HDR or Not HDR … Oyster Racks in Arcachon

You’ve probably noticed by now, that I like HDR photography … that is, as long as it’s not done to death. These things require nuance and savoir-faire to use a French expression. The following shots are taken from the seashore at Arcachon (a famous Oyster spot) and show some decayed oyster racks and very impressive skies. The two renditions are taken from the same shot. These pictures are – apart from post-processing – entirely identical. Now is the time for you to tell us which of those 2 pictures you prefer: HDR or non HDR?

HDR or Not HDR … Oyster Racks in Arcachon


Picture 1 is a non HDR shot; it was made of a single shot and processed with a simple colourfade filter with a bit of blue post-processing too. Yet, it’s a simple shot. I have also added vignetting here for extra atmosphere.


Picture 2 is a proper HDR shot developed with the help of Photomatix, a very nifty piece of software created by some computer wizkids from all over the world, but mostly UK, US, Canada and Poland. It is made of 3 different shots taken in a split second with different exposures at the exact same location. The pictures were assembled with a special HDR filter, called the antimuseum Natural HDR filter and that’s my secret sauce so you won’t get that; after all, there’s no such thing as a free filter.

And now, the vote! HDR or Not HDR?

Yann Gourvennec
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    • Thanks Graham, this is indeed one of the great benefits of that technique, i.e. enabling 3 (or even 6) grades of exposition on the same shot, hence making it possible for foregrounds to be made visible even though they were originally in darkness. However, I must admit that I was very pleased with Picture no.1 and thus decided to put this question to the vote. At the moment, it’s a draw. Suspense!

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