I’ve been messing around with Qtpfsgui, a High Dynamic Range (HDR) photo tool for Linux, Mac, and Windows. There are number of processes that on­e can invoke to increase the dynamic range of photos from RAW captures or multiple tripod exposures, but first, an example.

This was taken at dusk at a hotel pool in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.  Very scary sky.

The basic concept is that your camera can’t really capture a bright sky with a dark landscape.  Set the exposure for your land, and the sky is washed out.  Lower your exposure for the sky, and the land comes out too dark.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could combine the two and fudge the photo to look more like your eye sees it?  The best way is with a tripod and multiple exposures with different settings, but I’m lazy and I want results NOW.

If you’re shooting RAW in your digital camera, you can capture a little bit more dynamic range than what you see when you export it to a jpg.  Try using an HDR tool to pull out a little more dynamic range or, in my case, heavily process it to give you that funky black velvet painting effect.  Meh, whatever floats your boat.  A lot of people seem to like these images.  ‘Course people seem to loathe them too.

The original photo looks like this:

It’s a nice photo, but the first one is quite dramatic, no?

Here’s another dramatic shot of the Mississippi and Missouri River confluence, shot on a cold day in December from the Missouri side.