There’s some recent news about Apple filing for a patent on single exposure HDR. You can read the CNET story here. It sounds like an inventive way for HDR and who knows whether it will actually be used in their products.
I can’t help thinking that it won’t be needed in the near future. As sensors get better even in phones the dynamic range will continue to expand. Also Lightroom does such a great job pulling out shadows and taming highlights that most photos can get a HDR look just from software. See my single photo HDR post for my recipe.
All of this is making it’s way to phones where it’s just a preset away. And really the true magic in HDR is the tone mapping and local contrast adjustments not so much the dynamic range.
Here’s a another single exposure I tweaked to a HDR look. I used an exposure that had all of the information within the histogram with no shadows or highlights off the edge. Then I ran it through a number of filters in Color Efex Pro 4 by Nik Software. I used the polarizer filter (for the steam/smoke clouds and blue sky) along with the dark contrasts filter to give a nice HDR like effect. It did have a lot of noise but I used Lightroom noise reduction to smooth that out. Still learning CEP4 so I need to keep revising my workflow to maintain detail and minimize the noise.
This is the Pine Bend Refinery. It’s really hard to get a clean shot despite the massive size of the refinery. The facility is set up with a lot of security including fences, pine trees, no tresspassing signs and a massive amount of land as a buffer.