HDR? Wasn't that the disease on last week's episode of House?

When you’re shooting outside, you often run into high-contrast scenes, where part of the subject is dark and part of it is washed out. Here’s an example from Tuesday, shot at the O-bansho - the third samurai guardhouse in the Imperial Palace gardens. Notice how the verandah area is black, and the rest of the image is washed out.

HDR: Before

The trick to fixing a shot like this: take multiple shots at different exposures, then use a computer program to composite the correctly-exposed parts of each image. It’s called HDR - High Dynamic Range photography - and although it can end up looking a little bit super-saturated and cartoonish (like this one), but it’s also an interesting way to salvage shots that you might not otherwise have landed.

HDR: After

(This HDR image was made using a trial version of Photomatix Pro, so it has a watermark on it. If all the images it makes are this good, I might spring for the full version and redo this image.)