HDR stands for high dynamic range imaging. The HDR method basically involves making up an image from several different photographs of the same thing, all taken with different exposures. Photoshop or similar image editing software is then used to combine the photos to form one image, creating a greater dynamic range of luminances, which means starker contrasts between light and dark and much more vibrant colours.
HDR enhances natural colours and light levels, so it’s often hard for the viewer to tell that the HDR method has been employed. Some photographers, however, push things further to create completely distorted visual realities. It’s clear from the 24 photos below that HDR and wildlife photography is a winning combination, as the technique is capable of doing justice to the spectacular array of colours found in nature.
1. Tree Frog
Tree frogs are among the most colourful animals in the world. HDR only acts to enhance the brilliant green colour of this particular specimen.
Each whiskery feather is visible in this wonderful HDR photo of a screech-owl, taken in Florida. There are 21 known species of screech-owl and new ones are being discovered all the time.
This rather bedraggled looking cow was photographed in Malham, Yorkshire, England. The hair on the animal’s face is particularly defined.
4. Baby Monkey
A gorgeous baby monkey devours a snack. The gold colour of its eyes and the hairs on top of its head are particularly stunning. Each individual fold on its wrinkly face is visible.
5. Caiman Lizard
A red-faced caiman lizard smiles for the camera.
6. Wild Horse
This wild beast can be found roaming around the fjords of Iceland. The photographer got in really close and used a wide-angled lens to make the animal’s head as large and cute-looking as possible.
A tricolored heron stands on a small island in Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida. This image is a perfect example of how HDR photography can be used to create an oil painting-like effect.
HDR brings out the rainbow colours of this lizard’s facial scales. This shot was taken in Mexico with a Nikon D80 camera and a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens. It was processed with Photomatix and Lightroom.
A bison grazes in Gibbon Meadow, Yellowstone National Park.
Another shot from Yellowstone National Park. This time it’s an elk traversing a vibrant landscape.
Otherwise dull, the intensity of this reptile’s eye, made up of volcanic yellow and red tones, is truly stunning.
12. Spider Monkey
This playful, inquisitive spider monkey was spotted outside the Batu caves near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Sunlight shines through the trees, casting a shadow on the back of a wild deer and illuminating its beady eye.
A horse and its foal pose for the camera in an overcast English field.
A solitary, red-breasted and very round robin perches on a branch.
A male and female mallard take a stroll along the dock at Lake Tahoe. This HDR image was captured in March 2007 with a Nikon D200 camera.
A fallow stag is spotted in Dyrham Park, South Gloucestershire, England. This photo was shot from a quarter of a mile away.
Ever alert, this squirrel spots the camera at just the right moment.
19. Mute Swans
A graceful pair of mute swans look absolutely stunning against this glowing, orangey, evening sky.
This charismatic animal seems just as interested in the photographer as the photographer is of it. HDR brings out the orange-brown colour of its face and adds clarity to its hairy ears.
The colours in this shot are so intense. The photographer post-processed the image using Tiffen DFX.
What better animal to demonstrate the colour capabilities of HDR than the vibrant chameleon. This shot was taken with a Canon EOS 500D and edited with Photomatix.
23. Rainbow Boa
This rainbow boa, so-called for obvious reasons, displays a wide spectrum of colours along its length. Again, Photomatix was used to process this image.
What a fantastic portrait! This monkey was photographed while ‘hanging out’ near Ban Saen, just outside of Bangkok, Thailand. The bright blue background complements its light tones perfectly.