HDR = Horrible, Dopey, Ridiculous

There are trends everywhere in creative fields. Brown and light-blue clothes. Chipotle chilis or truffle oil in food. Reflections in web graphics.

There’s also crappy creative output in these fields. Trashy romance novels. Kenny G. Soap Operas.

Tonight I’m a little heated about a collision of the trendy and crappy in the photographic landscape: High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. These images are actually composites of multiple exposures of the same scene which, when done well, can provide gorgeously detailed pictures.

Abused, however, we see work that gags me with thoughts of Thomas Kinkade. Blown-out and garish colors, strange exposures, and unpleasant artifacts around areas with large differences in brightness (such as where a building’s roof meets the sky) detract from what are in some cases decent photographs.

I sure hope this fades away in short order.

6 thoughts on “HDR = Horrible, Dopey, Ridiculous

  1. here here… I couldn’t agree more. Every time I’m on flickr and I see some awful HDR, I have to drink some Pepto to settle my stomach. Well done, however it can be really incredible. I think part of the trick is to make the under and over exposures only slightly varied from the central shot. Otherwise you do get those horrible light edges. It’s a shame to see someone encouraged for taking a crappy HDR and that’s way too prevalent on Flickr.

  2. Ha that’s hilarious. I actually joined that richmond group this is under last night. I intentionally left no comments on the HDRs and moved on to photos not ruined by gimmickiness.

  3. Yeah…I should clarify for anyone else reading this that I don’t in any way consider myself a photographer of any substance. But I don’t think you have to be in order to call out poor quality output.

  4. I agree. With the speed that this “trend” hit, I figured it would be a fad. There are a few examples that are amazing and beautiful, but TONS of examples that are VERY poor. You spoke my feelings on the subject quite well actually.

  5. I do so agree with you. I was desperatly browsing the net to find people that are on same page. I dont what to think when i see hundreds of comments on crappy overtoned overcoloured city or nature landscapes. It show us that mass is receptive to crap.

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