Tuesday, January 31, 2012

31/365 Photo Project - Up or Down?

Up or Down?

Is this staircase winding down or crawling up? I like the repeating pattern here, just wish their were more than 6 stories in this Boston office building for the pattern to continue off in to the distance.

Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS in Portrait mode in an attempt to keep the stairs in the distance out of focus. No post processing.

Monday, January 30, 2012

30/365 Photo Project - Boston Snow Squall

Boston Snow Squall

This is shot of this morning's snow squall that passed through the Boston area this morning, blink and you missed it!

Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS in Landscape mode right before the battery died so it was this shot today or nothing ;) Sharpened and levels adjusted slightly in PhotoShop.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Infrared revisited at Spy Pond

A 20 second exposure with Hoya infrared filter of the sun

With the weather being mild still for this time of year I just couldn't contain myself and decided to dig out my old Hoya Infrared filter and try some infrared shots from the bike path near Spy Pond in Arlington MA today.

This was accomplished with the following equipment

Pentax K200d DSLR
Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL lens (kit lens)
Hoya RM-72 Infrared Filter
Pentax Electronic Cable Switch
Samsonite Tripod
One Eager Amateur Photographer

Check out my Flickr gallery for more. I'd love to have your feedback and any other tips you may for getting the best out of the infrared world of which I find so intriguing.

29/365 Photo Project - Apple or Moon?

Apple or Moon?

So this week my new photographer toy/gadget arrived from Amazon, a Light Cube. If you haven't heard of what a light cube is or why you might need one check out this article which talks about how to make one for under 10 bucks.

I didn't have the confidence in my DIY skills (or the free personal time) so if you don't either you can source an inexpensive one on Ebay or Amazon for less than 20 bucks as I did. My first attempt at taking shots with it was this morning with only 1 light source, I grabbed an apple from the fruit basket and shot away.

The finished photo for today was taken with the Pentax K200d and the Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens, handheld, with on-camera IS, no camera flash was used. The subject was simply lit by one lamp through the right side of light cube. Converted to sepia in Photoshop.

Light Cube setup side lit here by a desktop light

Here's a look at my setup, I really need to source another lamp so that harsh shadows aren't being cast on the object being shot but for today's photo the result was desirable to give the apple that 'planet like' feel when zoomed up close. You can see at the far right here the white narcissus used as the subject for several of my other photos so far this year as part of this 365 Photo Project.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Free February 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper

Get your free February 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper. Simply click on the above image to get the full size version and right click to save it to your picture directory (depending on your browser).

Once saved locally you can set it as your desktop background. For instructions on how change your desktop background on a Mac or a PC click here or here.

28/365 Photo Project - Backlit Cyclamen Macro

Backlit Cyclamen Macro

Here's a tip for any aspiring amateur photographer - always have a spare battery with you. This morning while out for a walk around the neighborhood I had my point and shoot camera with me (as always) and although I had checked the battery life indicator before leaving the 35F degree temperatures had apparently been more than the lithium battery could handle. So I missed a potentially great shot of some local area wildlife (ok, grey squirrels) because I didn't have my spare with me.

So instead here's another macro shot, this time of a potted cyclamen which is backlit by natural light here. It's not quite as dramatic as yesterday's narcissus shot but I do like the veins that have been captured which if I had used flash may have been blown out. This leaf in real life is about 1.5 inches in diameter.

Taken with the Pentax K200d and the Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens, handheld, with on-camera IS.

Friday, January 27, 2012

27/365 Photo Project - White Narcissus Macro

White narcissus with yellow stamen, macro

One of the main challenges I've found of undertaking a 365 photo project other than finding something creative to snap each day is the weather. Whether the weather be good, or whether the weather be bad a photo needs to be taken.

Today was one of those days which means an indoor shot. I turned my old reliable macro lens on one the flowering bulbs we have displayed in our dining room that are slightly past their prime. These little flower heads are about an inch in diameter to give you an idea of just how close up this shot is.

With just the over head dining room light it was a little too dark to be hand holding the camera so I used the on-camera flash which gives an ethereal theme to the out of focus areas here I think. The non-flash frames I took were a little too noisy but had a very different look, maybe I'll post them in a 'rejects' gallery ;)

Taken with the Pentax K200d and the Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens, handheld, with on-camera IS and some tricky Manual Focusing, cropped for size and tone corrected in PhotoShop.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Canon PowerShot SX230 HS - Great for Low-light Photography?

