What happens when you squish together the best of underexposed and overexposed photography? You get HDR—high dynamic range images. Here are 37 examples of what HDR can do.
Winner: Manhattan Beach
Was out shooting the surfers in Manhattan Beach when this paddler came coasting by behind them all. He was moving much slower than the surfers so was easier to get a decent bracketed exposure.
Shot on Nikon D600 with Tamron 70-300 @300mm. The sky was exposed f5.6 1/2000s at 200 ISO. The water was exposed for 1/125s. Composited in Photoshop with some blending and adjustments.
- Dan Durakovich
The Sky, My Temple
I shot this photo with my Canon D70, I took 5 shots and processed them in Photomatix and later I used Photoshop some adjustments. Someone one time told me, "If you ask me if my photo is an HDR I considered that I failed to make a good photo." I think the opposite way, I like over the top HDR like I like more natural HDR, I like HDRs.
I love going to Wat Thai Los Angeles, a Buddhist temple in North Hollywood, I don't practice Buddhism but I think the temple by itself is gorgeous and I feel good going there. Whenever I see a chance for a beautiful sunset I go there to photograph, and a sunset fits that temple like a glove.
- Alecio De Paula
- Anjul Gurmukhani
This is a picture of my neighbors house. It was taken with my Sony Xperia Z1 and the photo was edited in an App called Snapseed using the HDR filter. The sun was at my back so it was the perfect shot. I have used all kind of HDR Filters in different apps by far Snapseed has the best I've seen.
- Arnoldo Rangel
This was taken at Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia. It was right before the thunder storm came.
Camera: CANON EOS 5D Mark III; Lens: EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM; Shot at 24mm @ F8, ISO 100, in RAW, 3 exposures (-3, -1, +1), no tripod; Photomatix for HDR conversion, and tone mapping. Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom4 for editing, retouching, resizing.
Came across this worn out Taxi Service garage in Peccia, Switzerland and had to capture it.
Shot with Canon T4i and 24mm 1.4 L lens.
- Brandan Gajic
This was the last photo I took on a trip to the historic part of my city. I really liked the way the shadows made the rusty metal look, so I snapped a few photos. This has been my first try at HDR photography using my DSLR and not my iPhone.
Canon t4i, 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6
- Brian Kirby
Grand Place Buildings in Brussels, Belgium. Corners of buildings La Maison Des Duc De Brabant & Everard 'T Serclaes. A particularly cloudy morning so using HDR gave me the chance to bring out the gold on the buildings which contrasts nicely against the gray and blue of the building and against the blue/gray clouds.
Taken with Panasonic GF1 w/ 20mm lens, 1/2500 @ F2.8, ISO 160 Single exposure HDR using Lightroom 3.3 for exposure adjustment and Dynamic Photo-HDR for tone-mapping.
- Calvin Lee
Pink Sky, Blue City
I went out Sunday night with the idea that I would take a few HDRs for the contest. Unfortunately, I couldn't seem to make most of them look very good — I need to experiment more.
This one of the WTC was taken at sunset with a 5D Mark III. I bracketed 5 photos (-3 to +3) and pulled them into the Photoshop with the Merge to HDR Pro script. Using the presets, the Monochrome one looked great to me. I split-toned it in Lightroom to make the sunset more obvious, and tada. I think I'll be using this for my desktop background for a while.
- Charlie Syzmanski
I had never heard of HDR photography until this challenge. I thought I would give it a try by capturing a sunset. This is the view off of my back porch. The HDR was done by Luminance HDR on the least gaudy settings I could find.
Camera: Canon EOS T3; Focal Length: 18 mm; AE Bracketing at -1.33, 0, 1.33 ev; Circular Polarizer
- Chris Sears
Shot the Sunset from my backyard.
Canon 6D; 24-105mm L Series Lens; 7 Shot HDR (-3,-2,-1,0,+1,+2,+3) On Tripod. Used Photomatix Pro to combine the images.
- Christopher Doomy
My HDR of Barnwell Chapel at Berry College in Rome, GA.
Photo was taken as a series of -2 -1 0 +1 +2 and joined together with HDR tonemapper and CS6.
- Corey Treaster
Old town to new town Seattle. Life is drab; I like vibrant HDR. Fuji X-M1 with the XC16-50mm lens at 16mm. Three Velvia JPG shots were bracketed one stop apart, combined in Photomatix Pro, then lightly edited in Lightroom.
