A few weeks ago when I posted some HDR photos of Long Point State Park I mentioned that the photo was a merge of 5 shots. A friend of mine was confused by this so I thought I would offer a better explanation.
HDR stands for high dynamic range. In laymen’s terms your eye can see a lot more levels of light than your camera can. So when you’re shooting a scene that has areas of light and areas of darkness it’s difficult for the camera to show all of those various levels. This is where HDR comes in. By using a tripod to minimize camera movement you can take an overexposed picture of the darkest darks (+2.0 EV in photographer speak)
But now if we blend all three shots together and add some contrast:
There is still some darkness in the rocks that personally I am not happy with. If I chose I could now load this blended shot into PS Elements and use a layer mask to bring out more of the overexposed (top photo) rock formations.
Hopefully this is a better explanation of what an HDR shot is. I still have a lot to learn about this process but I find I am more and more often bringing my tripod along with me so I can create this sort of shot. So expect more of these in the future!!