Low-light shot taken without flash to demo the Canon HS system

The question I set out to answer here is 'Does the Canon HS System really take good (usable) low-light photographs with minimum noise?'

Over the past almost 10 months that I have used the Canon PowerShot SX 230HS I have been very happy with it's overall performance, from it's amazing X14 zoom (and relatively wide starting point of 28mm), it's miniature toy mode, Also it's stitch assistant has helped my panoramic cravings and of course let's not forget the many manual control options not just of ISO and WB but Aperture and Shutter priority modes in particular which I have found invaluable when taking macro shots where control of depth of field is essential, others who take portraitures will no doubt find these useful too.

However the stand out feature most trumpeted by Canon of this camera is it's High Sensitivity (HS) after all it is included in the name of the camera itself. From what I have read Canon takes a twofold approach to low light photography in their HS enabled cams, the first is increasing the sensitivity of the camera's, ermmm, sensor allowing for an improved ISO range and the second is the newer Digic processor of course (version 4 in the SX 230 HS) which has a greater capacity for reducing noise and processing the images taken by the sensor.

So how does this compare to using the flash vs not using the flash in low light situations I hear you ask? Well I took an evening stroll through a local cemetery to find out (not recommended if you're afraid of ghosts or zombies, neither of which I saw in Arlington MA yesterday).

The shot at the top of this article was taken without any flash and the camera has done an amazing job of making the twilight conditions almost appear like 2pm on a cloudy day which in reality the sun had all but set.

Low light shot taken with on-camera flash

The second shot taken here was with the camera's built flash. There's no hot shoe on the SX230 and you can see here at a aperture of f/3.08 that the flashed light falls off rather quickly, nothing passed ~18 ft receives any light here. In this shot the flash has lit the front grave stones and they have more detail and clarity than the low light none flashed shot, however for objects beyond those details are lost and have turned to black, note the trees and branches are now in silhouette compared to the first shot where we have exposed bark level detail albeit rather noisily.

So which shot is better? I think the answer is subjective and it really depends on the effect you were going for, if your intention is to take a night portrait you would opt for the flash to highlight your subject, or if you wish to read the names of the gravestones here. If however you wish to capture more of the surrounding landscape and objects out of the range of your camera's flash then leaving the flash off and leaving the exposure to the Canon HS system seems to be the way to go.

What's your take on the Canon HS cameras versus their traditional IS counterparts which use simple camera shake technology and/or upping the ISO settings?

26/365 Photo Project - Broadway Station

Broadway Station

Heading in to Boston for lunch today lent itself to taking today's photo of the Broadway T Station on the MBTA Red line. The difficulty here was capturing the length of the platform and the repeating columns while trying to ensure no commuters were in the frame.

Looking back at this image I wish I had paid more attention to the recycle newspaper bins and positioned myself so they weren't in the shot. C'est la vie!

Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230HS in Auto mode. No post processing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

25/365 Photo Project - Dawn Flight

Dawn Flight

An aircraft coming in to land at Logan Airport is nearly covered by the morning sun as the South Boston industrial buildings are silhouetted here.

There's been a lot of news this week about solar flare activity, if you look hard enough I think you can see it in this photograph ;)

Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX 230HS in Auto mode and levels adjusted in Photoshop.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

24/365 Photo Project - Abandoned


I guess with the recent warm weather we've been having in the Boston area after our last storm these boots were surplus to requirements. Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230HS.

I created a new layer in Photoshop converted it to B&W and then using the feather tool highlighted the boots and cut them out of the B&W layer thus exposing their pink color.

Monday, January 23, 2012

23/365 Photo Project - Mixed Nuts

Mixed Nuts

Leftover snacks made for the subject of today's photo positioned on the kitchen granite counter top. In the low-light of the kitchen a compromise of Aperture and Exposure had to made.

Taken with the Pentax K200d in Av mode, aperture set to f4.5 (any larger aperture proved to be too much for hand holding) and the Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens with Manual Focus, cropped and contrast adjusted in Photoshop.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

22/365 Photo Project - Why snow?

Why snow?

This weekend's snow storm gave me a chance to experiment with the White Balance settings of my Pentax DSLR, instead of opting to go with the camera's Auto White Balance setting I adjusted to shade for this shot because it was very over cast and the afternoon sun in yard and long since gone behind the neighbors house. The same shot take with AWB was decidely darker, the snow had been exposed as grey rather than pure white.

