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HDR as a Tool

Lesson 8 from: Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

George Lepp

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Lesson Info

8. HDR as a Tool

High dynamic range (HDR) allows you to take multiple exposures at once and achieve natural looking contrast control within your final image. George offers a variety of HDR photography tips.

Lesson Info

HDR as a Tool

Hi dynamic range. We want natural looking contrast control and also to turn maybe change the color is a little bit in some of the images we can I actually take a raw image and we could do single image hdr if it's a raw image, we can actually do quite a bit of opening up of shadows using this particular software and you could do the graphic effects. You know, a lot of people are kind of passe now to do the grunge effect and that kind of stuff. I don't know how many how many of you are still doing that kind of a thing, but it's kind of frowned upon when I judge a competition or something like that. Grunge does not sell well, teo judges at this point in time, but this is where it becomes a tool. I'm in botswana. I have the elephants have come out into this meadow. I had these incredible thunderheads out here. The sun is still hitting the thunderheads there's no light coming down toward the elephants are and this picture looks like yeah, okay, you took that picture. But that picture wasn't...

really there for me to take in the sense that if I if I exposed for the for the clouds, well, this one over here would be for the clouds and all that beauty there I had to be under exposed by one and a half stops by normal exposure. Trying to get both of them toe work was, you know, it's too dark here and it's a little too light there. Now, if I wanted to get the elephants I have exposed for the elephants. But by doing all three of these images with a one half stop difference now the elephants are moving. So what you do is you you set your auto exposure bracketing to be one and a half stops different, and you take you push down the button and you take three pictures that quick, you've just done an hdr. You could walk around handholding hd ours. Then wilmore is one of the people who did a lot of this and was telling me about this and one of the instructors he was on actually last week, and he would just walk up to something three pictures and you have an hdr and made for very beautiful, different colors and to improve the shadow details and things but there's the end result. So it takes a little extra work when you have a little bit more of a problem, but we're using hdr as a tool instead of in effect. That's not to say that an effective and a good idea. Well, let's, let's talk about a single image hdr from in it. Yeah, if you have a raw file, you can bring it into photo matics pro and you could treat it as if it was an h to be an hdr. You can actually do it in everything from c s five to c c twenty fifteen and if you go to image and then you on image here you go toe adjustments. You come all the way down to hdr toning when you click on that up will come this menu and you treat your single raw image as if it was an hdr it's as if you had three images or more and it'll open up, it'll open up the image considerably. This is yours first, this is your image that you started with. This is the image that you did a single hdr, it helped it opened up some areas, but if you did it properly in this case, I did four images. Now I've opened up the darker areas because the exposure on one of those exposures one of those four images was right for this and in here and in the sky, you still can't beat doing it right there are ways of of going getting around it and opening up the shadows and things because the software so much better the cameras were so much better but if you have it in the camera if you have the image with that detail in there it's always going to be a bitter and injuries old so this is ahh chevy nomad this is in northern patagonia chile and the's air the andes back behind here in a big lake that's in here and I'm in this little tiny town and I go on one of the back roads and here's this nomad and it's sitting there waiting for triple a it has a bio engine you can see that right away so I took the picture and you know that's kind of cool but then I thought well and this is where we started today if I if you know a way of improving upon this at the time that you take these pictures you can bring these back and you have the opportunity to do some more work on so I took a picture on the money I went plus one plus to and I would've minus one in a minus two I put them all together and you know it's kind of a grunge type of a picture but there's still a place for that kind of stuff it it that's what I felt when I saw that I thought it was pretty cool and now you can really see the engine and well the wheels or not going to well here, but the fact that a road had only come into this area, you know, within ten years of the time I was there that I don't know how they got the car there in the first place. There's a number of hdr programs out there there's a dhobi photo shop now light room does hdr. This latest version of light room does a beautiful job of hdr and even gives you some features that we didn't even have before. There's hdr effects pro by nick of I think amazon who purchased that was it google google purchase that one and hdr exposed by unified color is another good program is very much more natural. Our results and photo matics is the one that I used the most. It will give you either natural or go crazy. If you want to go crazy, we can do that, and if you're on a budget for twenty nine dollars or so, brackett ear by penn jia is in little very simple hdr program that you can download and it's very intuitive and it's very simple. It won't do all of the stuff these other ones will, but it's a good starting point, and if you've already got a photo shop, just do it in photo shop, play with it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

George Lepp - Syllabus.pdf
George Lepp - Gear List.pdf

Bonus Materials

George Lepp - Innovative Techniques For Outdoor Photography - Notes.pdf

Ratings and Reviews


I watched the entire class, and found it to be a very negative experience - in contrast to all of my other experiences with Creative Live, which had been very good. The problem with this class was the instructor. Mr. Lepp, rather than giving us practical, useful information, and techniques for approaching the subject of Outdoor Photography, instead used his time to show off his seemingly endless array of incredibly expensive and cutting edge gadgetry. For the first half hour or so, Mr. Lepp seemed pleasant and interesting, but it quickly became apparent that this class was NOT about anything relating to the art of outdoor photography. Instead, it was basically a seminar highlighting exotic equipment for the 1%. I have well over $25,000 of photographic equipment, but the arena in which Mr. Lepp plays begins somewhere around the $100,000 mark, and then requires a staggering ongoing budget for chartering helicopters, hiring guides, and constant upgrades to remain on the bleeding edge of gadgetry and accessories. From his gyroscopic mounts to his 40" printer, Mr. Lepp has it ALL and continues to spend, spend, spend. I admire his deep pockets, but I would have appreciated some real insight and technique and useful knowledge on actually getting great shots. (And I must say... Mr. Lepp's work... did not impress me to the degree that other teachers on CreativeLive have.) I believe those giving positive reviews here were more or less wowed by the sheer magnitude of his extensive, well-funded travels and his off-handed way of revealing the endless contraptions and combinations of gear he uses. The passion here is clearly about the gadgetry, and NOT about finding an original and creative voice in the arena of outdoor photography.

R. Hetrick

Amazing class! I particularly loved the macro and how to correctly take panoramic photos sections. George was not only a great teacher but he was super funny too. Would be happy to take any of his future classes.


George really prepared a lot of information for his class. It is true, he does have a lot of expensive equipment and we may not be able to do some of the things he does with a smaller budget, but it is good incentive for us to plan for the future. He seemed to share new information constantly and stay focused and I was able to take a lot of notes. He talked about many kinds of equipment as well as software and websites he uses. I am pretty impressed that he is so up to date with recent technology. He especially loves macro/micro and stacking hundreds of images for minute focus on really large enlargements (for example, over 600 photos for one butterfly wing). That can get boring if you are not interested in doing that. I can take those tips and apply them to landscape photography though. I think it is more helpful for someone already doing outdoor photography and looking for new inspiration or new techniques as opposed to someone new to photography in general.

Student Work