Tag Archives: Exposures

HDR – How Many Exposures are Enough?

cHow many exposures are enough?

When it comes to shooting HDRs, one of the biggest questions asked is, how many exposures should I take and how far apart should they be spaced. Everyone has their opinions and I’ve seen people go everywhere from 19 exposures down to…well 1. With spacing all over the place from the uber-anal 1/3 stop to people just spacing them randomly.

I’ve explored this before in blog posts of the past but I thought I would take a look at it again in a slightly different way and I thought I would take some images from this past weekends shoot at the surreal Salton Sea and put them to  as scientific a test as I could.

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Measuring & Exposing for Dynamic Range

Reader, friend and fellow photographer Todd B asked me to go into more detail on how I measure the dynamic range of a scene and then decide how I will shoot the exposures for that scene. 

What I do is quite simple. I set my camera to Aperture Priority mode and the aperture and ISO I will be shooting with. I then set my metering mode to spot. I use aperture priority for this instead of Manual because I am just looking for numbers (shutter speeds) right now. I may, and probably will, end up shooting in a different mode, most likely manual. 

I then seek out the brightest and darkest areas of my scene. If the sun is in the shot, don’t measure it for many reasons. First off it’s not good for your eyes or your camera and secondly because of its brightness you will end up with exposures that in reality have very little use. If the sun is just at the horizon line you may be OK, but anything above that you are asking for trouble. But in most circumstances if the sun is in my image I will meter slightly to the side or above it. 

Also make note of one phenomenon, just as the sun hit the horizon it is not always the brightest region of the image and the clear sky above or a reflection off a cloud may actually register higher  Continue reading »