Seaport Village & Coronado Bridge | San Diego, CA
Just a few steps outside of Seaport Village takes you into areas controlled by the Port of San Diego where, as far as I can tell, there are no regulations on shooting with a tripod, or at least I was lucky enough not to be noticed. (See my last post about the Tripod Police in Seaport Village). From a pier just off of Seaport Village property I was able to capture this image, looking back toward the San Diego Pier Cafe and the Coronado Bridge.
While I really liked the photo I shared on Saturday and the story that goes along with it, I think this was my best photo of the day. I’ve been trying to catch a great photo of the Coronado Bridge for awhile but haven’t found the right angle. So far, out of my Coronado Bridge photos, this is my favorite!
A bit about how I captured this photograph
When I’m capturing an HDR I don’t rely on auto-bracketing (unless I’m shooting handheld). Instead I switch over to Manual mode, set my desired aperture, in this case f/16, and find the middle exposure by setting the appropriate shutter speed (i.e. when the light meter reads ‘0’).
Once I take that shot I adjust my shutter speed down a stop so my light meter reads ‘-1’, usually three clicks of the wheel, and take another shot. I continue stopping down until my histogram shows that I have no clipped highlights (i.e. the histogram doesn’t touch the right side of the graph).
I then spin the shutter speed wheel the opposite direction to ‘+1’ on the light meter, take the shot, and then continue to step up until my histogram shows that I have no clipped shadows (i.e. the histogram doesn’t touch the left side of the graph).
By following this procedure I make sure I have details in ALL areas of the scene. Sometimes it requires 3 frames, sometimes 9 or more! It all depends on how much contrast there is in the scene you are capturing. For the photo above I required 6 frames.
The most important step in capturing photos for HDR
Make sure you have data in both the shadow and highlight areas of your scene. If the data isn’t there (shadows are too dark, or highlights are blown out) the computer won’t know what to do with those areas and they’ll end up looking icky when you process them – lots of noise (grain), weird colors, halos, chromatic aberrations, etc.
Its imperative to learn how to read your histogram to ensure you have sufficient detail in all areas of the scene – make sure your darkest photo in the series doesn’t clip highlights (isn’t touching the right side of the histogram) and your brightest photo in the series doesn’t clip shadows (isn’t touching the left side of the histogram).
I hope you enjoyed a peek inside my creative (and technical) process. Learning the steps above helped me make huge strides with HDR photography, and I hope they are helpful to you, too!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a commission if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase. I only share products that I believe will be valuable to my readers. All opinions are my own.
Disclosure: One of the ways I support this website is by partnering with awesome companies, whose products I use and love. These partnerships allow me to earn a small commission when you make a purchase through one of my affiliate links, but there is no additional cost for you. Thank you for your support!
GET EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS WHEN A NEW ARTICLE IS PUBLISHED!