Phriday Photo – Red-headed Woodpecker HDR

In order to take High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos of birds you have to be quick and they have to be pretty still. Movements on either end make the photo a bit junky, although a little bit is correctable.

Photo 1 – Underexposed (-2)
Photo 2 – “Normal” Exposure (0)
Photo 3 – Overexposed (+2)

Finished Product of a Red-headed Woodpecker in HDR
Red-headed Woodpecker

Now, this isn’t a perfectly done shot but we feel it often makes the colors “pop” and adds a little artistic quality to already beautiful birds. In a way, it helps to produce a more realistic image of what the bird looks like, although it can often be overdone making the image look a bit odd (which some may think this one looks).

Regardless, it was nice to find this Red-headed Woodpecker, as it is the first one spotted at Deer Run Forest Preserve this year. It is a shame these awesome birds are in decline.

Side note: these photos cost Birdfreak some lost blood as a cloud of mosquitoes decided outstretched arms with a camera in them make a wonderful buffet.

6 thoughts on “Phriday Photo – Red-headed Woodpecker HDR

  1. I’ve heard a lot about HDR photography lately. Thanks for clearing up my confusion about it. An interesting process, certainly! Neat effect.

  2. Well done and well worth the effort! It’s a beautiful bird and a wonderful picture. I’ve been wanting to experiment with HDR, but I’m so darned busy these days. I can see that I will have to make time.

  3. That turned out awesome and did you captured the still shots with a RAW file? Or take 3 different shots like this?

  4. Lana – It is a lot of fun even if the results aren’t perfect.

    Sandpiper – As soon as you get a chance you gotta try it! HDR is tons of fun.

    Mon@rch – This was three different shots. I should have put it in RAW but forgot. Instead, my Canon can take three consecutive shots at the various exposures in about a second. I’ll try RAW now that I finally have Photoshop and can process them properly.

  5. Zen Birdfeeder – sorry about not linking to anything but we haven’t found a good tutorial on doing this with bird photos. Basically, the concept is to change the exposure on the camera (via your camera’s settings) and purposely over and underexposing shots. Then the shots get layered via a program (you can use Photoshop or Photomatix).

    Photomatix has some tutorial type info on this technique.

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