Photography HDR to solve problem scenes – city streets…

City Ferns, Charleston, SC by Bob Grytten
City Ferns, Charleston, SC by Bob Grytten

Photography HDR to solve problem scenes – city streets… On a recent photo shoot on the Streets of Charleston, SC we came across some ferns that needed to be in a scene. But, the bright sunlight in the 100° temperature made it difficult.

Shoot the scene and the ferns were too dark and contrasty. Shoot the ferns and the street scene is over exposed.

Solution: Make three images; one properly exposed, one a stop over exposed, and one a stop under exposed. Back at the studio put them all together in Photomatix or your favorite HDR program.

The result is above… It was made hand holding the camera and while the Image Stabilizer helped, although, I think this is still publishable – my gauge for a successful image – had I had a tripod the results would have been better.

Alley and Garden Gate, Charleston, SC by Bob Grytten
Alley and Garden Gate, Charleston, SC by Bob Grytten

On this image, an interesting area off Church Street, the alley led to a Gated private garden. However, it was so dark inside the alley way, the trick is to brighten up the area and keep the garden looking natural, even though it’s still a small area of the scene.

I chose to make a three image HDR, like the one above. Then I carried the completed tonemapped HDR back to my post production program Capture NX2 and finished with a little color boost and sharpening, as this was also hand held.

About Copyright Notices…

Incidentally, I do recommend putting your copyright notice on published images, as  some people still try to rip off your work for their own use. Unfortunately, many people do not understand this is a violation of copyright law and punishable by the courts.

I also place my metadata on each image I publish. There are programs that can track your images, also. I also make a small image – 100DPI JPEG for my blogs so, that restricts what the image can be used for. This is standard practice for most professional photographers. I’m not trying to be difficult, just fair, as a lot of time and expense goes into our work, besides the thousands of dollars for photo and computer equipment. We should always get permission from the copyright holder prior to using their work. Often, if it is a casual use, most pros will give permission. All work in our blogs is approved.

For more information contact me at or sign up for one of our in depth classes or our free newsletter. Membership in Lens Lugger World now includes a one hour private tutoring session, 30% off workshops, publishing rights in our publications and free hotline and critiques. Go to for application.

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