Graffiti Alley HDR photo meetup

Meetup.com is a great place to meet others with similar interests and share knowledge, network, and improve your own skills. I joined meetups for songwriting, photography, and social get togethers. For this specific meetup, the organizer started with a quick tutorial on how to capture HDR, or high dynamic range, photos. This was the first time I had heard of it, and have been using it regularly since.

Normally in photography, and more so in the digital era, photos have an exposure that tried to balance the lightest lights and the darkest darks. In high contrast scenes, you tend to lose details in the shadows or in the highlights.

To shoot an HDR photo, you need to bracket your photos. That is, take one underexposed, one overexposed, and one in the middle. You can also do it with two exposures. Then, using special software like Photomatix, you can blend the multiple images to taste, and capture details in both shadows and highlights. It’s critical to use a tripod so your shots end up lining up perfectly. When I don’t have my tripod on me, I tend to hold my breath and shoot in high-speed mode, which gets the shots pretty darn close. Plus, Photomatix has a pretty good algorithm for lining up multiple shots.

The meetup organizer chose Graffiti Alley in Toronto to hold this shoot. Tucked in behind Queen Street West, it’s a popular spot for photographers to shoot cool urban models. Here, we focused on the graffiti itself.