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When shooting under extreme lighting conditions of light to dark tones, even our smart phone cameras know about the need for High Dynamic Range techniques (HDR). I decided on this hike into Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park to actually carry along a tripod and my Canon 5D Mark III. I used the Sigma 24mm f1.4 “Art” lens.

I was planning to bracket roughly 5-7  exposures for each photo, usually -3 stops through +3. Then I would use Photomatix Pro software to take the best rendition of values out of all those exposes and melt them into one that would ideally have the best of highlights and the best of shadows with everything else in between.

I would like to think that a single exposure would not have captured the range of detail seen here.

_Canyon  not HDR.jpg

Not HDR, as camera with single exposure and post processing render the scene. It’s OK…ish.

Canoeing in SA Canyon.jpg

Here’s the HDR. It has that “look” that many people find objectionable, sort of the comic book feel. Still there’s a feeling of seeing more detail and greater richness and vibrance.

_End of Trail not HDR.jpg

Not HDR.

_Santa Elena Canyon.jpg

Yes, HDR.

_Boulder not HDR.jpg

Not HDR.


Yes, HDR.

Here in last shot I’m posting you can see how every nook and cranny gets opened up for a CLEARER view in HDR. I’m sure that with more post HDR conversion processing the images could have that less that Marvelous look to them (for you younger readers that’s as in Marvel Comic Books. Sorry.)

You be the judge and let me know!