It is very disappointing when you are shooting mixed scenarios where there are dark and light areas all over it. Photos are not right, bright parts are overexposed if you want that the dark ones to appear or dark areas are underexposed because bright parts are looking good. For example a sunset, a moon landscape or even a Christmas tree. Our eyes are used to see in HDR mode but the camera doesn't capture what we see, after all, it is just a sensor.
HDR images are the kind of images that have managed to let you enjoy the dark and bright parts of a scene. They are the product of a post-edition.
In this article, I will explain how to produce an HDR photo taking advance of the AEB capability of modern digital cameras and post-editing with Darktable. Please note I am a Canon user, if I use their terms just translate them to other brands. I am also an open-source advocate myself, do not expect I write for any other commercial proprietary software.
These photos were taken using a Canon 90D using a prime lens 50mm f/1.8. The camera had the D+ enabled (a personal preference; thus, ISO 200 is the minimum I could use). The EXIF information as follows: 1/10s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 200.
One of the most exciting things I think modern photography has is the ability to make special effects thanks to the computer. I have always been fascinated by mixing colour with blank & white elements. So, after giving a fast reading to the Darktable 3.2 manual, I found a way to create the effect I want: blank and white but one colour.
Who doesn't remember that dark scene of the Schindler's List film where a girl in a red jacket is walking. Then a few minutes later, you identify her corpse from a pile of bodies. Well, I will show how to make this happen, but with a more joyful image.
The picture above was taken by me with my Canon 90D in the last Christmas Parade 2020 in my local city. The left picture is the original JPEG from the camera, the middle one is the product of the RAW processed with Darktable and the right one is the same photo with the additional effect of a monochrome photo while keeping red-orange colours. There it is what I did.
If you are into Linux and Photography (some of us are) and you, like me, have a not very old Canon camera, you may see that the RAW files are not longer CR2 files, but with extension CR3. CR3 raw format is the new replacement for CR2 that comes with all Digic8 chipsets. In my very specific case, with my Canon 90D.
I was amazed by the quality of this camera (I come from a Canon 200D aka SL2 that has a Digic7 chip). Canon did a good job from version 7 to 8. However, here it comes the issues, I saved my photos in CR3 format, and when going to my desktop, not KDE, nor Darktable (current version 3.2.1 when writing this article) were able to recognize it. Windows is not an option for me.