by Jim Austin MA, ACE, http://jimaustin.squarespace.com/
Emerging HDR photography demands new thinking: once again, new camera/computer technology changes how we can see. When the master Henri Cartier-Bresson held his Leica in the 1930’s, challenging the static way of photographing for the next 30 years, the photographic community of his day responded to his vision by deriding his camera as a toy.
There are many HDR software programs. They are tools of the craft. Many hours of practice with Photomatix, gives an advanced understanding of the methods of HDR. Understanding the tools of the craft is essential to the photographic artist.
Once techniques have become second nature, the clarity of the picture idea and the photographer’s intent emerges. Photographs are more than dynamic range, color and composition. The intent behind learning the tools is deeper than finding solutions to the problems of high contrast, washed out highlights, and blocked shadows.
Being a dedicated digital photographer is not about mastering HDR tools any more than samurai wisdom comes from having a sharp sword. As a surgeon would employ years of training to use a scalpel, mastering HDR tools can mean knowing when to cut and when to abstain.
HDR photography can be uncontrived, distinct, subtle, and still allow photographers to do what they do best: fully realize an image that resonates with viewers. Knowing the photographer’s character helps us get past shallow HDR criticism and move on to a deeper appreciation of HDR photography and its practice.