Taken with the Pentax K200d in Av mode, aperture set to f2.8 to highlight the tree in a shallow depth of field and the Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens with Manual Focus, I still had to correct for tone in Photoshop to bring out the details in the tree trunk.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

21/365 Photo Project - Best way to start your day

Best way to start your day

Cappuccino brewed by my wife at breakfast this morning. Taken with the Pentax K200d in Av mode, aperture set to f4 and the Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens with Manual Focus, corrected for tone in Photoshop.

Friday, January 20, 2012

20/365 Photo Project - Snow on my car

Snow on my car

My wife said it best 'not every one's going to be a winner' ;) This photo of the snow on my car I was too lazy to clear off today (because I was rushing for the bus instead!). I wanted to see how well the camera would cope with the bright snow on the very black finish of the car.

Taken with the Pentax K200d in Av mode, aperture set to f8 and the Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens with MF setting. Cropped slightly and corrected for tone in Photoshop.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

19/365 Photo Project - Bokeh Bulbs?

Bokeh Bulbs?

Today's photo proved to be a lot more complicated than I first thought. The goal was to capture the flowering bulbs (indoors) using a small aperture to ensure that background dining room furniture was suitably blurred out to not distract. Some 30 attempts later and I feel I accomplished only 66% of what I wanted to, I was hoping for a closing zoom with more of the flower petals in focus than they were.

The problem I encountered with selecting such a small aperture (in Av mode turning the dial to f2.8) is that only a minimum amount of light is being allowed in to hit the camera's senser. So a compromise was needed and I unintuitively switched off the camera's inbody camera shake compensation, upped the aperture to f4.5 and turned up the dimmer on the dining room light as far as it would go and decided on camera flash was needed. The result is above.

Taken with the Pentax K200d in Av mode, aperture set to f4.5 and the Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens with MF setting. No cropping, corrected for tone and rotated 90 degrees in Photoshop.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

18/365 Photo Project - Cold Winter Sun

Cold Winter Sun, South Boston MA

Today's photo breaks the rule of taking a photograph in to the sun but certainly captures the brisk feeling of a Winter's day in South Boston MA. This image certainly could benefit from the vertical correction technique of my previous blog post, note the lampposts and fence leaning inward. Taken with the LG Rumor Touch phone.

The GPS co-ords recorded by the phone camera for this image (embedded in the uploaded JPEG) are GPSLatitude 42.340278, GPSLongitude -71.048889.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Photoshop #2 - How to correct vertical lens distortion

Image taken at street level has visible vertical convergence

We've all been there, out and about walking (or driving as was the case above) around town and we see it, a tall building or structure that stands out and we want to capture it's vastness. As was the case for me in the image above the Financial District of Boston demonstrates what we end up with due to perspective of the lens to what it is shooting is tall lines of the buildings converging together at the top of the photograph as if falling towards each over as the buildings height increases.

Those of you who are fortunate to have a small fortune to spend on such equipment as a tilt-shift lens don't need to worry about such concerns. Such a tool mechanically alters the plane of the camera's lens to match the perspective of the building thus preventing those converging lines, if however you are like me you will have to rely on post processing techniques to deal with such problems.

How to correct vertical lens distortion using Photoshop

The steps I describe are from my using Adobe Photoshop CS 4 however other versions have supported this function I believe for some time as to other software packages.

Step1 Take a copy of your original image and open it in Photoshop, this is so any changes we make do not effect the original which you can always refer back to and start again if the worse should happen during any editing.

Lens Correction 'Filter' in Photoshop

Step2 Select Filter>Distort>Lens Correction to be presented by a range of useful adjustments that can be made.

Image with vertical perspective now corrected

Step3 Photoshop has provided a grid overlay for us to judge how best to apply our correction, the one we are interested is under the 'Transform' panel, slide the 'Vertical Perspective' slider to the left slowly until the vertical edges of the predominant buildings/structures of your image are aligned with the overlay grid as shown.

Due to the correct we have lost parts of the image as shown

Step4 Once you have adjusted to the correct perspective click 'Ok' to exit Lens Correction but before we call our job done you will have noticed you have lost some of the image at the top and gained white space towards the bottom. Using the crop tool select the area of the photograph that affords the most pleasing ratio while still allowing the white space area to be cropped out as shown below.

