Photographing Contrasts on the Sussex Downland
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Summer on the lush Sussex Downland around Midhurst, England brings with it the chance of capturing some striking contrasts. Dotted around the hedgerows are these old dead oaks, stripped of foliage and bleached by the weather. They stand grey and stark against the full green blackberry bushes, nettles and grasses. Towards the end of the summer the bright blue skies contrast beautifully against the yellowing corn fields and bubbling cloud formations.
Striking contrasts — Why I sometimes like to use HDR techniques in my photographyIn it's simplest form, High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography is a technique that uses software to mix and match multiple exposures of the same view by enabling the photographer to emphasize and de-emphasize the color of individual pixels. Some photographers have very strong negative feelings about the use of HDR as it can be used to make gaudy and over dramatic imagery, but they miss the point. Photography has and always will be a creative art. Just as in oil painting there are those that choose to paint as realistically as possible just as there are those that feel a photograph should be raw and unprocessed. But there are also artists who push the boundaries. They create highly communicative imagery by being less pure and adding more ambiance to their pieces. HDR is just a way of doing that through photography.
Another way to look at HDR is that as we look at the world our eyes are constantly adjusting to the light and constantly re-focusing on different objects. We do not see the world in a single exposure shot. In traditional photography you take a single shot at a single exposure. If the photographer is really good she can create depth in the image using visual tools and shadows but it is still a relatively flat piece. HDR allows the artist to bring out different areas of light in different ways, mimicking the way the eve adapts to different focus points and brightness'. This is why HDR photography gives a more emotional feel to the viewer and a heightened sense of color and light. For me, I see HDR techniques as just part of toolbox. It works really well for landscapes but not so well for portraits or moving imagery Like all art, you should judge each piece on its own merits, not by the techniques used to create it.