As one year ends and another begins, we often think about learning new skills or revisiting and improving on existing skills. HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography is a fascinating area to explore. When the software first started to give us a way to extend the dynamic range in our images we saw HDR everywhere. Most of it was surreal and, honestly, not very good. But that's often the case as new techniques are discovered and played with.
However, HDR has come a long way since the early days. Folks like Trey Ratcliff have shown us that HDR can be artistic, realistic, and, at times still surreal. I still enjoy trying new ways to create HDR images. If you are new to HDR or want to brush up on your HDR skills let me recommend the HDR Photography Workshop from SLR Lounge. This is a comprehensive course with over 10 hours of video and source files so you can follow along with the examples and techniques shown in the course. The good folks at SLR Lounge were kind enough to send me a review copy.
The instructor, Pye Jirsa (a.k.a. Post Production Pye), presents the material in an entertaining way. This makes the course enjoyable as well as informative. There are ten separate Chapters in the course.
- Chapter 1 – Introduction to HDR
- Chapter 2 – HDR Camera Settings
- Chapter 3 – HDR Considerations
- Chapter 4 – Salton Sea
- Chapter 5 – Page, Arizona
- Chapter 6 – Moab
- Chapter 7 – Salt Lake City
- Chapter 8 – Salt Lake Mountains
- Chapter 9 – Bryce and Zion
- Chapter 10 – Las Vegas and Los Angeles
The first three chapters are filled with introductory material and foundational concepts. If you are a beginner at HDR you will get a lot from these chapters. More experienced HDR photographers may want to skim over this to brush up. The remaining chapters are where the fun really begins.
Instead of just presenting images and working through the process, you are taken on a tour of the southwestern U.S. with on location video and image capture pointers. Then you get to see the results of the shoot and work through the images. The source files are included so you can try these techniques out.
I was glad to see that Pye used Lightroom and Photomatix throughout the course. Even though he uses the previous versions of Lightroom and Photomatix, all of the techniques work with the current versions. Pye also points out that there are many other tools you can use for HDR processing so even if you don't use Lightroom and Photomatix you should have no problem.
Here's a brief video with Pye describing the workshop.
I think this is a great way to spend your time learning HDR. The course comes as a download, on DVD, or as a combination package. The combination and DVD versions include a bonus chapter.
If you decide to buy this course (or anything else SLR Lounge has to offer) use the code LRSECRETS on checkout for a 10% discount! And, as always, the same code (LRSECRETS) will get you 15% off Photomatix.