The final result

17/365 Photo Project - In Camera added Fake Tilt-Shift

South Boston, MA - In Camera added Fake Tilt-Shift

Using the Canon SX230HS's built in 'miniature effect' mode the shot above was captured from the 6th floor of an office building in South Boston, MA at 7.20am Tuesday January 17th 2012. If you are at a loss as to what 'fake tilt-shift' is, check out my previous posts here and here. This photo shows the first snow fall of the season that actually had any accumulation, for January this storm was very light.

As a boy I would have loved a toy truck like this one for Christmas but no doubt if I had been given one from Santa my Dad would have taken it off me before I had a chance to 'damage' it and he'd have put it back in it's original box for safe keeping.

Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230HS

Monday, January 16, 2012

16/365 Photo Project - Macro Planetoids

Macro Planetoids

For today's photo I broke out my Macro lens and decided to try to take a close up shot of the filament inside one of the bulbs in the vanity mirror in our bathroom. Little did a realize that off centering my focus would allow me to capture the other worldly vision above. The craters are actually collections of dust on the bulb (note to self, I should clean the bathroom mirror more often!)

Believe it or not this is taken in full daylight, however, because I am using spot metering and the filament of the bulb is so bright the background is exposed as near black which saves me from having to edit out any unwanted background highlights. Hint: Use manual focus when trying to take shots like this, the AF can often be confused about exactly what you are trying to focus on and can spend precious seconds 'seeking' the correct focus.

Taken with the Pentax K200d in Av mode and the Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens with MF setting and cropped to be the ratio of my laptop so that can use it as my current background image.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

15/365 Photo Project - Eye see you

Eye see you

Turning the lens on myself for another self-portrait, this time of my eyeball, not creepy at all right? This took several shots in continuous shooting to get anything anywhere near in focus, I set the camera in Av Priority, chose macro mode and extended the zoom to half its maximum focal length. I used the natural light from the window (which you can see reflected in my iris) to light the shot, I didn't want to blind myself by trying any on camera flash ;)

Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230HS, no digital zoom, cropped for size but other than that no post processing.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Free January 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper

Get your free January 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper. Simply click on the above image to get the full size version and right click to save it to your picture directory (depending on your browser). Once saved locally you can set it as your desktop background. For instructions on how change your desktop background on a Mac or a PC click here or here.

14/365 Photo Project - Tomatoes at Whole Foods

Tomatoes at Whole Foods

It's the weekend and it's early morning, that can only mean one thing, a trip to the grocery store to stock up on fruits and veggies. I couldn't resist taking a snap of these tomatoes that look very appetizing stacked in the aisle at Whole Food's. This starts a theme that I'll be using for photos on this blog of 'filling the frame'. Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230HS

Friday, January 13, 2012

13/365 Photo Project - Asta


With a busy day of non-stop work and the bad weather continuing I had to resolve to finding the subject for today indoors and luckily one of our cats was indifferent to posing for this shot.

I moved the cat stand to be under the overhead light in the hall and shot in 'Kids and Pet' mode on my P&S, no post processing needed. Despite my best efforts to gain her attention she was more interested in a dust bunny floating by that I disturbed by moving the cat stand. Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230HS which I think did a great job in this low light, hand held situation, there's no blurriness and I particularly like the sharpness of her eye.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

12/365 Photo Project - Sunburst Molly

Sunburst Molly

Today certainly was a day for indoor photography with 60mph wind gusts and none stop rains pounding the pavement I wasn't going to subject my camera equipment (or myself) to those elements. Instead I focused my Pentax K200d mounted to the Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL lens on the wildlife of our aquarium.

With my Pentax K200d in macro mode using a tripod and on camera flash I set the sweet spot of focus on the bottom of the tank and waited for the fish to come in to frame. I certainly wish I had more patience to stand there longer, this still took over 20 frames before getting anywhere close to a fish in focus and framed decently. The on camera flash makes the shadow very contrasty here and the depth of field is very shallow - for instance the fish to the left of the frame was less than an inch closer to the lens but is completely out of focus. Perhaps a lesson on photographing fish is needed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

11/365 Photo Project - The Moon, Medford MA

The Moon, Medford MA at 7.19am Jan 11th 2012

This photo of the moon taken this morning during my commute to work. I have to reiterate what I have said in previous posts that although this was taken from my car at the time it was taken I was at a traffic light (a very long traffic light on rt16, if you are familiar with the area you know the one!) and the car at a complete stop. No steering with my knees here!

