An HDR Perspective of the Mt. Desert, Maine, Starscape

This morning, laying aside all of the other things I should have been doing, I perused  the news feed on my Facebook photography page and noticed an image posted by another photographer of a night shot processed using HDR techniques.

Hmm, I thought to myself, this might be an interesting test of my own star shots I captured while in Maine this past October (2013).

Normally, an HDR image is composed of 3 or more bracketed images (with different exposure settings).  Now, while I did get multiple images of the same comps using different settings, I chose instead to simply create two duplicate images in Photoshop of the original processed image,  change the exposures in those duplicates by +2 and –2, then process all three images together using Photomatix.

Below are the results.  I’ve posted both the HDR-processed images as well as the original processed image, and you can see whether or not there is any difference.

A Sea Of Stars

A Sea of Stars – Original

A Sea Of Stars-HDR

A Sea of Stars – HDR

Pointing The Way To The Milky Way

Pointing the Way to the Milky Way – Original

Pointing The Way To The Milky Way

Pointing the Way to the Milky Way – HDR

The Road To The Night Sky

The Road to the Stars – Original

The Road To The Night Sky

The Road to the Stars – HDR

Headlight Star Shot

Headlight Star Shot – Original

Headlight Star Shot

Headlight Star Shot – HDR

After processing the images through Photomatix, I went back and added some curves adjustments as well as contrast, brightness, and exposure adjustments.  While I think the HDR technique added some light/shadow nuances to the images, I am not  certain I couldn’t  have pulled similar results from just regular processing.

I am still on the fence regarding HDR in general, but I do believe the images above were improved using this technique.


Filed under Equipment, HDR, Maine, Night Photography, Photography, Star Photography, Travel

7 responses to “An HDR Perspective of the Mt. Desert, Maine, Starscape

  1. Hi Rebecca, looks like you are having fun with your photos. I like your original shots much better. Curious to know if its possible to get photos of the Northern lights in Glacier National Park in August ??

    • Dewayne, I don’t know about the GNP thing. Have you tried typing in a search term like “northern lights in glacier national park” to see if you can pull up anything? Or maybe going on and typing in a search term like “northern lights Montana”.

      • Yes, and did find a some information but thought since you do work for all the parks you may have something you did. Oh, those little red bushes you took photos in Maine are what we call here in Oklahoma a Shuemake and when they are backlight they are beautiful, I have some on my facebook page. Thanks for getting back to me, love your work !

  2. I am of mixed opinion on both HDR and whether or not I like it in this situation, Becky. I do like the way it brings out the rock detail on the shoreline, and agree it improved that first shot a lot. Not so fond of the bottom headlight HDR, the tree seems too orange and bright compared to the original. Star shots are such a challenge to process, and I try to study folks like Gary Randall and Ben Canales to learn a few things, but I am often not happy with what I come up with. Color is a biggy in star shots… most experienced star shooters tend to go to Tungsten or low Kelvin like 3900. Noise is another challenge.
    You certainly got some fun shots for your firsties, can’t wait to see what you come up with over time in the parks!

  3. Great pictures. I like these colours 🙂