- David Lee
This shot is at the family cabin on the Platte River near Fremont, NE. The ice is finally breaking up and you can see some piled up on a sandbar between the trees. I used Photomatix to do the heavy-lifting of creating the HDR and Lightroom had an assist in a few tweaks.
Canon T3i 1/320 f/9 29mm ISO100 3 exposures from -2/3 to +2/3
- David Short
Cameras were packed and we were on our way to do a property shoot for Engel & Völkers, when the sun hit my eyes as we walked in the shadow of a church in Naxxar, Malta. With one hand free I maneuvered the iPhone 5 out of my pocket, dropped to my knees to honor the god of light (of course referring to the iPhone camera). I set it in HDR mode, aligned the camera with the building and the sun to catch a lens flare, all while my colleague was laughing over the fact that I had a bag full of expensive gear, and still chose to shoot with the phone. The best camera is still the one in your pocket :) Finally I adjusted levels in Photoshop and added some sharpness to bring out the roughness and grime of the Maltese facade.
- Emil Brikha
- Glenn Schmidt
I shot this while on a walk along Lake Michigan's lakefront. The center of the photo is dominated by Milwaukee's iconic Art Museum, with a portion of the city's skyline in the background.
Sony RX10, bracketed three photos (2, 0, +2) at f2.8, ISO 125 and created the HDR in Photomatix.
- Greg Johnson
I have a 110 mile round trip commute and it takes me past a local reservoir. I have always wanted to shoot the sunset over the lake. Well its frozen but today i was just late enough for the right light. I used the HDR technique, as I have in the past, to get even light on the snow in the foreground and not over expose the sky.
Equipment: Canon rebel T2i Sigma 10-10mm lens Photomatix Pro 3, Nik Vivieza 2, Photoshop CS6. I bracket my exposure 2 f stops. so -2 0 +2 and blended them in Photomatix, Tweaked with Nik Viiveza 2 plug in in CS6.
- Greg Milunich
HTC one HDR quick shot. The story is i was waiting in the car outside a friends house so i thought lets see how good ultra pixel is so i just focussed on the brightest area in the photo and pressed the shutter. It was around 4pm in the afternoon before dawn :)
Roaming around NYC on a lovely pre-spring day and enjoying the non-frigid temperatures. I took the opportunity to stand in the middle of the street and take a shot of the Times Square area with all the colors. The shot is looking uptown into the vast sea of LED billboards and stores.
The shot was taken with a Canon EOS 6D with a EF24-105mm F/4L lens in RAW image quality. It is a combination of three shots bracketed around a f8.0 aperture at 1/400 speed, auto white balance, and Landscape picture style. I used Evaluative metering and an ISO of 200. I used Magic Lantern software in camera to do the bracketing. The three RAW images were combined in Photomatix and then refined in Lightroom 5 for the final image.
- John McNamara
The image was obtained with an iPhone 5S, and it was set to HDR mode. It was a sunset over a hill. Then I did global color corrections in Paint.net, and got it to look a little more HDR using AutoHDR v 2.1.5 to bring out the lens flare a little more.
- Jonas Demuro
I love to photograph flowers. We got these at the farmers market, and after this tulip opened up I thought it would make a nice HDR subject. This is a blend of 4 images each 1 stop apart.
Shot on a D800 with an 85mm 1.8G. ISO 1600 f 1.8, varying shutter speeds.
- Josh Walker
HDR is like a gun: Powerful, but handle with care or it'll backfire on ya. I try to use HDR to replicate reality, bringing my photos closer to what my eyes see (as opposed to farther from it). However, it's hard to replicate the feeling of serenity I experienced standing next to this giant on my travels this week through the Sukhothai ruins of Thailand.
Canon T3i at 10mm with 1/(30,125,500), f/9 and ISO 320.
- Levi Basist
For this week's submission, I was unfortunately not able to head out to grab an HDR shot outside. So while I was inside babysitting, I decided to try and go for an HDR shot using action figures of Sora and Cloud from Kingdom Hearts that my brother-in-law owned. So I positioned them on the countertop, set my camera to shoot a bracketed sequence of 5 exposures and completed the merge of the shots in Photoshop.
