

    Thanks for showing incredible work on HDR. I have started doing HDR recently and had been trying to get a good software to do it. I tried the built in filter in Photoshop CS 3 , but could not find good results. I tried a free software called fusion, which gave me fairly good results. Can you recommend any other good software to do HDR which can be downloaded free from the net?

  • James Brandon December 10, 2010 03:11 am

    Jake - some of these images were shot with a tilt/shift lens. It's main purpose is for architecture and is used to fix the distortion of a lens when tilting the camera up or down. Another use of these lenses is creating a soft blur in the image around a chosen focal point. They can also be used to make a miniature type scene. I believe that is what you are referring to :-).

  • Jake Markland December 10, 2010 03:07 am

    i am huge fan of this post. i really love the detail that comes along w HDR but i have never been a fan of how many people just use it the EXTREME. then only thing i have to say is that alot of these photos seem to have a soft blur over them, and im not an avid HDR photographer so i dont know if that is just something that comes along with HDR. if anyone can shed some light on that for me i would appreciate it

  • Steve Wilde December 10, 2010 02:58 am

    Hi colin s - not being a Troll. I'm providing James a little information that he can take or leave. Some people reading his post are going to find that he is a little over the top in his confidence. A little humility is sometimes required. The article would not have suffered at all if it had been presented slightly less forcefully. Saying these images are "done right" implies that other HDR images are "done wrong" and how can you say that about art?
    (Take the same photo and enter it into several different competitions. Do the resulting comments mirror each other across competitions? Did you place the same? Hell, even among different judges in the same competition you will get wildly varying comments.)
    Whenever someone takes something highly subjective and says that they know the "right" way to do it, that person is assigning themselves an the expert. While James CERTAINLY knows his stuff, I don't think he has to tell us that.
    I usually don't take the time to post responses to these articles, but I responded to this one because I actually respect James' eye and these images are (mostly) quite stunning.

  • Wolf December 10, 2010 02:56 am

    "These aren’t hdr done right. These are overdone, surreal, and antinatural pictures. Art, yes, but not photography."

    Amen, what a waste of my time....I expected something subtle and instead we get this overcooked shots.

  • Ray December 10, 2010 02:45 am

    I think those that complain about HDR shots being too surreal and not being an accurate representation of reality should open their minds a little bit. Why limit the definition of good photography to capturing a realistic image of what the eye sees? By that standard, even playing with depth of field could be said to create an unrealistic image. In my opinion, any image that captures my interest and holds it so that the image can be studied and admired, is a good image.

  • tabletopdrummer December 10, 2010 02:44 am

    I thought that they were great shots, well done James!
    Myself, I find HDR not my cup of tea, but there were several of these that I thought would make an excellent hanging on my wall.
    Thanks for the post!

  • Pedro Sousa December 10, 2010 02:42 am

    Seems like i have kilometers to walk until get this level.

    I would love to swatch the originals.

  • Fenny December 10, 2010 02:41 am

    The images are nice in themselves, very definitely HDR'd, and obviously so. HDR in itself is fine as a process, but, I don't like it when a shot that is like those above is submitted as pure photography, and someone tries to pass it off as unprocessed. These are a subsection of photography, the same as watercolour, oil, pastel are to art.

    In my own ideal world I would like to see several subsections of HDR, - Natural Hdr, Art HDR and extreme HDR.

    If these are meant to be natural and as the eye saw them.. I would say they are overcooked, but, they are art and lovely in their own right. Just not natural. If they are natural, then perhaps I need to visit an optician.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion about what is good and what is not, if we all only liked one style of art, photography or music then the world would be an incredibly boring and dull place. Vive la difference.

  • colin s December 10, 2010 02:22 am

    Geren - really? You are disappointed that Darren would allow a post that has over 1,500 facebook likes and 100+ comments? Look around you, the majority of people love these images. You people....ugh

  • Geren W. Mortensen, Jr. December 10, 2010 02:18 am

    Honestly, most of these are horrible examples of true HDR imaging. As has been stated by other respondents, good, true HDR is simply an extension of dynamic range to attempt to mimic what our eyes and brains can discern over and above what can normally be produced with a camera. What are most of these images really? They are TONE MAPPED images, which may or may not also have been HDR processed. I am extremely disappointed that Darren would allow this article to be published as examples of HDR done right.

  • linda johnson December 10, 2010 02:17 am

    thanks for sharing, a big motivator to go out and try the HDR techniques. LJ

  • J. Neil Hammitt December 10, 2010 02:17 am

    There were a few photos missing. I consider myself as a wannabe good photographer. I recently joined the DPS and have enjoyed every bit of it's content and tips. As it applies to HDR ability, I feel woefully inadequate when viewing other excellent work such as this presentation. Sometimes I wonder when viewing these presentations if this is really what the eye and the camera have seen or is it more the great ability of the photographer to manipulate and then present a work of art, as opposed to a well composed comparably accurate representation of what the eye really is seeing. If it either or neither, I very much enjoyed this presentation. Thanks.

  • Michael Porter December 10, 2010 02:16 am

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/50988281@N02/5069143804/' title='Southport Pier' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4145/5069143804_974eaa7ae0.jpg']

    Hi All,
    I've only really gone into HDR photography over the last six months, but I now find it totally absorbing. I love all the above shots, and sometimes even if the shot is over cooked it still has its place as somebodies work of art. We only learn by constantly practising and hopefully improve.
    Regards to you all, Mike.

