I often like to go revisit my old photos. Often to see how I’ve evolved as a photographer, and occasionally to see if I can find pictures I have overlooked. This picture that I took in May 2011 of the bridge in Karasjok, I used a technique called HDR (High Dynamic Range), which in short means taking multiple exposures and blend them together. This is to show the details in both the highlight area and shadow area. The camera can not do this on they’re own, but they are getting better and better. For this I use a program called Photomatix.

The original processed version from 2011. 6 exposures blended with Photomatix

A side effect of this is that you often get very vivid colors. Something that can both look very nice, or quite awful. When I made this picture in 2011, based on 6 exposures, I thought it was great. Very dramatic. After much trial and error, and better understanding of how to use HDR,  I now feel that this is too over processed. Unnatural shadows and too much contrasts to name a few.

I reprocessed this picture today. Studied the details, and noticed right away that I did not need to use the HDR technique on this image. In other words, I do not need to use more than one of the exposures. This is the result of just processing the raw file in Lightroom:

2013 version with only one exposure. Processed in Lightroom only

HDR certainly has its advantages if you use it right. In this case I used the HDR technique almost exclusively only to use it, not that it was necessarily needed it. Learning by failing. Which version do you like best?