On our recent visit to Shawnee State Park and Forest over the labor day weekend, I tried to climb a ridge one evening to get a clear view of the sunset. I was unable to find a clear view of the western sky, so I set up Megan's Canon SX20 is on my tripod to take an image of the interior of the forest.
Shawnee's dry ridgetop forests are often blanketed with the tangling vines of greenbriars (Smilax species). Thank goodness for trails, because you don't want to walk through a patch of these without thick pants.
Why was I shooting with Megan's camera? I forgot my wide angle lens for the trip! Megan's SX20 has a nice wide angle/telephoto zoom, so that is what I brought with me on my evening photo adventure. For this shot, I captured 8 different exposures, and combined them using Photomatix Pro. This technique of taking varying exposure information from multiple photographs and squishing it all together into one photograph is called High Dynamic Range photography, or now simply known as HDR. It's a technique that is evolving- many point and shoot cameras can create this type of image without extra software.
Some have scoffed at HDR while others love it- it is certainly a polarizing topic in photography. To me, it is another tool in the box of camera goodies that I have at my disposal. And for something like the interior of a forest, at sunset, with bright highlights and very dark shadows, using HDR imaging allows me present an image of what my eyes actually saw better than a single photograph would have allowed.