And here is my final HDR image, created from the five images that I posted yesterday.
Pretty cool, isn't it? Notice how the people walking on the beach have been mostly removed from the final image. The software isn't perfect, as you can still see a their faint outline, also called ghosting. Still, without a tripod, and only balancing the camera on a railing, the Photomatix software did a fairly good job aligning the images. The Australian pine tree in the upper left was waving in the breeze, and in the final image, it looks as if I took this shot using a long exposure with motion blur.
The Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia) is a nasty invasive in Florida. There are so many of these trees there, that most visitors would just pass them off as an interesting part of the native flora. But they are a non-native invasive, and they grow quickly, replacing native dune vegetation. I first had experience with this plant when I was traveling around Australia in 1999 with Hiram College.
So, have you tried to create your first HDR image? It can be addicting--beware. I have a great guide called the HDRI handbook that I'm reading now, and it comes with software and image demonstrations. I found it in the catalog in the Columbus Metropolitan Library, and to show you how popular HDR is becoming, I had to wait three months before it became available. Who knows, future cameras may be engineered to take pictures without any post-processing to create these incredible images. For now, it takes a little bit of work, but I think the final results are worth it. Just another tool in the bag of the nature photographer.
Update: After Gale suggested I clone out the sunspot, I gave it my best shot using Paint.net. I am by no means an expert, but my cloning doesn't look all that bad! Now if I had photoshop...just think of the possibilities!