HDR On The BRP

I had planned on riding up to Craggy Gardens one last time before the Parkway was completely closed at Tanbark Ridge Tunnel, not just to motor vehicles but to bikes and hikers as well. Unfortunately, I missed my chance by just a few hours. As an alternate plan, I headed up through Biltmore Forest and did then rode the Hendersonville Rd. to Folk Art Center section and then headed up as far as the tunnel to check out just how “closed” the closure was.

It was pretty freakin’ closed.

It rained for the first half hour or so riding up towards the Parkway but then the clouds parted and I got a mix of sun and clouds. Along the way I stopped for some photographs, which is pretty typical, but this time I made sure to use some auto-bracketing in order to do some experimenting with HDR processing when I got home.

High-dynamic-range imaging is a set of methods used in imaging and photography to capture a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging methods or photographic methods.

I don’t have an HDR camera, or a pseudo HDR mode like some newer cameras offer. What I found was a program called Photomatix, which takes a series of bracketed (over and underexposed images that bring out detail in different areas of a high contrast composition)  and combines them together to create HDR images. There is a lot of artistic leeway in HDR processing. Images can be produced that look more “natural” or “real”, since the human eye can sense a far greater range of light to dark than cameras can. Or they can be pushed to much greater artistic levels, looking more like photo-realistic paintings, line drawings, etc.

Maybe I should quit trying to explain it and get on with showing some of what I came up with…