So, disclaimer out the way I am finding that taking my camera with me everywhere certainly does lend itself well to finding opportune moments to capture a point in time that might otherwise have been missed (at least by me because my phone cam would not have been able to capture this result).

Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230HS at 7.19am in Landscape mode to maximize the area in-focus. I'm not sure how far the moon is off in the distance but I'd say the camera did a pretty good job in low light, hand held and without much time to focus before I headed off on the remainder of my commute.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

10/365 Photo Project - Prudential Center, Boston MA

Prudential Center, Boston MA

Staying with my theme of the Boston Skyline the above photo, taken in vertical perspective of course, if of the Prudential Center, taken this morning from the office building where I work, no post processing needed. Although the first snow fall of the year had swept through the area the skies were clear and crisp for this shot. I particularly like the composition in this one, the street light, center plaza and finally the Pru tower itself. Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230HS

Monday, January 9, 2012

9/365 Photo Project - One Financial Center, Boston MA

One Financial Center, Boston MA

This photograph of the Boston Financial district was taken from my car while waiting in traffic through the windshield. The photo has been corrected for vertical perspective so that the vertical lines don't converge, this has the side effect of losing some of the width of the photograph so it's more square than normal for a photo taken from my Canon P&S cam. Also a small spot of dirt on my windshield has been removed with the Photoshop clone tool, you'll not be able to tell where (I hope).

A tip for all aspiring "through the windshield" shooters out there - keep your windshield clean and it will save a lot of time in post processing. I may post a 'How to correct for Vertical Perspective' tutorial at a later date explaining the technique. Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230HS

Sunday, January 8, 2012

8/365 Photo Project - Reflections on Christmas

Reflections on Christmas

As my last hurrah to Christmas before taking down our decorations I decided to take this self portrait. I really like the reflections of each of the baubles inside each other. Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230HS in Macro mode with Shutter Priority (Tv), handheld and lit from below by a simple floor lamp. Image has been cropped for size, no post processing.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

7/365 Photo Project - Rusty Sign

Rusty Sign

What a great day it was in New England today for getting out and about. I can't believe it's the middle of Winter and we're able to get outside and walk around our neighborhood without hats, gloves, scarfs and boots. I'm sure it won't last but while it does I'm going to make the most of it. Today's photo was taken of a rusted old sign hanging on chain link fence on a town building in East Arlington MA. Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230HS and cropped with some background blur added in post processing.

Friday, January 6, 2012

6/365 Photo Project - Old tree in Oak Grove cemetery

Old tree in Oak Grove cemetery

I'm going to keeping this blog post short since I've already posted about HDR photography today. Today's photo is of a grand old tree in Oak Grove cemetery in Medford MA. I like how the camera managed to expose the detail of the tree bark as well as keep some of the highlights of the clouds in the sky instead of washing them all out. Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230HS

The GPS co-ords recorded by the camera for this image (embedded in the uploaded JPEG) are GPSLatitude 42.429436, GPSLongitude -71.133169 and a GPSAltitude of 36m

How to take HDR photos with a point and shoot

Not happy with the source images I used in the my earlier HDR attempt I wanted to try again with an outdoor scene that hopefully lends itself better to HDR. This afternoon I had a chance to try again with a scene this time with a point and shoot camera rather than a DSLR.

The first thing you need to know when using a Point and Shoot camera (at least with many models available today) you don't have the option to automatically 'bracket exposures' with just 1 click of the shutter. Therefore on my P&S camera I elected to take 3 shots in Tv (Shutter) priority mode adjusting the shutter speed to let in more light with each subsequent shot in the hope that when combined this would allow the shadows of the trees and reflections in the water to be correctly exposed as well as the bright sky. See the source images below.

Shutter speed 1/640 s

Shutter speed 1/60 s

Shutter speed 1/5 s

Using a trial version of the HDR Expose software the source images were imported and combined to give the following result and although I was hand holding the camera very steady against the top of wall on the bridge this image clearly shows there is some movement between shots because you can see there is a distinct blurriness to the image.

HDR Expose result

Since my original post I have since discovered that Adobe Photoshop (which I have access to on my wife's PC) has the ability to import multiple images and combine them simply by choosing File>Automate>Merge to HDR which will eventually create a 32-bit HDR image file that can then be converted back to 16-bit using Image>Mode>16 Bits/Channel and saved as a PNG file. The results of which can be seen below.

