Breaking the ice with HDR brackets

The day of my New York City adventure with Brian, Steve and Jesse we walked for a while until I decided to break the ice and capture our first set of brackets for a HDR photograph. When I set up my Promote Control to capture more than 13 brackets, I was asked why. Why, with such a dynamic and vibrant scene, do I need so many brackets?

The simple answer: I (or you) don’t.

The lengthy answer: There are some situations, like this one, where I really like a scene enough to overshoot. I know – I know. I am an advocate for shooting what you need and not overshooting. However, there are times where I will as a precaution. It is rare, but it happens. For a photograph like this, that I really liked a lot, I want the extra brackets to make sure I can create the HDR I vision or see naturally.

And that is what I did.


In the end, I wound up using 5 exposures from the set of brackets I captured. When first running through Photomatix, I started with 3, then went to 4 but as it turned out, I needed 5.

This photograph broke the ice and the rest of the day was filled with even more brackets, more cell phone snaps, more jokes, conversations and inspiration from friends.

And for the takeaway

While I am an advocate for taking your time to consider the scene and situation as not to overshoot – don’t be afraid to be safe and break this rule. It can’t hurt, but I wouldn’t recommend it all the time.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,


This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Scott – this came out awesome. Those windows are awesome – I wish I would have bracketed but really glad you broke the ice :)

    1. They are pretty sweet. Such a fun day!

  2. Sounds like fun times. I always shoot more brackets than I expect I’ll need, just in case. You never know what results you get mixing and matching.

    1. You don’t always have to shoot more, but I find that sometimes I’m better safe than sorry. Usually I try to shoot just enough.

  3. I adore New York City, never been there, but I will definitely visit if I have time

    Those brackets have so much details.

    Beautiful photography, Scott

    Best wishes,


    1. Thank you. You’ll love New York.

  4. Love the repeating pattern and the soft glow the shadows give. Nice shot Scott.

  5. Good times! Haha I remember giving you a hard time with your 13 exposure bracketing, but like you assured me you probably wouldnt need them all. Came out good dude.

  6. Scott what kind of spacing do you use, also when your taking more brackets do you narrow the spacing?

    1. It depends on the scene. For this one I did 1 stop with 13 exposures. I wound up using 5 at 1 stop increments.

  7. The soft glow makes it great… awesome again scott

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