  • Anibal Trejo December 10, 2010 02:16 am

    Some of mine
    [eimg url='http://www.anibaltrejo.com/HDR/USA9189HDRDPS.jpg' title='USA9189HDRDPS.jpg']
    [eimg url='http://www.anibaltrejo.com/HDR/BrooklinBridgeHDRDPS.jpg' title='BrooklinBridgeHDRDPS.jpg']

  • colin s December 10, 2010 02:15 am

    Some of you people are ridiculous. Don't you have anything better to do than troll around leaving negative comments? I don't see a single thing conceited or arrogant about James' post. He's an HDR photographer and is involved in the HDR community, so he wanted to show a post about HDR photography done by an HDR photographer. Confidence is something that people mistake for arrogance when they have none themselves. Go take your negativity somewhere else, it doesn't help anything

  • Terry I December 10, 2010 02:08 am

    HDR = DSLR's take on animatronics.

    Sorry, doesn't do it for me.

    EVERY single one of those shots could be from an Xbox or straight out of Disney/Lucasfilm.

    Or is that what we are now growing accustomed to with the increase of Compgraphix in a large amount of films that are produced, these days.

    Think VERY carefully about this fact (I think it has relevance)

    I grew up with B&W Tv and I can still picture the colours of clothes Etc in those programs, just as I could then.

  • Gary Duerr December 10, 2010 02:04 am

    It would be fair in calling it "Art derived from Photography", just as a burned in or held back print is. My opinion is that this is not photography because it endeavors to work around the limitations that make photography what it is. If it was real photography it would have to live within these limitations.

  • Tom Parr December 10, 2010 02:04 am

    The Balloons blow me away _ WOW

  • Steve Wilde December 10, 2010 02:03 am

    Although almost all of these photos are pretty amazing, I agree with Sheila (and other posters) that the essence of art is its appeal to the viewer. Some "overblown" (and whatever other errors you mentioned) photos have their own appeal, if it is germaine to the subject.
    I'm all for coming off confident, but I think you've crossed the line into conceit. How can you be the judge of what is the best for the rest of the planet? If I truly love a photo, the art appreciator in me doesn't care if it is HDR, film, post processed or done compeltely "in camera". The photographer in me might wonder how I could acheive a similar effect, but I always try to appreciate first and analyze later.
    If you have to be "trained" to spot a great image (referring to the "untrained eye" comment), you may want to do something else for a living/hobby. :)

  • Tom Parr December 10, 2010 02:02 am

    The Baloons blow me away _ WOW

  • Rishi Kumar December 10, 2010 01:54 am

    James
    A little information on what to control and how to control various settings while doing HDR would be more appreciated. All the photographs posted are stunning show of what HDR can do without being looking artificial.
    well composed

  • James Brandon December 10, 2010 01:46 am

    Thanks Victor, but you made it all the way past the images down to the bottom of the page to leave a comment right? Thanks for your inspiring comment.

    alexander - nope, did you take a look at some of these comments!?

    Ross - thanks for the link, he's got some cool shots, and thanks for liking my articles! Definitely give this technique a go and let me know if your have any questions along the way.

    Michael - thanks! glad you enjoyed them. All the photographers here have great sites, you'll have a blast going through all of them!

    kchased - No secrets! If you'd like to learn more about HDR, just search "Guide to HDR" in the search box at the top of this site.

    Thanks to everyone else for all the comments, good or bad! The positive feedback over this article has been overwhelming and I'm so thankful to be a part of this site and a part of the HDR community. I have more emails than I can go through at the moment! The bad ones just let us all know we are doing something right :-).

  • Alexander December 10, 2010 01:30 am

    Ok so apparently unless you say the pictures are wonderful, the comments are censored ... wonderful indeed !

  • Victor December 10, 2010 01:18 am

    You were so arrogant in the first paragraph of this post that I couldn't even continue reading it to check the images.

  • Rob December 10, 2010 01:12 am

    Nope, i still don't like HDR.

    Thay always look oddly flat to me, almost like i can't focus on one thing because of all the detail. In saying that though i can understand why someone would want to create images like this as it pushes the boundaries of photography and for that, applause.

    All down to personal taste i guess.

  • Ross Reitzammer December 10, 2010 01:08 am

    James, I really enjoy your articles. I too am fascinated by HDR, but have not really tried it yet. One of my favorite HDR photographers is Claudio Branch (http://www.claudiobranch.com/). He is truly an HDR magician. I stumbled upon his work on Flickr and it has inspired me to give HDR a try. I would love to see what you think about his work. This article has further incited me to give this technique a whirl. Thank you for all the great articles you've written!

  • Nan December 10, 2010 01:04 am

    Absolutely stunning! What more is there to say? Perhaps -- inspiring?

  • kchased December 10, 2010 01:01 am

    So what are your secrets to taking great HDR photography?

  • Michael Wright December 10, 2010 12:49 am

    These are "beautifully done". I am just getting into HDR, and what drew me to it was seeing pictures like these. I also thank you for posting the web sites of the photographers. I'm sure I can learn much from looking at those sites as well. THANKS!

  • Derek Smith December 10, 2010 12:47 am

    Some fantastic images and my favourite of them is no. 13 Colorado Balloon Classic . I've had a couple of attempts at HDR but seeing these images I realise I've got a lot to learn.

  • Dave December 10, 2010 12:45 am

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And to this beholder these don't qualify as HDR Done Right. They look more like paintings. But then many consider these types of results as what HDR should look like. Unfortunately that just seems to propagate more of the same.

    Sorry. Can't agree.,

  • Photography Norwich December 9, 2010 08:27 pm

    Really great collection - I love the 12th one.

    Keep up the good work James.

  • Connie T December 9, 2010 04:18 pm

    I really like the hot air balloon picture. I am amazed they didn't get wet and crash in the water.

