PetaPixel

HDR Photo of Endeavour Liftoff by NASA

Here’s a good example of when HDR photography is useful: NASA created this image of the Space Shuttle Endeavour lifting off for the final time by combining six separate photographs.

Each image was taken at a different exposure setting, then composited to balance the brightness of the rocket engine output with the regular daylight levels at which the orbiter can be seen. The processing software digitally removes pure black or pure white pixels from one image and replaces them with the most detailed pixel option from the five other images. This technique can help visualize debris falling during a launch or support research involving intense light sources like rocket engines, plasma experiments and hypersonic vehicle engines. [#]


Here are the six photographs that went into making the image:

Here’s a comparison of the image next to a non-HDR photo. Notice how there’s absolutely no information in the flames coming out of the engine.

The imaging experts also made a slow-motion video of the launch in HDR. Check it out over on the NASA website.

Ames Imaging Experts Create Unique Views of STS-134 Launch (via Foto Actualidad)


 
  • Guest

    How did they take six photos simultaneously of a space shuttle taking off? If the images were taken with the same camera, the smoke and the shuttle itself would have moved between image 1 and 6?

  • Anonymous

    Well at the beginning of liftoff I believe the speed of the shuttle isn’t that fast yet, and with that amount of light coming off the fire, even the most exposed photo had to have been at a really fast shutter speed. :)

  • Gary

    It’s … an awful example of HDR, sorry.

  • http://www.photoblog.com/bergur Bergur

    Good to see NASA doing something useful with all of their fancy cameras!

  • http://www.photoblog.com/bergur Bergur

    You’d think, but with todays technology and NASA’s budget, they’re easily able to shoot 6 images within the time needed to do this.I know it’s not the actual case, but six images shot at 1/8000th of a second don’t need to be spread out more than 6/8000th of a second, and that, I’d imagine isn’t a noticeable change in the image.

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    Perhaps 6 cameras with super telephoto lenses triggered at the same time?

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    Perhaps 6 cameras with super telephoto lenses triggered at the same time?

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    Perhaps 6 cameras with super telephoto lenses triggered at the same time?

  • Vgkgk

    i think it’s a waste of public money

  • http://www.tyleringram.com Tyler

    With software like Photomatix Pro you can have it remove ghosting artifacts pretty well. It can see the variety of movement from all images and then pick the one it wants to keep so that the other images, the movement is sorta “cloned” out.  So it is possible to have an HDR without ghosting (within reason of course).

  • Tom

    With a camera capable of 7 or 8 frames per second, or more, this would easily be taken before the shuttle actually left the pad, which looks to be the case here. Great capture of a fleeting moment. I do agree that it has scientific usefullness in seeing flame characteristics but it has little artistic merit from an HDR perspective.

  • Tom

    Oops. So much for supposition. Read the caption to the video. The answers are all there.

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    Oops, as Tom states below, the post actually tells us,

    “Imaging experts funded by the Space Shuttle Program and located at NASA’s Ames Research Center prepared this video by merging nearly 20,000 photographs taken by a set of six cameras capturing 250 images per second at the STS-134 launch on May 16, 2011. From seven seconds before takeoff to six seconds after, the cameras took simultaneous images at six different exposure settings. The images were processed and combined in this video to balance the brightness of the rocket engine output with the regular daylight levels at which the orbiter can be seen. The processing software digitally removes pure black or pure white pixels from one image and replaces them with the most detailed pixel option from the five other images. This technique can help visualize debris falling during a launch or support research involving intense light sources like rocket engines, plasma experiments and hypersonic vehicle engines. ”

  • Pingback: Last Space Shuttle Launch Captured In Stunning HDR | Gizmodo Australia()

  • http://grizzzzzzle.blogspot.com/ Chris

    You do realize that they don’t take these photos for our amusement, right? They’re actually for the analysis of the launch itself, to look for damage during takeoff. They’ve been doing this for many more years than the public has had access to decent digital imagery.

  • http://profiles.google.com/slimspidey Spider- Man

    With all the useless spending in the govt, this is what bothers you LOL

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Martinez/680001275 Jonathan Martinez

    very poor hdr but great attempt….

  • http://twitter.com/Wallerus Sam Wallace

    Anyone else notice the other article about $8000 Nikons being left in space to burn up, yet they can’t get enough FPS to catch some decent flames? Waste of talents and dollars.

  • Lee

    Umm… last time I checked HDR stood for High Dynamic Range, not make me an awesome looking shot. HDR is such an over and often times poorly used technique these days. This example is a perfect case for HDR. No camera sensor in the world is capable of capturing the High Dynamic Range of this shot because of the intensity of the engines. An HDR image is the only way to see the entire scene in full detail. In my opinion, this image looks better than most so called HDR images I see… For artistic usage, HDR is better as a subtle post technique. NASA isn’t trying to win any artistic merits with their HDR imagery. It actually serves a legitimate purpose, unlike the majority of over done HDR photography out there…

  • new era hats
  • beatser

    less he mlb shop agrees with all