It's not photography...its HDR. For me, high dynamic range images have yet to reach a point of not looking fake; but that doesn't mean they aren't interesting. It is when HDR tries to pass itself off as a regular image that it begins to feel like putting on a cheap suit...it is an attempt to look nice that just doesn't pull it off.
So with this in mind, I signed up for Tony Sweet's HDR class over at Betterphoto.com. For the first week's assignment, I tried to make an HDR image look as though it wasn't. Here is the result:
Based on the number of questions asked by other photographers about whether or not this was HDR, I figured that I had almost succeeded in my effort to disguise the processing. Almost. If you look closely, the flaws begin to surface. Check out the over-saturated/weirdly-saturated"EXIT" sign.
In the second week of class, we learned to create an "illustrated look" with our images by applying the HDR process twice to an image. This is where HDR began to get interesting. For me, it became the only real way to use HDR (until the technology improves). This technique doesn't try to hide what it is, but rather creates a new type of artistic interpretation of a photograph. Here are a handful of my favorites from the class.