Trey Ratcliff, HDR, Kittens, The Austin Photography Group

You kill a kitten every time you make a bad HDR image.

You kill a kitten every time you post a bad HDR image.

Blog post should be succinct and limited in scope. I’ll try. No promises.

The Austin Photography Group holds a meeting the second Sunday of every month here in Austin. Their meetup website: I’ve been wanting to go for months and I finally did. It was worthwhile.

Trey Ratcliff, fellow Austinite, HDR guru, the man behind, author of a new book on HDR and all around nice guy presented HDR stuff at the meeting.

Until I saw this I was a firm believer that a kitten dies every time you make an HDR photo. Now, I just believe that a kitten dies every time you post a BAD HDR photo. I recall that Trey used the term ‘amped’ in his presentation. I’ll stick with bad. If it’s amped then I don’t like it because I find it bad and you have killed a kitten.

Bad photographs, whether HDR or not, will be bad, and good ones will be good.  The problem is HDR is in it’s fad state now and it’s pretty easy to take a bad-to-mediocre photo and turn it into an ‘amped’ up POS.  HDR has been around a long time.  The idea of compressing a full  range  image into a print  was codified by Ansel Adams and his zone system.

In a nutshell: HDR is a processing tool that can assist in creating an image that better represents what the photographer saw / envisioned in the scene.   Like any processing tool it can also be put to really bad use and take out lots of kittens along the way.

Trey has killed his share of cute furry creatures. There are probably some bad HDR pics in the book, I don’t know as I haven’t read it, but the book is for learning and it is important to share and learn from mistakes.

Just keep them off of Flickr.

If you are intersted in HDR photography then head over to and read and practice using his free HDR tutorial.

Save the kittens!

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