Drones and dynamic range

Published: 4/27/2019

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What is dynamic range?

Dynamic range is the ratio between the largest and smallest values that a certain quantity can assume. It is often used in the context of signals, like sound and light.
Wikipedia

High dynamic range (HDR) is a technique used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than is possible with standard digital imaging or photographic techniques.
Wikipedia

When I fly my drone, I always set it to take 5 AEB (auto exposure bracketing) shots. The Mavic Pro is steady enough that de-ghosting algorithims are able to align the shots without issue.

Over Memorial Day weekend my wife and I drove down California State Route 25. It is a gorgeous drive, and only added an extra hour on our way back to Los Angeles from the Bay Area. We stopped a few times along the way to take in the scenery, giving me time to launch my drone and grab some shots.

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Individually, these are nothing special. But after the exposures have been tone-mapped, we get something really cool.

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The colors pop, and the image takes on life of its own. The deep blue sky, the rippling shadows coursing through the grass, the lush green following the weekends unexpected rain. I'll be processing the rest of the images I took throughout the trip, and I look forward to publishing them along the rest of my aerial photography.

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