  • Jennifer December 9, 2010 12:15 pm

    To ...See it done right. Go here:

    http://www.groundupphotos.com/main.html

  • James Brandon December 9, 2010 09:14 am

    Thanks for understanding Cheezman

  • emarell December 9, 2010 08:36 am

    Never heard of HDR until today. Given the claim that these are "done right," i.e., superior to a lot of what's out there, I can see why I'd never heard of it before. It's schlock - LSDish, Jesus-printed-on-foil jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjunque.

    Certainly not closer than non-HDR photography to how reality looks, to my eyes and brain at least. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

  • Cheezman December 9, 2010 07:12 am

    James,

    You're right, I should have looked behind the scenes a bit. I did look up your three articles and found them very thorough and instructive. Clearly you put a ton of work into them and so I can understand your response. Apologies. In the light of those earlier articles, using the word unambitious for this one, which I see now as a continuation of a series, was inappropriate and unduly provocative.

  • Marissa Jessick December 9, 2010 06:33 am

    Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for posting these.

  • Cornell December 9, 2010 06:10 am

    The images -- images, not photographs -- are lovely; but, with the possible exceptions of the Dallas Cowboys Football and the Flat Iron Building, they scream, "Photoshop!!!!!!!"

  • Bob Lussier December 9, 2010 04:03 am

    Nikki, you said : "Don’t get me wrong, these guys are very talented…but can they even be called photographers?"

    Your premise is, if I process an image using HDR, I can't be considered a photographer? Are you serious?

    Processing HDR does not give us a pass on the fundamentals of photography. We still frame the image, selects the proper aperture, shutter speed, etc. We are acutely aware of what makes a good image.

    When we choose to process in HDR, we do so to meet our own artistic vision. The results are (like all art photography) subjective, of course.

    Mastering HDR processing takes some practice, skill and talent. But without a well framed, compelling image, it would be just an HDR snapshot.

  • Fotografia Feita December 9, 2010 04:00 am

    Another great example of HDR photo:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/glauberamos/5179929913/

  • Ron Baise December 9, 2010 03:32 am

    Great Pictures!!!!!.... with a picture like Cliff Baise's and a new coach maybe the Cowboys still have a chance at the playoffs!!!!!

  • Chris December 9, 2010 12:50 am

    hmm,
    Done right? Or done the way YOU LIKE?
    I can see the appeal of HDR, and I think my line of acceptance is somewhere in the middle of these images. I really like about 3 of them, a few look OK, and I hate the rest. That's MY opinion. But of course everyone likes different things, and if everyone liked the same it'd be a pretty boring world.
    The real reason I'm commenting though is the idiocy in some of the commenters. (not all, just a couple). I mean, wow. kristen i, What is a good reason for taste? I didn't realise I needed an excuse for not liking bananas other than I don't like them... Why should people be required to justify why something isn't in their taste? and that goes the other way too. Just because you don't like it, it doesn't make it any worse than what you like, I'm sure there are plenty of people who hate the things you like. get over it, we're all different and the world is a better place for it.

  • James Brandon December 9, 2010 12:38 am

    St. Louis Photographer - Oh yes! There are absolutely times where blown out channels work. I would say though that if your highlights are blown, it should be because you wanted them to be. If all your exposures are showing blown highlights, take more at lower exposure levels. Great question :-)

    Cheezman - You have some good suggestions for future articles here at DPS, but I question how much research you actually did before throwing in comments like me peddling or being solicited for this post, and that the post is unambitious and facile. Or even the personal call out to me as a writer to show my own work.

    If you had read the entire article, you would know that the point of these images was to show an HDR that was free of the typical pitfalls of HDR: blown highlights or shadows, haloing, ghosting, banding, noise, muddy whites, etc. I wasn't making a claim that these were naturally styled HDR's or anything like that. These are technically superb examples of HDR and I stand by that. The point of a post like this? Inspiration! Aspiring HDR photographers who have read through my tutorials or any other photographers HDR tutorials can look at these examples as standards of excellence by the fact that they are free of technical flaws. And for the record, being surreal is not a flaw. It's an artistic choice that the photographer made in his processing.

    If you do some research around the site, you'll see that I have written an entire 3 part series on how to do HDR from start to finish. I went over setting up your camera, shooting in the field, and post processing techniques. I also included source files of my own image so people could follow along. I then created a flickr group where people could post their results and get critiques. I think you find a post like this very helpful and encourage you to check it out.

    I will certainly take your article suggestions into consideration, I think you have some good ideas.

  • St Louis Photographer December 9, 2010 12:11 am

    You commented on not having any blown channels in the image. In your opinion, is there ever a time to let the highlights blow out in HDR? I know the point of HDR is to combine information from multiple exposures, but what if the background is blown out on the highlight side for all exposures?

  • Dave Wilson December 9, 2010 12:08 am

    Let me chuck in my 2 cents worth. As I see it, this all comes down to personal taste - do you like the kind of art images that some of us produce using HDR techniques? I have no problem with people who look at an image and dislike it - I do that pretty frequently myself. I do have a problem with people who judge an image based on their assumptions about the techniques that may or may not have been used to create it rather than the appeal of the final result. What matters to me is the final image I create regardless of what I did to make that image.

    I am, of course, talking about art here. If I was shooting a documentary project (as I do now and then), I would not be processing the final images to look the way that the example here looks. I may still use HDR if the subject merited it but the processing would be subtle enough that you would have no idea that HDR had been used (unless you knew the scene and realised that the dynamic range was outside the capabilities of todays sensors).

    If you are a documentary or editorial photographer and dislike post-processed images since they don't look "natural" please remember that there are a large number of people who come from a different perspective and for whom this kind of image has great artistic appeal. No-one is wrong - we all just have different opinions and tastes.

