This and That

Random bits of my life

Six HDR Photos from 2009

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 8, 2010

I’ve been dabbling in HDR for a couple years and am still learning what works and what doesn’t. Currently I am using Photomatix to generate the HDR because it provides so much control. I tried Qtpfsgui, the free open-source program (does anyone out there know how to pronounce this name?). I found it difficult to use unless I applied the presets, which tended to be a bit on the grunge side for my taste. I have also used Photoshop CS2. It’s adequate but takes a long time to crank out the HDR file unless you have a really fast computer. So at the moment I prefer Photomatix.

I haven’t decided what HDR style I lean towards — grunge, realistic, or eyeball-searing, pimped-to-the-max — because I’m still experimenting with different subjects. Buildings and industrial settings work well. So do shopping centers, although you have the problem with ghosting caused by moving people. I haven’t had much experience with generating an HDR from a single RAW file, but that would be my choice if I were trying to create an HDR of a moving subject.

Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The clear, cloudless skies that are typical in a desert climate are boring to photograph. They need a few clouds for interest. I was fortunate to have a “good sky day” when I took the three exposures for this shot. The bricks appear not to have been lined up properly by Photomatix, but when I checked one of the originals I discovered that those ripples are caused by the water, not the software. One of the coolest aspects of this photo was the discovery of the green tiles on the bottom of the pool. Although I’ve seen the dome and fountains many times, I had never noticed the green tiles because that area gets very little sunlight, and certainly not in the late afternoon (standard photo taken at same time).

Dome, Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum (HDR)

Second Temple Model of Jerusalem, Israel Museum

Clouds and sunshine are a great subject for HDR.

Jerusalem Model (HDR) 1

NDS Building, Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem

This photo of my workplace (I’m on the top floor, on the other side of the building) is a more natural rendering of HDR. I did this image before I learned how to deal with halo-ing, so there is a bit in this picture. What I found intriguing is the way the reflections of the building on the other side of the parking lot really pop. You can see the difference if you look at the original photo.

Assignment 38: Buildings

Adumim Mall, Maale Adumim

As soon as I saw the pomegranates, stars, and gift boxes hanging from the ceiling, I had to try an HDR image. That’s one of the cool things about learning HDR — you’re never sure at first how an image will turn out, so each one is a surprise. I love the way the decorations seem to shimmer.

Some of the people are walking or standing in different positions in the three exposures. Photomatix seems to choose one version and suppress the others, as part of its anti-ghosting algorithm.

Shopping Center

Park Center, Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem

A seriously ugly mall in an industrial park in north Jerusalem where I only go to mail letters or buy shampoo. The ceiling is made of translucent, corrugated fiberglass panels, which turns the natural light a sickly yellow. In real life the mall is dark, littered with pigeon droppings, and dingy (original photo). The HDR rendering brightens the ceiling and tiles and makes it look futuristic.

Park Center, Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem


I took this shot for a photo list assignment of a picture that showed something forgotten. When I saw a tiny lacy sock and silver shoe in a park while on my morning walk, I raced home and grabbed my camera. The HDR rendering was an artistic decision because I wanted the picture to have a dreamy, surreal effect. I was trying to avoid a “crime scene photo” effect (“The missing girl was last seen ….”). I imagined a little girl,  dressed in her Shabbat finery, taking off her scratchy lace sock and shoe and leaving them under the bushes.


“Learning Experiences” 🙂

Sukkah HDR

Galileo Thermometer HDR

Abandoned CDs


3 Responses to “Six HDR Photos from 2009”

  1. Some great pics in there. The first one is my favourite. Probably because I know how hard it is to get a good fountain shot in HDR.

    • apinnick said

      Thanks! It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know that fountain shots were difficult with HDR. I really am a beginner. Your HDR photos are amazing. They’re gorgeous as photos of Europe in themselves but the HDR really makes the colours pop. And who would have thought of doing an HDR of a frozen leaf? Thanks for your link.

  2. Fanie said

    I really love your HDR experiments. 🙂 I first heard of this process in my graphic design class. I can’t wait to try this once when I’ll get a new camera, later this year.

    I really love the fountain & the mall one. Althought they are all beautiful, even your experiments.
    When you talked of the mall being a regular and ugly one, I had a very good idea of what you meant. :-p For the mall, you could even suggest to the mall’s owners to make this as their next year’s Christmas card.

    Thanks for sharing your great HDR photos work with us. It’s very inspiring. 🙂

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