This morning, laying aside all of the other things I should have been doing, I perused the news feed on my Facebook photography page and noticed an image posted by another photographer of a night shot processed using HDR techniques.
Hmm, I thought to myself, this might be an interesting test of my own star shots I captured while in Maine this past October (2013).
Normally, an HDR image is composed of 3 or more bracketed images (with different exposure settings). Now, while I did get multiple images of the same comps using different settings, I chose instead to simply create two duplicate images in Photoshop of the original processed image, change the exposures in those duplicates by +2 and –2, then process all three images together using Photomatix.
Below are the results. I’ve posted both the HDR-processed images as well as the original processed image, and you can see whether or not there is any difference.
A Sea of Stars – Original
A Sea of Stars – HDR
Pointing the Way to the Milky Way – Original
Pointing the Way to the Milky Way – HDR
The Road to the Stars – Original
The Road to the Stars – HDR
Headlight Star Shot – Original
Headlight Star Shot – HDR
After processing the images through Photomatix, I went back and added some curves adjustments as well as contrast, brightness, and exposure adjustments. While I think the HDR technique added some light/shadow nuances to the images, I am not certain I couldn’t have pulled similar results from just regular processing.
I am still on the fence regarding HDR in general, but I do believe the images above were improved using this technique.