  • aleksarus December 8, 2010 11:50 pm

    more than half I would not call it the "right", so to say above average, not more. 18, 14, 2, 1 liked. Others like watercolor scribble.

  • Tom December 8, 2010 10:44 pm

    “HDR Done Right!”, how so? As I learned HDR techniques, I used them to improve the dynamic range of a digital image so it looked more how the human eye sees the actual scene. The limited dynamic range of any digital recording device can be expanded with this technology.

    What I see here under your article “HDR Done Right!” are artistic interpretations of scenes. There is nothing wrong with an "artistic" approach to producing an image and many of the comments show an appreciation of this art form. There are many great software products that give the "artist" the ability to express themselves.

    This is ART, not “HDR Done Right!”. Let's be honest with our articles and show how to properly use HDR to improve the rendering of an image that has more dynamic range that what can be captured with the current digital technology. How about an actual article on “HDR Done Right!”.

  • Luis Garcia December 8, 2010 08:33 pm

    This is an amazing set of images that simply blows away any other "HDR" collection I've seen. I don't see anything that looks overly processed - that's something I don't particularly like about what many tout as HDR. Some of the images look almost unreal though, but because I wasn't there at the time they were shot, I just have to believe that these images are as close as I'll get to seeing what the photographer saw with his or her own eyes.

  • Cheezman December 8, 2010 06:39 pm

    I'm more often than not disappointed with the quality of articles lately posted to DPS and this is a good example. This, and others strike me as just unambitious and facile. I don't blame Mr. Brandon, who either peddled or was solicited for a post in the convention of DPS. But, really, what useful information does this post convey to any of us? What would be useful is a post on this topic that takes a series of HDR photos and explains them in both stylistic and technical terms. Why the choice of the particular image and WHY was HDR the chosen interpretive medium (specifically, where are the tonal extremes that dictated the choice)? How many frames were compiled and at what exposure intervals and why? Manual or auto focus? Then, on to the processing. What are the pitfalls to watch for? What is the work flow and what choices resulted in which specific look to the the photo, either globally or locally? The model for this that I see is Joe McNally in his book Hotshoe Diaries (I assume he does similar in The Moment it Clicks, but haven't acquired that one yet). What is the difference between processing 3+ exposures vs. one RAW image?

    When I create HDR, I put the camera on Program Mode, set menu to bracketing at 2 EV differential and snap off 3 shots (I'm still lugging a D50, so 3 is all I can get). Why do I do it this way? I read it somewhere. Is there another way? I don't know. This is what a post with better depth could convey, I would hope.

    Finally, I just want to say that the whole HDR/no HDR debate is soooo tired and boring. Every posting of an HDR article devolves into sniping back and forth by the two camps in the comments. HDR exists and I'll bet even the snipers do it occasionally. You must admit that when you first run across HDR and how easy it is to get a bad image, it seems very exciting. And to the righteous detractors, what are you supposed to do when confronted with a compelling scene with tonal ranges you know cannot be captured in one shot?

    James Brandon, this is not a criticism of you at all. I have no doubt you could write an article meeting the standards discussed. You tout your HDR chops (of which I have no doubt), and so how about posting a few of YOUR images with the McNally-style rundown so we can all go to school.

    Thanks for listening all.

  • Cheezman December 8, 2010 06:38 pm

    I'm more often than not disappointed with the quality of articles lately posted to DPS and this is a good example. This, and others strike me as just unambitious and facile. I don't blame Mr. Brandon, who either peddled or was solicited for a post in the convention of DPS. But, really, what useful information does this post convey to any of us? What would be useful is a post on this topic that takes a series of HDR photos and explains them in both stylistic and technical terms. Why the choice of the particular image and WHY was HDR the chosen interpretive medium (specifically, where are the tonal extremes that dictated the choice)? How many frames were compiled and at what exposure intervals and why? Manual or auto focus? Then, on to the processing. What are the pitfalls to watch for? What is the work flow and what choices resulted in which specific look to the the photo, either globally or locally? The model for this that I see is Joe McNally in his book Hotshoe Diaries (I assume he does similar in The Moment it Clicks, but haven't acquired that one yet). What is the difference between processing 3+ exposures vs. one RAW image?

    When I create HDR, I put the camera on Program Mode, set menu to bracketing at 2 EV differential and snap off 3 shots (I'm still lugging a D50, so 3 is all I can get). Why do I do it this way? I read it somewhere. Is there another way? I don't know. This is what a post with better depth could convey, I would hope.

    Finally, I just want to say that the whole HDR/no HDR debate is soooo tired and boring. Every posting of an HDR article devolves into sniping back and forth by the two camps in the comments. HDR exists and I'll bet even the snipers do it occasionally. You must admit that when you first run across HDR and how easy it is to get a bad image, it seems very exciting. And to the righteous detractors, what are you supposed to do when confronted with a compelling scene with tonal ranges you know cannot be captured in one shot?

    James Brandon, this is not a criticism of you at all. I have no doubt you could write an article meeting the standards discussed. You tout your HDR chops (of which I have no doubt), and so how about posting a few of YOUR images with the McNally-style rundown so we can all go to school.

    Thanks for listening all.

  • Kiran December 8, 2010 04:56 pm

    I am always so intrigued by HDR photography. Hope to shoot such one day and achieve amazing HDR effects :)

  • Brett Holt December 8, 2010 04:41 pm

    I don't care how you did it, they all look great.

  • Lee Weller December 8, 2010 04:13 pm

    To me, these strikingly dramatic images look like CGIs - they just have that computer graphic look. Despite their "wow factor", I doubt anyone would ever mistake them for "straight" photographs. I'd be really curious to compare any or all of these images with the best single exposure of each scene.

