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In this course, photographer Ben Long describes the concepts and techniques behind high dynamic range (HDR) photography, a technique used to create images that have a wider range between the lightest and darkest areas of a scene than a digital camera can typically capture. The course begins with some background on dynamic range, on how camera sensors detect shadows, and on the kinds of subjects that benefit from HDR. Ben then describes and demonstrates several methods of generating HDR images, starting with single-shot HDR, which relies on masking to subtly enhance the dynamic range of a shot. Next, the course covers multi-exposure HDR, which involves shooting several photos of a scene, each at a different exposure, and then combining them using software tools. Ben demonstrates how to use Photoshop and the popular Photomatix software to process HDR images whose appearance ranges from subtle to surreal.
With all that you should be ready to head out on your own and start making some high dynamic range images. As I mentioned at the beginning of this course, HDR is just one tool that you have in your shooting arsenal. It's great for some images, not for others. One of the trickiest things about learning it though is learning when it is appropriate, how you can use it to shape an image, when it might be good for one situation and not another, and like most things about photographic technique, the only way you're going learn that is practice. So don't forget that HDR is a tool if you can employ. Get out, try it in lots of different circumstances, and see what you end up with.
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