The three images that were merged with Photomatix Pro and Photoshop CS5 to make the final HDR image.

Singpore is a fascinating place. The government, the people, the food all combine to make a wonderfully unique experience. In tinkering with the images I captured there, I was playing with some new software and found myself intrigued with this photo set of the gate at Fort Canning. The original group of exposures were way too bright in the highlights and way too dark in the shadows, so I decided to put some of my newfound HDR  processing knowledge to use. High Dynamic Range is essentially a way to process a set of images so that the amount of data and consequently detail between the deepest shadows and brightest highlights is extended beyond the capability of the camera’s sensor.

As an aside, I participated in an HDR workshop in April with Trey Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs (link in the blogroll to the right) and learned an enormous amount about the art of HDR and making a final product that looks natural. Trey is fantastic and one of the more personable photographers I have had the pleasure of learning from.

This scene is one that is very easily resolved by the human eye. The brain automatically compensates for the extreme brightness variations in the highlights and the shadows by causing your eye to dart around and essentially changing the aperture (your iris) to change the amount of light let in. While the eye darts around and makes these changes, the brain stitches these images together to give you an impression of the scene before you that covers much, much more exposure latitude than any camera sensor can capture. As a result, using multiple exposures merged into a single image is the best way to achieve an effect similar to what your brain actually sees. So that’s the overly complicated reasoning behind using HDR processing on this particular image.

I am very pleased over all with the final resulting image and really feel that it’s as close as I can get to the sense of detail and depth that I experienced at the gate itself. This is one of my very favorite images from my Singapore adventure, and you can see many more at my Zenfolio site (link in the gallery section at right). Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments on this page if I’ve glossed things over a bit too much. So here’s the end result:

A cut stone gate at Fort Canning in Singapore. Processed with Photomatix Pro and selectively edited in Photoshop CS5 to maintain highlight detail and that in the shadows. Intended as a reflection of what the location looked like to the naked eye.