    Obviously, I'm in the camp that thinks that HDR images shouldn't shout "Hey! look at me, I'm HDR!" It seems to me that HDR processing is mostly important as a tool to help compensate for the mismatch between the dynamic range of my camera's sensor (5-6 stops) and my sensory perception (at least 10 stops?).

    If this look is what you want, then okay, go for it, but it's not _my_ choice.

  • Dana December 8, 2010 03:07 pm

    It has taken me a long while to warm up to HDR, but I have. When I read critiques of HDR images I read a lot concerning personal opinion. This is to saturated, that is to over cooked, it doesn't look natural ect. These are all personal opinion, not good, not bad just opinion. What the photog/artist is trying to express may not be a natural feel, a natural color palate, or a perfect one shot photo. They are expressing what they feel at that moment they took a bracketed series of photos and creating an image as they and only they see fit. Just like Andy Warhal's paintings. Many I do not like, others inspire me, yet Andy is infamous with or without my opinion.
    I feel what James was saying in this article is more technical in nature than peoples opinions. He not showing photo's that meet his personal taste and opinion as good or bad but what technically makes each one a good HDR based on the processing. Have you seen seven 3, 5 or 7 brackets put together with little or no attention to the details. Massive halo's, blurred images from movement. bad exposure to begin with. Now look at these images again from the technical details. Each is very good. The Processing took some time and the photographers paid attention to the details. Might it be over saturated or surreal, Yes. But maybe thats what they were after (personal opinion). Did thay take the time to take the flaws, dust, noise, halo's ect.out of the final product, Yes. That's what makes these good HDR's, besides being well composed and interesting subjects. I have been following James and many of the photographers in this article on a regular basis. Each has earned my respect for what they can do.
    Thank You James. Great examples of the type of work you and many others love. I know you are just trying to share a passion. Continue to pass it on.

  • dotcompals December 8, 2010 02:58 pm

    really Incredible images

  • Eric Bjerke December 8, 2010 01:52 pm

    Would love to read an article/tutorial that shows what people did WRONG and how to avoid it.

  • Adele December 8, 2010 01:19 pm

    Very Well said Mike Criswell

  • toomanytribbles December 8, 2010 01:12 pm

    'stupid'?
    calling opinions 'stupid' on a post where people are encouraged to express said opinions is downright -- er... no, i'll not respond in kind.

    my opinion above was a short version. here's a longer one:

    when viewing a scene, as our eyes dart from light areas to dark, we constantly adjust our perception so that we can clearly see both very dark and very light areas. a camera sensor is unable to do that (yet), so you get blown out highlights or too-dark bits. the original purpose of HDR was to increase the range normally visible by a camera sensor so that the final product closer to what we experience with our eyes (and ultimately, mind). we blend a series of exposures so that all areas are perceivable on a level closer to our original experience.

    of course, an original purpose doesn't mean that there's any kind of law that people have to obey.

    the software and methods available to do the trick can also be tweaked so that the image can take on an intense, unrealistic style, more akin to painting, which some people like and some people don't. this is a matter of personal taste. personal taste in art and photography is legitimate -- we can't all like all things... but certainly, we should be able to express what we like and what we don't, especially if we are able to explain why.

    for me -- repeat, for me -- HDR is about transferring my original experience -- what i saw, or at least, what i THINK i saw, to an image. i've been doing HDR on and off for about three years. my early attempts were awful, but i think i'm improving... that is to say, i don't think my work is exemplary, but i can see a direction and feel that my more recent work is better than my older stuff.

    so i'm going to be brave and post examples of my work which are both awful, 'HDR done wrong', and a couple which i think are somewhat better, to illustrate my point:

    the 'ugly':
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/toomanytribbles/3220061708/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/toomanytribbles/2289439668/

    the 'somewhat better':
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/toomanytribbles/3667239809/

    the 'starting to finally understand what i want to get at':
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/toomanytribbles/5134959011/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/toomanytribbles/5138737897/

    finally, what james said:
    'Photography is about creating something that YOU love. And if everyone agrees with you, you’re doing something wrong.'

  • Anthony Hereld December 8, 2010 11:57 am

    Outstanding selections! I would argue that some of these are a bit overcooked HDR, but they still look great!

  • Wheatsheaf December 8, 2010 11:15 am

    Wow quite something love the work

  • James Brandon December 8, 2010 10:49 am

    Thanks for the comments everyone, especially the meaningful ones. HDR can be controversial at times, but that's one thing I love about it; so was every other major advance in photographic technology :-). There will always be people out there who don't like HDR, and they are always eager to share their opinions :-). Photography is about creating something that YOU love. And if everyone agrees with you, you're doing something wrong. I'm thrilled at the overwhelming positive response of this article through comments, emails and tweets and hope these images have inspired some of you to go out and create something. Even if it's not an HDR! Cheers to all!

  • Charles December 8, 2010 10:21 am

    I guess it depends on what you mean as 'Done right'. Most of these are still over cooked, sometimes by a lot. Only a few of these look decent (good photos, over processed)

  • Manuel December 8, 2010 10:02 am

    I am disappointed by this entry. Is this a joke? Or am I reading wrong? HDR done right? Most of them are examples of overdone HDR. I'm surprised only a few feel the same way I do. =(

  • Mike Criswell December 8, 2010 08:55 am

    Congrats to all the featured Photogs!

    Excellent work from all of you, I must disagree that there is no such thing as "HDR Done Right"

    There is HDR out there that has serious technical flaws, but who is to judge what "Done Right" is, any more than a portrait is "Done Right".....right?

    Its the Artist behind the camera that creates the shot and has the vision and creativity, personally I like all the examples, they are all excellent in their own right and each of the participating photogs should be proud of their work. I think HDR gets a bad name, "Done Right" or not. Its a skill, an artform and a type of photography.

    and yes, as shooters of HDR we CAN be called photographers, even though I cannot quit my day job!

