This may ruffle the feathers among fans of this technique or you may find yourself agreeing with me but in my personal opinion, I think HDR is dead already.
What is HDR? HDR is quite simply a relatively new technique used in imaging to combine several images, exposed for both highlights and shadows, to create an image where detail and tone are visible throughout the image. Under normal circumstances, it is normally not possible to achieve this in just one exposure.
Why is it dead already? Everywhere I look I see examples of this technique, and in the right context it’s a great way to show off amazing textures and mood but already the novelty has worn off. I know for some this technique is very serious business and it’s another “tool” in the photographer’s box but with HDR there is something that’s missing from a normal photo, mystery.
Take a shot of a dramatic interior with light spilling down corridors with dark mysterious corners, chinks of light beckoning us to investigate the image further but not giving us enough detail to discover what is lurking there. Process with HDR and devoid of mystery, these sterile images give it all away. The detail is in everything, it is omnipresent, nothing is left to chance. Nothing left to our imagination, like an operating theatre prepped for surgery, every surface clean with no surprises.
Colour range and tone from HDR images had a certain look and I’ve noticed this “look” migrating over to the cinema recently, slightly muted, gritty images packed with details, where is it going stop?
Fellow imagers, it’s great in small doses but please don’t overdo it! Suggestion. Make a hybrid of the images, keep some of the mystery and develop a middle ground, or go back to basics and think about mood, mystery and magic that stems from the darkness. Think harder about the shot before auto bracketing and generating that sterile HDR!
What do you think?