Today I attended an all day camera club lecture by professional commercial photographer Jeff Morgan. I don’t belong to a Camera Club but was invited to go along by friends.
The day was another revision of old ground but it was good to look at the work of a professional commercial photographer and hear him speak about may issues surrounding the practicalities of landscape photography and I came away with some useful tips and things to consider that I won’t mention here because it isn’t relevant to this module.
There was much work I admired though and in the mix of the work spoken about there was HDR.
HDR is a method for taking multiple exposures to then merge and render a ‘good’ exposure from otherwise difficult lighting situations.
It got me thinking about HDR. I have never dabbled with multiple exposures as I haven’t, up until fairly recently, had the software to achieve HDR work. I have learnt to work around difficult lighting in one frame through the best exposure I can achieve and some light dodge and burning in Lightroom that has often left an atmospheric image that is quite unique to me (well, within my peers) and more inspired by early film.
This is far from a criticism of Jeff Morgans work but a recognition in the realisation of my own personal preferences.
I don’t like HDR. The need for detail in every corner of a dark room at the expense of atmosphere is just not for me. This, to my mind, isn’t a natural solution to challenging situations. Sure it has it’s place and if a brief requires an outcome that can only be achieved by HDR then so be it and on that basis I guess it is a useful tool.
I have, however, seen some wonderful landscape images in the past that turned out to be HDR. I have come to the conclusion that there is HDR and …..HDR. I believe the unofficial terminology for HDR evident work is ‘overcooked’ and whilst it’s harsh terminology I am inclined to agree. HDR work that looks natural to the point an image could pass as a single frame is where it is at for me. I fully appreciate this is a mere personal opinion and an opinion that would cause heated debate on any forum. But …….
I love shadow and I’ll happily lose some detail in favour of atmosphere.
Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin. Taken last week.