Bracketing and HDR Photos

I’m finally going to post something that is current!  (Cheers echo from the empty blogosphere) So this Saturday I went to Midlothian and participated in the Richmond Camera Club’s Digital Day put on by Canon Explorer of Light, Lewis Kemper.  This 9am-5pm seminar that covered many topics such as “Raw vs. JPEG”, “HDR Photos” “Utilizing Photoshop” etc.  I woke up on Saturday morning at 7am and felt awful.  I have a terrible cold (due to my intense allergy to the state of Virginia 🙂 jk…sort of…) and did not get a lot of sleep on Friday.  But I had already reserved a spot and so I packed up my camera bag, computer, and toilet paper (for tissues), took an aleve cold and sinus and headed out the door!

It was a long day of listening but I learned a lot, especially about shooting in RAW and also certain tricks for editing.  One of my favorite tricks I learned is how to utilize bracketing while shooting to create HDR photos.  Basically what this means is that you set your camera to take three different pictures at different exposures, one underexposed, one overexposed and one in between.  Then later you merge all three pictures together to get an ideal image.  This is good for a picture where you normally would have a lot of shadows and or blown out skies/areas.  I had already heard about how to set up bracketing in my camera and take the pictures but did not know how to merge them.  
Our instructor for the day, Lewis Kemper showed us software to install and how to use it to merge the pictures through Lightroom.  So naturally when I got home last night and downloaded the software, was about to try it out when I fell asleep (sitting in a dark room listening to someone for hours and blowing your nose every 3 minutes, will take a lot out of you).   So today, I took my camera, set my bracketing to 2stop intervals and used the first subject I could find, my Pirate’s Booty from the night before.  So here are the 3 different pictures before, and then the final picture afterwards!

Final Product!  The merged image from the three images below.  

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