October 6, 2011
Armed with a fisheye and a tripod, hunting for light that can not be seen.
Munich is a beautiful city full of great buildungs and places with an enormous mass of detail.
Using a fisheye for architecture photography is great. Allthough the lense somehow disorts the image, it allowed me to capture the whole place at once.
High dynamic range imaging (HDRI or HDR) is a set of methods, which allow photographers to capture a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image and therefor is perfect for taking photos of places with complex lighting.
The first image shows the interior of a church in Munich. The lighting inside this huge building was very complex. It was a mix of dim natural light shining through the windows and the artificial light of electric lights and candles.
I stood in the back of the church and placed the camera on the tripod. This is important, because if you want to take a HDR photo you have to take a least 3 images of the exact same thing. One with avarage exposure, one that is too bright (long exposure) and one that is too dark (short exposure).
The bright image captures the details in the dark areas, which are black in the avarage one, and the dark image captures details in areas,which are overexposed in the avarage image.
After taking the photos I checked the exposure of each photo to ensure that I really got as much detail as possible.
Walk all day
I wasn’t alone in Munich that time. My girlfriend came with me to discover the city with our cameras. Most of the time we were just walking arround without much of a plan where to go. It was very exhaausting walking for hours and carrying the camera equipment, but it was worth it.
Back home I transfered all the photos to my PC and started to make tonemapped HDR photos. I used a tool called QTPFSGUI, which is open source, available for windows, linux and Mac and works pretty well with RAW Images. All of the photos in this post where created using this tool.
The funny thing about taking HDR photos is that until you see the final result produced by the Software, you do not really know how it will look, so you better be careful while taking photos for this purpose.