Dynamic Range is the difference between the brightest part of the scene and the darkest part. Our eyes can see 11 stops of difference between bright light and darkness; a camera can only see five stops. So what we see with our eyes we cannot always capture with a camera. Think of a scene shot from indoors with a window in the background. Invariably, either the window’s light looks nice while the interior is too dark to be seen or if the interior is exposed properly, the light from the window is a washed-out blob of white. The capabilities of HDR modes greatly magnify the range you are able to capture with your camera, particularly “the realism and the natural light of a scene.”
In this short video, photographer Tim Cooper explains the basics of dynamic range and then continues to demonstrate just how to use your DSLR’s HDR function to create beautiful shots in which both the highlights and shadows are detailed and colorful. He walks us through several common examples of scenes that could be better handled using HDR mode and provides step-by-step instructions on how to meter and process these images to their best effect.