Stories Behind the HDR Photo

April 12

9 min. to read

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Each photograph has its own story. Especially when we talk about those from the Pros. Read more.

You may have the camera, go out and take the same shots as the pros. But is that enough to truly produce stunning photographs? To get to the bottom of this, we asked Pro users of Aurora HDR to write a few words about the stories behind their most iconic scenes. Scroll down to get inspired!

Bill Camarota

I set out to shoot my favorite beach on the Gulf coast of Florida. The sky was starting to get turbulent and a storm was brewing. My aim was to shoot a long exposure. I always shoot in manual mode. I shot about 10 images at the same settings as I was thinking of combining them so that the water would take on a very layered misty look. When I returned home I was happy with five of the images. 

So I loaded them up as separate layers in Photoshop and changed the blend modes and opacity of each layer. The water was coming out as I had imaged it in my mind's eye. Lastly, I flattened the image in Photoshop and exported the 5-image composite to Aurora.

Aurora gave me robust features to enhance my image. I especially took advantage of the top and bottom tonality tool, color grading and HDR DeNoise. Aurora afforded me great detail control over my image and since this was a single image when it got imported to Aurora, noise reduction was going to be a key concern. Skylum's denoising algorithms are superb in removing chromatic noise while retaining an image's details.

My EXIF settings: Nikon D7100, 10-24mm at 10mm, five 10 second exposures, f/5.6, ISO 100. Process chain: Lightroom, Photoshop, AuroraHDR Pro

Website: http://www.billcamarota.com/

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Sarah Caldwell

On my recent cruise trip to the Western Peninsula of Antarctica, we were eagerly awaiting our arrival at Plenneau Bay . Described with the nickname "The Iceberg Graveyard", anticipation was building and yet I really had no idea what to expect .

We had been told that a current deposits the calved icebergs into the bay, where they become grounded and slowly melt. We left our 68 passenger ice-strengthened cruise ship in zodiacs in the afternoon, and excitedly headed off exploring and photographing for three hours. It was a sculpture garden unlike anywhere else and completely surreal. We were blessed with magic light, soft and grey with a touch of warmth at times, and even better, a glass surface for perfect reflections.

I was in heaven and at every turn was another shape that miraculously turned into something else as we quietly motored around them. I saw fish, boats, rocket ships and spaceships, teeth and elegant curves. A fantasy land if ever there was one and a place for reflection and awe!

Tech details: Sony A7rii - Sony Zeiss 16-35mm at 35mm; ISO 100 f/11 - 1/90 sec; Lightroom and Aurora HDR Pro 

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/sarahcaldwellphotos

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Scott Evers

I love to travel and work hard at finding scenes that I like, and that I think would make a pleasing image that someone may want to buy for artwork. I was on Captiva Island Florida with the goal of capturing a beautiful sunset into the Gulf of Mexico from the beach. The goal is to find a strong foreground element to fill in the part of the frame and give a good sense of scale to the scene. Often I am shooting a very wide angle on a full frame sensor. And without that foreground element, the photo does not look good. I was walking the beach looking for something to use when I spotted the 7 colored beach chairs sitting on the little deck. 

I knew right away this would be a great photo if I could make it work. I was able to get on a small dune behind the chairs to get above them. I backed out to 16mm and got as close as I could to them to fill the frame with them across the bottom and then shot a series of seven bracketed shots. The RAW files were brought into Aurora and most of the processing was done there. A couple minor tweaks in Photoshop and I knew I had something special. I have printed this on metal and the colors just pop. I have already sold this on metal prints several times.

Website: http://www.scotteversphotography.net/

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Jackie Evans

This photo was taken on the first morning of Trey Ratcliff’s 2015 New Zealand Photo Adventure, Queenstown in April.

The sunrise was quite overcast with a strange bluish light, as we walked along the shoreline of the Lake Wakatipu I got several good shots of the view looking towards Queenstown Gardens with The Remarkables mountain range in the distance. I then saw the boat heading out from the quay and crossing in front of us heading towards Walter Peak, it was just before 8.00am.

For me, the beautiful autumn colours of the trees help to give this photo more interest. I travelled from my home in Shropshire England to attend Trey’s Workshop and had a holiday of a lifetime in New Zealand.

Sony a6000 / E 16-50 mm / f9 / 20mm / Tripod / 3 brackets images -1, +1, +3 / Processed in Aurora HDR and Lightroom.

Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/126143712@N02/

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Matthew McCarty

The weather did not look good so I almost didn't go out to Mono Lake but at the last second decided to go for it. I literally had to run down the trail with my gear to get to the lake before the sun set and was blown away with how beautiful it was. Sometimes you just have to go for it and see for yourself because you never know what you'll find.

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/matthew.m.mccarty

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