Adobe Photoshop result

With this option available I would have to recommend that anyone with access to Adobe Photoshop give this a try rather than investing your hard earned dollars in yet another piece of software such as HDR Expose. I will most likely remove the trial version now that I know any future cravings I have for HDR can be satisfied in Photoshop which I think you will agree has done a much better job, none of the blurriness that was evident in the earlier HDR Expose attempt.

If you have any other suggestions then please feel free to share them in the comments section below, I would love to see your examples if you have followed the above techniques too.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

5/365 Photo Project - Ghosts on Summer St

Ghosts on Summer St, Boston Ma

This evening while heading out to Jerry Remy's Seaport for a few beers after work I took this shot at dusk using my cameras 'night scene' mode on my Canon SX230HS. This mode takes 3 quick consecutive full resolution shots and combines them in to one image in camera, no post processing necessary.

The Canon manual recommends using a tripod but I have a very steady hand and found that resting against a electrical box on this sidewalk helped hold the camera steady as I shot the traffic passing by. I found this a fun option to play, as shown in the photo above using this function has the side effect of showing 3 ghostly images of any subjects in the frame that have moved between each shot. In this case the mini bus moving off at high speed to the distant horizon. I look forward to playing some more with this option and see if using it during the daylight could possibly be a cheap man's HDR mode (be sure to check out my previous HDR blog post for more details). Taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230HS

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to take HDR photos with a DSLR

If you are like me (and if you are there's no helping you!) you may have noticed a lot of buzz about HDR photography in the past 12 months. Having been suitably impressed by the results obtained by others using several multi-bracketed shots and combining their images of different exposures together to make one High Dynamic Range image I thought I would give it a go.

How to create an HDR image using a DSLR

Step1 What you'll need to follow along at home is a camera with the ability to take multiple shots at once (or very closely together). This is called exposure bracketing on my Pentax K200d camera this option is available by hitting the fn button then up arrow, and right arrow to select.

Check the manual of your DSLR or if you have a newer advanced P&S you might have a similar option. No such option exists on my Canon SX230HS however so I think most P&S photogs are going to be out of luck.

Note: You could still try your hand at HDR photography if no 'bracketing' option is available on your cam but you'll need a tripod and be willing to quickly navigate your camera's menu settings to adjust the exposure compensation settings between quickly shooting 3 or more consecutive images (for combining later in software). Be wary of moving subjects!

Step2 Now that you have your camera ready for taking 3 different exposed photos of the same subject you need to find something interesting that would be difficult to 'expose' correctly in just one shot, otherwise what's the point? So you'll notice lots of HDR photos of landscapes with vast blue skies, dark mountains (possibly snow topped) and light foreground fields of green grass and/or blooming flowers. Now that would be a difficult scene to capture in 1 go and expose the sky, middle and foreground correctly so by 'exposure bracketing' and hitting the shutter release button we'll get one image exposed as the camera thinks it should, one under exposed photo and one over exposed photo (not necessarily saved to your SD card in that order).

Image taken with +1.00EV (over exposed)

Image taken with -0.5EV (under exposed)

Image taken with 0EV (ie, exposed normally)

Step3 The magic now happens in software when combining your images together in to one HDR photo. This could be accomplished manually using techniques posted on several other blogs in Photoshop so I won't repeat that here or you can purchase (or try out a trial version) of some HDR software to easily to it for you. For the purposes of this blog post I'm trying out 'HDR Expose' which does the hard work for us but can still allow a certain level of tweaking if so required.

As you start up the application you will be prompted with a few options, we're going to choose to create/merge a new HDR image, then + and browse for the first of the 3 (or more images) you took earlier of various exposures for importing.

Tip: If you don't see your images make sure you choose FileType that matches your extension, in my case I chose JPEG to see the files saved by my camera) and I just used the default settings and just clicked 'merge' et voila I now had my first HDR photo and you could to!

Now, alas as I type this posting I haven't had the chance to hit the countryside surrounding Boston (it's just been too darn cold this week) but I did attempt the above technique with a less ideal subject, the Christmas tree that is on its last legs in our living room which was a very low light situation. Not an ideal subject but it will suffice for now.

The final result

Each frame shown above is combined and the end result is as below, I have to say I am not very impressed at all but I guess you get out what you put it. I will have to re-attempt the above technique on the Boston Skyline once I get a chance sometime later this month and update this post accordingly.