AND DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH DYNAMIC RANGE YOUR CAMERA HAS?
HDR (High Dynamic Range) software utilities seems to be the rage since Adobe first introduced the feature in Photoshop. And I suppose I have contributed a bit to the interest having written about HDR on at least three occasions in Shutterbug. It is surely an advantage to have an easy solution for dealing with subjects with a greater brightness range than the exposure latitude of film or the dynamic range of a digital sensor will handle. However, this problem has been recognized for a long time and solutions have also been available for almost as long. In motion picture production for instance outdoor close-up scenes have used reflectors to fill shadows and large arc-lamps for the same purpose for years, solutions often inconvenient or unavailable to still photographers, although a flash fill is a parallel and effective solution. But what do you do when the scene you are photographing is too big and deep to artificially reduce the range by adding fill light to the shadows? A solution known and used by movie camera men are the Harrison & Harrison Contrast Reduction filters, which scatter some of the light entering the lens enough to bring up the level in the exposure of shadows but at the same instance does not effect image sharpness and resolution. For still photographers another way to deal with a large subject brightness range fairly easily with sheet film was to pre-expose (pre-fog) the film very slightly which had the affect of breaking exposure inertia to low light levels in deep shadows adding enough density to record more detail deeper into the shadows.
However, for photographers who got involved since camera