Shooting a Rocky Beach in HDR with Trey Ratcliff

Trey Ratcliff is the well-known and well-loved HDR photographer behind the travel photography blog Stuck in Customs, and in this behind-the-scenes video he talks you though his gear and how he sets up a few shots of this rocky beach in the Virgin Islands. The video offers some great insight into Trey’s thought process as he composes the resulting HDR images, one of which you can see in higher resolution (including some 100% crops) here.

Behind the Scenes – British Virgin Islands [YouTube]

  • Jørgen Kløvstad

    In most cases HDR looks awful. This was no exception.

  • Just sayin…

    That was terrible. People pay him money?

  • hdrbarf

    99.9% of ppl who “do” HDR do it wrong. Overcooked crap. Sad.

  • wickerprints

    I understand that the “HDR look” has its admirers, so all I will say about it is that it’s not to my taste and it doesn’t reflect my personal vision of how I’d like my images to look.  Clearly, he likes his results and that’s his prerogative, so it’s not my place to judge the legitimacy of his work.

    The problem I have with this “behind the scenes” video, though, is that it’s incredibly…boring.  Even if you like the results he gets, he rambles on and on about mostly useless or simplistic details, and you have to wait over 3 minutes (out of a 4:40 video) to see an example of his work.  There actually isn’t any real insight being offered here.  HDR is almost entirely about processing, which he doesn’t discuss.  If you’re at the level where the photography tips he’s sharing in this video are useful to you, then you need to learn the basics of photography, not how to turn your images into HDR to mask your lack of technique.

  • Brent Schmidt

    People still like HDR? 

  • haohe382
  • Dan Howard

    I don’t care what anyone says, HDR NEVER…EVER… looks good… EVER!

  • Mark Wheadon

    Do any of you guys ever think that some of the images you like may have elements of HDR tone mapping in them but done subtly? That “HDR never looks right” may actually be “HDR I notice never looks right”?


  • AntonyShepherd

    I’ve seen a very few images which I would not have thought were HDR had the accompanying text not told me so.
    My rule of thumb is that if you can tell it’s HDR then it’s too much HDR.
    Most HDR pictures out there do seem to have turned everything up to 11 and look hideous, though.

  • Justin Manteuffel

    How’s that closed-mindedness working out for you?

  • ojasray

    Quick questions – how would a canon user take multiple bracketed images similar to what he did from -3 to + 3 (7 images) without touching the camera?

  • Peterparkerorp

    By purchasing a Nikon.

    *Note: If you really prefer Canon you can get around this by having a really nice, secure tripod and touching the camera a bunch.

  • Seth Christie

    Not all Canon camera support this. The 5D mk III does however… so you could do that. Or the new 1DX. Not sure if the 1DMkIV does… anyone know?

  • Joey Duncan

    I don’t mean to be a jerk about this…………… But read your manual, if your camera is new enough you’ll have the ability.

  • Kennuf

    HDR, like so many “new” techniques in photography” can be over utilized until folks get it out of their system. Remember when “way-too-many” photos were treated with saturation? How about “sloppy border” prints from the darkroom days?
     I’ve found HDR (used at low levels) VERY useful in existing light interior architectural photography when windows are included in the image…the balance t’ween exterior and interior illumination is much easier to obtain, although the color-balance challenge remains.Since I’m neither interested in nor “abilitied” in post-processing techniques, I’m delighted that my Pentax DSLR has built-in HDR capabilities allowing selection from two different levels and pushing the shutter release once automatic shooting and blending blending of 3 different exposures.Anyhow…IF you don’t like HDR…DON’T USE IT AND DON’T LOOK AT HDR PHOTOS! And quit critizing folks who do enjoy it.

  • Philip Han

    Buy a remote or use an intervalometer with custom settings like a TriggerTrap.

    I use the Nikkos by Phottix (not Nikon)

  • Lightads

    That depends what Canon camera you have. You may want to try Magic Lantern firmware.

  • John Massaria

    … HDR has its place, and some people like it. I personally don’t like to photoshop too much and bracketing can help bring out detail, but when it looks like a cartoon, it’s too much HDR. Here are 3I have done….
    if done modestly, I think HDR can tell a better story


  • Nikolai

    Jørgen Kløvstad has an HDR image as wallpaper on Twitter.