HDR Photo Examples Using iPhone 4G

I continued to be impressed with the camera and its capabilities on Apple’s iPhone 4 or 4G, however you wish to refer to it. Yesterday afternoon while roaming around Orange County and Newport Beach I was stunned by the dramatic sky and clarity as ominous clouds hung over the coastline and the rugged terrain of Catalina Island seemed so close I could touch it, even though it sits 21 miles off the coast.

While summer sunsets in Southern California have tropical leanings, it’s the winter skies recently cleansed by days of rainfall and awash in swaths of cirrus and stratocumulus clouds that give sunsets textured surfaces to reflect. As my friend Tim is fond of saying, sunsets come alive after the sun goes down.

The iPhone 4 in HDR mode, which is selectable on screen after the camera is launched, takes three images in rapid fire succession, one normal exposure, one under exposed and the third, over exposed. It then merges these images to create a photo that leverages the best blended-exposure for those “hot” and “dark” areas in an image when lighting isn’t optimal–such as the sunset shots you see here. By default, the iPhone 4 saves the original normal exposed image and the merged enhanced image. This can be adjusted in the settings for the phone. Check out the pairs of images show using the HDR (high dynamic range) setting of the Apple iPhone 4G. Not I varied the focus area in these images and therefore the area for where iPhone sets its ‘normal’ exposure.

In all of the images here, the normal exposed image is on the left and the HDR enhanced image is on the right. Click on any image for a higher resolution image. Below I show an iPhone 4 HDR taken inside with hot incandescent backlighting.

By changing the focal point and therefore exposure setting, you can experiment for interesting effect.

Sunset Over Newport Harbor, Newport, Beach, California – 5:04pm January 6, 2011

Newport Beach California and Catalina Island January 2011-normal Newport Beach California and Catalina Island January 2011-HDR

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If you haven’t played with the HDR capabilities of your iPhone 4, I think it’s worth checking out. Here’s one final example of an interior shot of my friend Rob in a hotel room where hot lighting in the background is blown out in the normal exposed version, but tempered rather nicely in the HDR merged image.

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