Playing with HDR Efex Pro

Chronologically it's time to move on to New Mexico, but I've been busy playing around with HD EFX Pro all day to see whether I want to buy this plug-in for Photoshop or not.

One of my concerns with using any HDR program is that the photographs produced often seem overly dramatic to me. For instance, here's a shot from the Garden of the Gods that I've processed with one of the plainer presets from HDR Efex Pro.

HDR enhanced photo

I admit I'm actually rather ambivalent about it. In some ways it does seem to capture the feelings I had while there, particularly the first time I was there. On the other hand, when I sit at my computer and look at it looks too dramatic to be "real."

Some people imagine that a photograph captures reality, but those who have studied photography for any length of time realize that different kinds of films produce quite different photographs. It was a matter of choosing what style you wanted.

Photographers today are faced with an infinite number of choices. My Canon camera gives me five or six different standard settings to decide what kind of results I want. I happen to prefer to use the plainest setting possible and then use Photoshop to adjust the photo while at my computer. Photoshop, particularly with all the plugins available today, can make your original shot nearly impossible to recognize.

One thought on “Playing with HDR Efex Pro

  1. One thing the human eye/brain is good at and a camera is not is the interplay between light and shadow and merging the two. The photographer by selecting a combination of ISO/aperture/shutter speed always has to compromise there. To me the value of HDR is to achieve in a photo what the eye/mind does naturally. I see so many photographers on G+ that take HDR to the extreme and go for the “wow” shot and that’s OK as long as they are not trying to pass it off as what they actually saw – it is after all and interpretive art form.

What do you think?