    Congrats to all again, especially Rob and Scott, and Cliff, been following them for a while, well done

    T-Wiz

  • salahuddin Ahmad Photography December 8, 2010 08:51 am

    I should mention about this. One of my popular HDR

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/neelelora/4030885859/' title='Edge' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2760/4030885859_be0513ffbb.jpg']

    Thanks

  • Joel December 8, 2010 08:43 am

    I've been marveling at HDR for a long time. One of my favorite photographers is http://www.troyjohnstone.com/ you should consider him for your next list! Really though, these 19 pictures are incredible!

  • Gerry December 8, 2010 08:41 am

    The question "...can they even be called photographers?" is ridiculous. IMO, and it's only one opinion, is that a (good) photographer captures and manipulates images by using tools (which can be hardware/cameras, chemicals, film, light, digital bits, software, etc.) to share whatever was in his/her mind's eye at the time.

    So are these folks "photographers"?

    The answer is "yes," and very good ones, BTW.

  • salahuddin Ahmad Photography December 8, 2010 08:40 am

    Very nice work examples. I have uploaded 52 HDR images and all are learning by doing. Here they are:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/neelelora/sets/72157625112225928/

    One for example

    Thanks
    Salahuddin Ahmad

  • Nick December 8, 2010 08:31 am

    Absolutely Amazing!

    I love the first one, that one is just incredible.

  • Niki December 8, 2010 08:07 am

    I highly agree with Apoc (there comment was posted here). This isn't photography, just over manipulated art. Nothing here is pure....

    But maybe that's what HDR is all about....Though I highly doubt it...

    Don't get me wrong, these guys are very talented...but can they even be called photographers?? :|

  • kristen i December 8, 2010 06:56 am

    I think that HDR is incredibly fascinating. It seems that anyone who hates it doesn't have legitimate reasons why. HDR is certainly closer to what I see that a normal photograph with blown highlights or shadows. It's certainly closer than black and white photography. This whole argument of whether HDR should be natural to be done right is STUPID. No photography SHOULD be done any certain way, except the way that the photographer wanted to do it. If you don't like it, that is fine, but be bold enough to leave a link to your own work to show us all how amazing your work is. I have never done HDR, but I know enough to realize that it's not going anywhere, and that these are incredible images.

  • toomanytribbles December 8, 2010 06:38 am

    i agree with B -- HDR done right is when you can't really tell if it's HDR. i find that most of these are too intense and unrealistic.

    i've always tried to make my HDR's look like a photograph rather than a painting, failing at first, but getting better, and always striving to make it look real.

  • Arlen Fletcher December 8, 2010 05:35 am

    The Emerald City - Chicago? Chicago is the Windy City - Seattle is the Emerald City.

    I like the majority of the images - though a couple (such as Relics, and the New York City Skyline) didn't suit my personal tastes.

  • B December 8, 2010 05:16 am

    Sorry, my opinion: HDR is done right when you can't tell it was done at all. These are all certainly dramatic photos, but they've all been obviously HDR processed.

    Sadly, this means that usually, HDR done right is overlooked... because most don't realize it's HDR. Catch-22. But hey, shoot and process however makes you happy, I guess.

  • James Brandon December 8, 2010 05:10 am

    Sue - glad you liked Robs image! I've wanted to go to Maine for quite some time now. I hear it is beautiful!

    Nice job destroying the Jets last night btw :-) Even if I do despise Brady :-)

  • Jeff Plum December 8, 2010 05:04 am

    "Maybe we need a new category called NDR – Natural Dynamic Range."

    Hehe, you mean normal photography, right?

    I think HDR is an interesting effect and one that has really come into it's own with the ever-improving digital cameras available today.

    But--! The effect HDR will always achieve is an unrealistic one, as it depicts more than we can see with our eyes. Therefore I don't understand how any HDR photography can be overdone, and your opinion on how far to move the slider on the crazy-HDR scale is up to personal taste. There is no right or wrong here.

    I'll stick with my 50mm f/1.4 thanks, it was good enough for Cartier-Bresson. :D

    Keep up the interesting output with HDR though, it intrigues me in the same way that using unsharp mask until you start having acid flashbacks intrigues me :P

  • Sue Daigle December 8, 2010 04:54 am

    I am totally blown away! I'm from Maine and was interested in see the HDR of Flagstaff. The "real thing" isn't really as magical as this photo. But that doesn't mean this photo is either bad or without value. The photographer has produced an incredible work of art, as have the other photographers. I agree with James that these are fantastic pieces. (Yes, I'm a Patriots fan so I'll keep quiet about the Cowboys!!)

  • Jim Raley December 8, 2010 04:41 am

    Look, this is just a matter of personal taste, but to my eye these are almost all over-cooked. I mean they are beautiful images in a fantasy art sort of way, and maybe that's what HDR is all about. But, I prefer to see HDR techniques used to create more natural and realistic images, not surrealistic ones. The most frustrating characteristic of most digital cameras is that they produce unnaturally limited dynamic range. But, these photos go so far in the other direction that I would prefer to see images straight out of the camera to these if I was forced to choose which my camera could produce.

    Maybe we need a new category called NDR - Natural Dynamic Range.

    These are certainly high - but too high for my tastes.

  • Justin December 8, 2010 04:04 am

    Fun post - honored for the include and I enjoyed seeing some of the work of others I know well. All my best, thanks to James and all the commentators!

  • Manoj Shrestha December 8, 2010 03:57 am

    wonderful photos... every photos stand to be best in their own way.. excellent...

