Shooting HDRs on Vacation while Travelling Light

I decided it was time to get caught up in the HDR photography frenzy. Honestly, it’s a lot of fun and you can get some really interesting images that you just simply can’t get with one shot. Rather than wasting a post trying to tell you how to create an HDR image, I thought I’d share some of my experience shooting images for an HDR and equipment you can use if you want to travel light.

You may need some new software in order to create an HDR image. My tools of choice are Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Photomatix. While yes, Photoshop does have an HDR function, the tone mapping function of Photomatix Pro can take your images further and it is worth every penny. If you want to learn more about how create an HDR images using Photomatix, head on over to HDR101. There you can also get a 15% discount on Photomatix. As for gear, I use a Nikon D70 and the 18-70mm kit lens for all of my shots. For the most part, a wide angle lens is ideal when shooting an HDR, but any lens will work fine. You will also need a tripod of some sort. When you’re traveling light, the Gorilla Pod is an excellent choice. I stuff my gear into a Lowepro Micro Trekker 100 back pack which holds my D70, 18-70mm, 50mm f/1.8, and SB-600 flash. The Gorilla Pod still fits in the bag, although the fit is a little snug. However, the bag is still small and not heavy.

I got to use the Gorilla Pod SLR Zoom on a recent trip to Maine and decided to try my hand at HDRs. Of the bunch, this one was my favorite:


You can see the rest of the images here. More often than not, many tutorials will tell you use the auto bracketing feature of your camera to generate the different exposures. However, this usually isn’t enough information to generate a rich HDR image. The image above was composed of 6 different exposures. Using the Gorilla Pod, I was able to secure my camera to the dock railing as like so:

camera_2.jpg camera_1.jpg

It was a bit nerve racking at first seeing how if the Gorilla Pod didn’t work, my D70 would be at the bottom of Casco Bay. Each image was shot at f/9 and I only changed the shutter speed for each exposure. The Gorilla Pod was remarkably sturdy and it was able to stay in place even after adjusting the exposure dial.

You can even use the Gorilla Pod as a standard mini-tripod. I set my camera on an old dock on the beach to get this image here:


As you can see, it can still work great even not secured to some type of object. So when you can’t take your Manfrotto Tripod with on your vacation, you still have at least one decent tripod option.


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