Shooting Challenge: 12 Intense HDR Shots

HDR photography can make for some stunning shots. But how do you highlight the best exposure for different parts of a photo? Here's how 12 Giz readers did it.

Ben Smeath

This shot was taken with the default camera app on my iPhone 4, in HDR mode. It was taken at sunset in Scarborough Marina, Scarborough, QLD. I have always enjoyed taking shots of boats, simply because even if they are old or new, they look great in a picture.

Charles Barnard

This was taken last night [April 1]when I was on the way to try out a new (to me) lens I had purchased off E-Bay and was actually looking for some Kite Surfers when my wife glanced back and saw “The Leeuwin” anchored off Scarborough Beach in WA. I immediately abandoned the search for the Kite Surfers, as this was a relatively rare occurrence and decided to try and capture The Leeuwin with the sun setting behind it and remembered the Gizmodo challenge – so here is my effort. The long exposure times have resulted in the ship not being absolutely sharp as it bobbed slightly on the waves, but has brought out some movement in the gentle breakers.

Camera: Canon 500D using Aperture Priority mode and the exposure bracketing function on the camera. Lens: Sigma 150-500 Zoom, The focal length for this shot was 150mm ISO 200 Aperture F5.6 1st Exposure: 2 Sec 2nd Exposure: ½ Sec 3rd Exposure: 8 Sec HDR Software; Photomatix using an “enhanced painterly” preset and then tweeking the image for my taste

Evan Whiteside

Taken with Sony a33 with stock 18-70mm Lens from the alpha 200. (thus not the crispiest shot)

f-Stop - 5.6 ISO - 100 Shutter Speed - 1/25

Story: Woke up this morning at 7:20am [April 1]bathed in orange light from this lovely sunrise. I'm not a morning person but luckily i was playing around with my camera last night, so I just picked it up, stumbled into the balcony and took a couple of snaps firstly with bracketed exposures and the with the d-range feature turned on. Saving as RAW. Opened the clearest one up in photoshop and tweaked it to get the balance between highlights and shadows without overly flattening the image.

Gino Rodrigo

The shot was taken using my Canon EOS 550D, with a 17-85mm lens, f/4 at 100 ISO. The shots were bracketed at -2,0,2.

The storm clouds came from nowhere and pretty much hovered over North Sydney, brewing just over the office. I thought it'd be nice to take the camera out and capture this. I have a tendency to do HDR in black and white on occasion, just because I feel like it - it makes the picture look less like a recent HDR shot and more like a modern-y Ansel Adams photograph.

This shot was taken without a tripod; I simply scurried out onto the balcony, leaned forward (while keeping the camera close to me for stability), set the bracketed exposure mode on, and snapped away. I'm really happy with how it turned out. HDR has this way of making the clouds look far more foreboding than they should.

Daina Peet

I took this photo with an Apple iPhone 4. It didn’t use any flash, and the focal length was 4mm.

John Yoo

The attached Pic was taken using the Pro HDR app on the iPhone. I was waiting in line for a ride at Universal Studio's Harry Potter Magical World of Wizardry when I came upon this view

Matthew Post

unrise at Point Cartwright on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. After a 4am start to get to the Coast by sunrise, I began fireing off a few shots, only to find out later I was shooting at ISO1600. Thanks to the incoming tide I was unable to re-capture some of my shots. This being one of my favourites after switching to ISO100. It is certainly not a mind-blowing ethereal type HDR photo, but HDR all the same.

The image is a composite of 2 exposures and tonemapped using slight adjustment to the Photomatix 'Compressor Deep' default setting.

Photo was taken with a Canon 350d w/ Sigma 10-20.

Link to the photo on Flickr.

Sam Tran

Date Taken:01/04/2011 Camera Model: Iphone 4 HDR Using Iphone 4

I took this photo while waiting for the Friday train at Central Station.

Rob Hall

Description - Still Has Shine (rusty, wet old car sitting under a tree in someones front in Yellingbo. Equipment - Canon 500D, No name tripod (Christmas present) Technique - Bracketing 1 fstop. Shot over the fence (owner wasn't home). No flash. Program - Mediachance Dynamic HDR (for HDRness), Photoshop (to remove the neighbors house in the background.)

Marcus Cher

Iconic Melbourne Cafe Pellegrini's taken at night with several extended shutter shots. It give it a vintage look and feel. I like the illumination of the neon signs contrasted with the interior of the shop which could only be achieved through HDR blending.

Canon 7D ISO 100 f22 Shutter 0.5, 4, 30 seconds

Julian Vido

This is a HDR photo taken with a Canon 7D at 10, 20 & 30 second exposures. It was compiled in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

The shot was taken yesterday evening [April 3]in Melbourne. I was wandering the street with my mate havving a rather facetious discussion about whether Melbourne taxis were 'iconic'. I saw these taxis lined up on Swanston street, waiting for customers and it occurred to me that they would make for an interesting photo. As I was taking the photo, the driver from the front cab got out to grab something to eat from 7/11. We got chatting to him and found out his name was John. He was interested in how we were taking the photo and I think he was quite chuffed that someone was taking the time to use his taxi as the subject of a photograph. It would be great if, through the machinations of the internet, this photo managed to find its way to him.

It is often a thankless job being a taxi driver, particularly in light of the frequent criticism they receive in the media. Yet taxis are a particular treasure to Melbourne, we are fortunate to have such a multicultural mix of drivers who bring their stories to us from across the globe and contribute to the flow of life in the city. For this reason, I like how this photo captures a certain brilliance in the lights and metallic yellow paintwork of the taxis; all of which shine bright in contrast to the dark wintery night. There is also a nice element of depth created by the line of the taxis, the footpath and the orange light of the passing tram.

Matthew Pearson

This photo was shot on a beach just north of Wollongong at about 8am. I saw the light rays, drift wood, ripples in the sand and thought they'd make a good shot (you can tell me otherwise). I used the trial version of Photomatix as this is still early days for me and HDR.

Settings: 3 exposures (-2, 0, +2) F/8, 24mm canon 450D on a tripod. Processing: Photomatix trial-version (hence watermarked)