  • Marshall Ponzi December 8, 2010 03:51 am

    These are stunning. Thank you for posting these great examples. I especially like 2, 3, 12, and 13.

    I'm just getting started with HDR and am really excited about the possibilities. It opens a whole new world of creativity and requires us to change our notions of what is or isn't a good photograph. From the surreal and gritty to the realistic and understated, there is lots of room for good.

    Frankly, I feel a little disturbed when I first look at just about any HDR. But that's not a bad thing. I think its because after years of photography, I've become accustomed to seeing and expecting certain things in a photographs, especially high contrast ones. Things like, where detail is preserved in highlights / shadows and how highlights and shadows are balanced. These are important in HDR too, but, at least for me, it takes more effort to absorb and appreciate them. And it takes more effort to interpret what the photographer was thinking because they had to consider so much more.

    Funny, my first exposure to the term HDR was Steve Jobs' demonstration on the launch of iPhone 4. When I first saw what the phone could, I thought, "wow, why didn't I think of trying that before?" (even before HDR plug-ins) Then I realized I'd been seeing HDR photos for a while, thought they had an interesting look, but never really gave them much thought. Now I'm dusting off my Photoshop skills, upgrading to CS5 and I'm looking forward to some new adventures.

  • Dave Wares December 8, 2010 03:18 am

    Let me ask some if you, what is about HDR that makes it different to any other type of photographic processing? From a simple mono conversion, cross processing, lith printing, smearing Vaseline on a Clear filter, the list goes on. All these produce pictures that will be far removed from what the photographer actually saw, yet these are all recognised and accepted forms of photography.
    You don't have to like what you see and you can subcategorise all you want, but at the end of the day all these images started their lives out of a camera, and therefore its photography.
    Photography is what YOU want it to be, don't let anyone tell you any different.
    Now go out, take pictures and enjoy yourselves.

  • Bob Lussier December 8, 2010 02:56 am

    Thanks, James, for including me in such great company. I've admired the work of several of these people for some time, and you've given me a few more to follow.

  • Brian Hoffman December 8, 2010 02:53 am

    See folks, it can be done right. I especially like the Colorado balloons

  • Scott Frederick December 8, 2010 02:48 am

    Hey Neil(Bidong) I am a big fan of your photography, especially your urbex work. I must say your vision on photography is very clear and focused. I am a huge fan of single exposures, especially long exposures and yours are outstanding.

    To everyone... I think it's safe to say there are plenty of exceptional examples of HDR work here. I, as an open minded photographer have outstanding single non HDR images like yourself, and try to work in all aspects of the field. I always say it's more "hip" to provide a broader range of images, and to challenge "yourself" with all of the "tools" that are out there! :)

    As for all the negative comments. Let's take note that none of you have provided links to your work.

    Too all of my fellow photog friends who are open to ALL types of photography. Keep on making amazing photography!

    "Oh my god, this is such a horrible photograph. I mean look at it, it's all HDR and stuff. That's like totally uncool."

    http://www.scottfrederickphotoblog.com/2010/11/25/here-comes-the-sun-happy-thanksgiving/

  • Mike Olbinski December 8, 2010 02:30 am

    Some of the "fairy tale" guys having issues with #6 being overcooked...I guess opinion is opinion, but I'd like to add if you had been standing there with me that day, watching this amazing storm...you'd realize how much this image looked like the actual scene.

  • Neil December 8, 2010 02:26 am

    I'm not a fan of HDR photography. I think the ONLY instance where it is justifiable is when you absolutely cannot achieve the same effect using one exposure. In most of these shots, I see no need to bracket shots at all.

  • Arthur December 8, 2010 02:26 am

    Awesome examples.
    However, Dubai is in the United Arab Emirates (not Emerits) ;)

    Thanks a million.

  • Michelle December 8, 2010 02:17 am

    Wow!

  • Rob-L December 8, 2010 02:16 am

    Well, only six of these are "done right" in my opinion and two of those are on the edge of being overcooked.

  • Edward December 8, 2010 02:14 am

    I agree with Dan, except that wouldn't even hit the number six. Hed done right is, to me, much more traditinal, as done with film..to compensate for difficult lighting not make neon oil paintings.

    Don't confuse differing opinions with haterism.

    A hater would be on here disagreeing with everything posted all the time, or all hdr ever.

    Clearly the fairy tale digital art (not photography) is very popular right now...time will tell where it winds up.

  • Michelle H December 8, 2010 02:09 am

    Stunning pictures. I love all of them, and it's given me some ideas the next time I see a landscape or snowfall as to my possibilities.

  • Marshall Cant December 8, 2010 02:05 am

    Fantastic images. What I notice (or, I guess have re-affirmed) when I look at HDR images as good as these is that "nature is High Dynamic Range". I got to thinking about this and ended up writing a piece about it on my website's blog. As as photographic technology goes the future is HDR and shots like this demonstrate why. Awesome shots...
    I hope this isn't "bad form" to mention this, but if anyone is interested in discussing what I call "Photography's Holy Grail" I wrote a post about it here: http://theimagescanners.com/_blog/The_Image_Scanners_Blog/post/HDR_The_Inexorable_March_Toward_Photography%27s_Holy_Grail/

    Marshall

  • Mike Olbinski December 8, 2010 02:01 am

    Another awesome HDR tutorial that helped me figure some stuff out was Brian Matiash's:
    http://brianmatiash.com/blog/hdr-best-practices-guide/

    After Trey Ratcliff's, Brian's was the next best thing to help me with work flow and a bunch of other crap. Give it a looksee too!

  • Dan Ketcham December 8, 2010 01:56 am

    Beautiful

    I am just getting ready to start on some HDR and seeing these really helped
    I still remember when I found HDR and yes, there are tons of examples out there that are overdone and all, there are those that are just right, and these above... yes...

