this is AWESOME!!! HOW did you do this!!! you can send me a note if you want it private, but really, this is a wow!!! i would love to have a copy of this to hang on my wall, i'm serious!! well done, WELL DONE!!! what a mood and moment you captured!
Nope, no secrets to my technique. It's called HDR, for High-Dynamic-Range. What you do is, ideally, with a tripod, take three separate exposures of the same image, one normal, one over-exposed, and one under-exposed. You then blend them all together, so the areas that would normally be too bright (like the clouds) are dark enough, the dark areas (like the foreground) are light enough, and everything that was okay, stays okay. If you don't have a tripod or are catching a moving object (like the flames) you can take a single image and split it into three exposures via any basic image-editing program, but the quality isn't generally as high this way (you can see it's a little on the grainy side). You can re-merge them via photoshop, or you can use special software that makes it easier (I use photomatix). HDR can give really, well, dynamic colors and contrast, but a lot of people tend to rely on it, and while over-HRD-ed photos can look very "artsy," they can also look very unnatural and artificial, such as here [link]
THANKS! i thought it might be hdr, but wasn't sure as your piece wasn't overdone like so many others are - you're right, too many people rely much to heavily on it, but you struck just the perfect balance here. i am definitely going to try this technique out on the weekend as the paralympics are here friday and the cauldron will be lit again. i actually think it will be better to try the hdr if it's a cloudy day. but thanks for all that info, it was really helpful! donna
One professional photographer I spoke to gave me the following excellent advice: "If you can tell it's HDR, it's not good HDR." I've been guilty of perhaps overdoing it on more than one occasion, but to the best of my ability I try to keep it subtle.