Canon T4i - 50mm - f/2.8 - ISO1600 - -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, (0 EV = 1/100 sec )
- Long Hong
I have always used HDR for high contrast scenes but the challenge lay in shooting one after the contest was announced. I was at one of the top ten paragliding sites in the world i.e. Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India and at sunset discovered a wheat field lit by the golden lights of the setting sun. Shooting against the sun generally would result in silhouttes only but thanks to HDR, I could get the details of the wheat field from the overexposed shot. However, as is the case with all paraglising sites, winds were quick and hence, the wavy stalks were resistant to developing a sharper image.
- Marisha Sharma
I just bought my first fisheye and took it out to shoot at some of my favorite spots. This the result from the Kaufmann Center in Kansas City.
Sony A65v Rokinon 8mm fisheye
- Marvin Francois
This is a 3 shot HDR taken to capture the golden light of the Morning sun as it splashed it's rays across the nearly leafless oak tree that dominates my front yard. I tried to go for a more natural image that lacks the over sharpening effects and hyper saturation that is so common in many HDR images.
The images were shot with Sony Nex-3n, and shot in RAW in Aperture Priority at an exposure spacing of 2.0 EV. The images were preprocessed in Light Room and then blended in Photomatix 5.
- Michael Broam
I took this with my Nexus 5 right after 4.4.2 was released. I thought it was better than the original 4.4. Once I got the update, this little guy landed on my railing. Was pretty impressed with the quality just with the Nexus 5.
- Mike Chados
My wife bought some flowers for the house :)
- Nils Rohwer
This is Bag's End, the home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, from the Hobbit and Lord of the Ring films, in Hobbitton New Zealand. This is a 5 exposure handheld HDR taken with my Nikon D700 and a 16-35mm Lens at 16mm. I wanted to specifically catch the sun shining through the tree, yet correctly exposing the foreground and the sky.
- Pablo Piedra
Madison Square Park
NYC finally got a break in the weather. I was walking through Madison Square Park at the golden hour and snapped this photo with my iPhone using an HDR app. I love the juxtaposition of architectural styles.
- Stephen Rooke
Del Cerro Park
I was at Del Cerro Park overlooking Portuguese Bend Wildlife Reserve in Rancho Palos Verdes California just before Sunset on Saturday, as the sun was going down I decided to snap some shots of the color play over the ocean.
Shot with my Sony NEX-3N in Auto HDR mode with the standard 16mm-50mm lens.
- Ryan Derbyshire
This is my cat. I must've taken at least 100 pictures of him while he was sleeping and he did not wake once.
Canon T3i, Canon 50mm EF f/1.4, 5 exposures (1/6, 0.3, 0.7, 1.5, 3s) f/4.0, ISO 100, and merged with PhotoMatix Pro.
- Ryan Roppel
Five separate bracketed exposures processed using Photomatix Pro with the finishing touches in Photoshop 5. This shot was taken on the northern part of Clearwater Beach, Florida in late summer.
I shot this using a Nikon D600 with a wide angle at 24mm.
- Clay Townsend
Although I had been biking in Manhattan all throughout the Winter, I had not felt that my hands could be warm and quick enough to shoot solid DSLR. But this day was the first above 50 degrees. So, the first thing I did? I hit the Williamsburg Bridge for some inspiration. Its combination of concentric steel girders and high contrast red and grey tones creates an infinite regress seemingly pointing to nothing, providing form and void.
Equipment: Canon 60D with Sigma 30mm f/1.4 art series; Settings: f/1.4, Aperture mode, Exposure bracketed to -3, -1, and +1, ISO 100. Technique: Photomatix Pro with custom Tone Mapping and Photoshop for cropping and resizing
- Steve Pham
I took this photo with my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone camera using the built-in HDR mode. For editing I used Lightroon 4. I took this photo in a grocery shop. The light was good. I thought the detail on the cantaloupe skin is great and would work in HDR.
- Taufique Hassan
I thought id run up to the zoo Saturday for this challenge. I got to the zoo just fine, but my camera battery managed to be at my house still in the charger. So I walked around the zoo with my wife, while lugging my camera bag for an hour and a half. Today, we did some shopping and walked around downtown Murfreesboro, Tn next to the courthouse. There is where I found this cool drive through dry cleaners.
The set up is a Canon T1i, -2, E, and +2 exposures combined in Photomatix Pro 5, Edited for tone adjustments in Photoshop CC and Topaz Labs.
- Tyler Glover
Great job all around. It's fantastic to see all of the contrasts—the bold HDR vs the subtle, the handmade images vs the cellphone filters. For the big images, head over to flickr.