  • James Brandon December 8, 2010 01:44 am

    Loving the comments everyone, even the occasional haters. You guys are what keep me going!

    For those wanting to learn more about HDR photography, check out my DPS Guide to HDR Photography, a 3 part series on HDR from start to finish. Here's part one: http://www.digital-photography-school.com/setting-up-your-digital-camera-for-hdr-shooting

  • Dave Wilson December 8, 2010 01:27 am

    Thanks for including one of my images in your list, James. I'm honoured to find one of my pictures alongside so many great photographs!

  • Sheila December 8, 2010 01:26 am

    These are certainly beautifully done! "Done right" is in the eye of the beholder, though. Sometimes a different look is the goal, and there is no right or wrong when it comes to art. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos!

  • Dan December 8, 2010 01:14 am

    Sorry but this is more like "8 examples of HDR done right, with 11 examples of what not to do". The landsscapes are so overdone they may as well be paintings!

  • Jacob Lucas December 8, 2010 01:12 am

    A big thanks to James for compiling this list of some truly incredible HDR imagery - I'm humbled (and stoked!) to have been included in it. It's articles like this that will ensure quality HDR photography continues to grow.

    Chris Page - I took this image during a cruise through the archipelagos in Halong Bay - I'm not sure of the difference between "Halong Bay" and "inland Halong Bay" but this image is from in amongst the thousands of limestone islands. It's one of the most beautiful locations I've had the privilege to photograph.

  • Rob December 8, 2010 01:02 am

    James, thank you very much for including one of my images in the article. I'm truly honored to be in the midst of those people whose work I've respected for so long. You've provided a great service by showing these examples of 'done right' HDR, proving that HDR need not be an assault on the eye.

    The degree and range of talent shown in this article is truly stunning!

  • James December 8, 2010 01:00 am

    You are dead right about the quality of a lot of HDR images that are banded about as if they are amazing. Seeing these over done examples made me hate the technique... These shots you have posted are superb though, and have reminded me why I found HDR interesting to begin with!

  • Dave Wares December 8, 2010 12:48 am

    Great post and very humbled to have one of my pics included as an example. Hope this can be an inspiration for those getting interested in HDR and can take away some of the bad press we often see when reading about HDR photography.
    Cheers,
    Dave.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck December 8, 2010 12:40 am

    Hi

    This is a great collection of images from wonderfully talented folks. HDR is tricky and certainly evolving, and it is super to have examples from the leading edge of the art. Perhaps one day I will be able to produce excellent results like this as well...back to work for me, with this inspiration!

    Cheers, Erik

  • JF December 8, 2010 12:40 am

    And some more

    http://www.all-art.org/art_20th_century/fantasy/f1kinkade.html

  • Carlos estrada December 8, 2010 12:39 am

    I cant see the article on my iphone because you have a banner that push up every time.
    Wrong!!!!

  • Apoc December 8, 2010 12:36 am

    These aren't hdr done right. These are overdone, surreal, and antinatural pictures. Art, yes, but not photography.

  • Sharon Holzapfel December 8, 2010 12:34 am

    These are beautiful. For someone new to even viewing HDR photos, could you post an example of a truly bad example of HDR to contrast. It may highlight what you are trying to avoid in processing for a novice like me.

  • Mike Olbinski December 8, 2010 12:34 am

    Much to ya James for tossing me in with this motley crue of photographers. An amazing collection and I'm with you on the main purpose of this blog. I like what you've chosen here and it definitely represents some of the top HDR guys out there.

    Thanks again!

  • Adele December 8, 2010 12:30 am

    All these Photo's are Beautiful They all did an Amazing Job
    & Love # 18--- Here's Comes The Sun Well Done
    Scott Frederick

  • Scott December 8, 2010 12:30 am

    James,

    Thank you for including my in this wonderful example of stunning HDR photography!

  • Anibal Trejo December 8, 2010 12:26 am

    Wow! nice! examples to be followed! :) Thanks!

  • Chris Page December 8, 2010 12:20 am

    It that really Halong Bay or is it the inland Halong Bay (pic number 19)?

  • Scott Frederick December 8, 2010 12:15 am

    James, what an amazing post, and all of the images look incredible together. Thank you so much for all of your hard work and support of the HDR community.

  • Geoff Smith December 8, 2010 12:12 am

    Thanks, James, for such great examples of HDR done right. Amazing images! So many HDR images I see on photo sharing sites are way overdone, and don't look like a photo any more. They look more cartoonish, or like video game graphics. But these images are nice. They're HDR without looking like they're HDR. I would love to take a class on good HDR technique. Do you teach any courses?

    Thanks,
    Geoff Smith

  • Brian Matiash December 8, 2010 12:04 am

    Just want to thank James and DPS for compiling this solid list of HDR photographers and a double thanks for including me in it!

    Looking forward to seeing it grow.

  • LPL December 8, 2010 12:03 am

    These are gorgeous. I definitely understand what you mean about over-done HDR images. Thanks for the inspiration! This was the extra push I needed to keep learning more about HDR photography.

  • Debbie Howard December 7, 2010 11:56 pm

    Gorgeous! I dream of taking pictures that gorgeous some day. Still using a point and shoot Kodak Easyshare at the moment. I want to come to the end of that one before stepping up. Makes me work hard as motivation.
    I love all those shots. They remind me of paintings. I would love to learn how to do that.
    Debbie

  • Jesse December 7, 2010 11:56 pm

    They're all gorgeous shots but that NYC skyline is absolutely amazing.

  • Ross Nave December 7, 2010 11:48 pm

    Thanks for posting! I think the title says it all...It is always nice to see "HDR Done Right!"

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