High Dynamic Range Photography
Back in the film days, photographers had to use their best guess as to the exposure of a scene. They’d look at the scene and say, “I think this scene is 1/60 of a second at f/5.6. Man, I hope I’m right.” Not having the luxury of a display on the back of their camera, they often had to wait a few days to see if their guess was right. Because of this limitation, photographers finally said, “Forget this! I’m going to take an image at the exposure that I think it is, and then I’m going to take the same shot 1-stop underexposed, and then take it gain 1-stop overexposed.” By taking these three shots of the scene, they’d ensure that at least one of these frames would be right. Sure, this meant that they needed to develop three negatives to see which was right, but it sure beat missing a moment or having to travel back to the location and set up the image again.
This process is known as bracketing, and most DSLR cameras can now do it automatically for you. What I think is cool about this is that it’s just an extension of the early days of bracketing. Instead of developing those three images to see which one is the best, you can use software to merge all three of them together. The software then lets you control how those files blend with one another, I use Photomax Pro by ArcSoft as it provides the best editing capabilities.