Today I’m going to stray away from Aperture a bit and discuss a post processing technique that, while it can involve Aperture for part of the processing, it uses other software for the majority of the post processing.
The process/technique is known as High Dynamic Range processing or simply HDR. HDR and Tone Mapping is a process which two or more differently exposed images (normally one properly exposed, one underexposed by one stop, and one overexposed by one stop) to produce a single image with much higher dynamic color range. Why would we do this? Well, a digital camera sensor is capable of capturing about 3-5 stops of color dynamic range where the human eye is capable of seeing about 11 stops of color dynamic range. What this means is that you see a beautiful scene and then photograph it and then get home and review your images and you are disappointed that your images are just not the way you remember seeing the scene. There is nothing technically wrong with your images, they just are not what you remember seeing when you were there.
There is a lot of information on the web about HDR, tutorials, etc so I will not get too deep into the mechanics of how it all works. What I’m aiming to do here is to make you aware of this process and you can go out and do some research yourself if it interests you. One thing I would like to mention is that in my opinion HDR processing should be used to enhance good pictures and it should be used sparingly … sort of like the same analogy I’ve heard used to describe post-processing with Photoshop “use it like an emery board, not a sledge hammer”. In my opinion a lot of people use HDR to push images way too far and they end up with something that looks like a cartoon …. but that’s just my opinion, all that really matters is if the finished product looks good to you.
Here are some good HDR resources:
Until next time,
Allen Rockwell Photography