I use a program called Photomatix Pro for my HDR images.
If you have ever taken a photo and there is a part of the photo that is all white or completely dark and you wished you were able to see that part of the image, then HDR photography might be for you. HDR offers more than just high and low light data, it also allows you to make an image look somewhat like a cartoon or Sci Fi effect.
I like HDR for interior shots that have dark areas or windows with too much light entering. I have seen it used in very creative ways in a book I am reading called Practical HDR by David Nightingale.
HDR = (High Dynamic Range) A technique where several photographs are taken of the same scene at different exposures. The highlights from underexposed images and shadows from the overexposed frames are blended together to create a representation of what your eyes actually view. It makes a photograph more life like.
I generally take 5 images starting with -2 exposure and work up to +2 exposure with 1 stop increments. If the light is overpowering I might skip the +2 and start at -3. This way the hot spots are not missing any information in the image.
HDR Photography and Software
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