[BTS] How To Create HDR Images Using Bracketing With Trey Ratcliff

Trey Ratcliff is perhaps one of the most well known and adored HDR photographers today. The High Dynamic Range images he creates are not subtle by any means and he takes no apologies when it comes to creating images he personally enjoys. In this video, Trey talks about his gear (mainly Nikkor 12-24 and Really Right Stuff Tripods) and how he thinks through his compositions as he visits the beautiful Gorda in the Virgin Islands. Watch the 2nd video in the full post below.

Second Behind The Scenes Video:

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Tobias Solem's picture

I dunno, these HDR-shots just seem artificial to me. I prefer the ones which are more subtle.

Mike Kelley's picture

The guy has found a technique that works for him - and lets him travel the world taking pictures of amazing places. Whether or not you care for the HDR, we should all just shut up and try to figure out a similar way of doing things. Count me in the 'incredibly jealous' camp. I'd take pictures of dog shit if it meant I got to travel to as many awesome locations as he does.

Patrick Hall's picture

Not only that but the general public really does love his images too.  His site is ranked very close to Fstoppers as well so if nothing else it goes to show what non photographers find interesting which is something all good businessmen should be trying to better understand.  

Bogdan Radu's picture

If that's your goal as a photographer.. then go for it! Just like hdr there is lots of dog poop to be found at any corner.. My goal as a photog is to take pictures that will move and touch the viewer, photos that will be remembered with time and will not look outdated 5 years from now. I don't want to bust Trey's balls.. he found something that works for him and makes a living out of it... good for him! For me HDR is just a fad that hopefully will die soon.. if not .. the saturation slider in photoshop will get severely violated for the years to come by the HDR lovers:0)

Sandy Phimester's picture

It's all a personal thing really, but to be honest I've seen just as striking photos, although a bit more realistic looking, from one shot photos, in camera, with the "black card" technique. If done really well, it can be quite impressive. 

In camera/out of camera it's all the same thing. Algorithms are being applied to electrical data to create colored pixels. I think you're confusing "realistic looking" for what you're used to seeing. Just because it's not what you see out of camera, doesn't me it's less realistic.... Neurologically, HDR is technically closer to what the brain sees when looking at the environment, and thus MORE realistic. 

I love this guy and he is one of my main inspirations in photography...

He gets to shoot some cool locations, but his HDR its self is pretty average. Right place, right time and he was able to market himself well early on for HDR, good for him.

Trey is producing appealing images, maybe it is not photography but no doubt it is fine art. I like his work a lot. More, one of his HDR photos was shown as the first ever at the Smithsonian. I guess he will be remembered more that 5 years.

How is it not photography?! That is such a slippery slope argument that you can never win. If you think that is true, then any digital image isn't photography, even SOOC images. 

 I definitively agree that HDR is photography. I like SOOC but also HDR. Nevertheless there is a bunch of thinkers claiming HDR is not photography just because most of HDR we see is nor done with “elegance”.
By the way, some camera do HDR internally so those HDR should be considered SOOC. Digital revolution although in progress for quite some time is not finished still.

You see photos like this in UK mags all the time. there is a market for it.  Good for him to capitalize on that.  

If your photography is seen by the public as good, it's good photography (HDR or otherwise). "Good" is a subjective determination by general consensus, so photographer's who scoff at HDR are erroneously ignorant and probably will never make a solid living as a photographer because they're standing by dogma, not considering what people actually want. Moreover, HDR, in many if not most aspects, provides more realistic images if you consider what the brain see's when observing an environment. IMO, if you dodge and burn, you are essentially creating an HDR image, just in a less sophisticated way.  

Shann Biglione's picture

Frankly, if anyone is to show BTS of HDR work, it should be focusing on the post processing. The composition is like any other shot. I do like HDR, some shots are impossible without it and can be very interesting, however I'm not sure that all of these photos were necessarily the best examples - quite a few would be achievable with ND Grads don't you think?