Explosive Color with HDR

As I promised, I’m putting up me second attempts at HDR. These photos landed a little bit on the garish side, but that’s what I like about shooting flowers – the bright colors and opportunities to develop texture and play with bokeh. To get the effect I wanted, I used a tone mapped HDR composite and then put an fused exposure HDR on top of it as a luminance layer. A brutal pass with the high pass filter and an adjustment to the overall opacity helps define the edges between colors without drawing too much attention to themselves.

I don’t think this is some of my best work, but I wanted to explore HDR as a way of getting explosive color without the standard, boring, cheesy HDR look. I feel like I got what I wanted out of this experiment, but I don’t think this look will be a regular part of my repertoire going forward. The compositions feel weird to me. I’m used to looking through a camera eye and seeing the world as “too bright, OK, and not bright enough” and using highlight and shadow to move the eye around. With HDR, I can get the entire tonal range into the final image, so I’m having to learn to pay attention to more structural details around shape and line.

As always, click to enlarge: