I've blogged about HDR before but briefly they are made by using a program to merge several different exposures levels of a scene. The different exposure levels may be created by using different shutter speeds on the camera to create separate under and over exposed images or by using a single image and then making copies with different exposure levels. Sometimes when I look at a scene I can tell that the dynamic range is greater than the camera can handle and I will take three shots at the time. Other times I will look at an image in post processing and see that it would be suitable for processing as a tone mapped HDR. The following images are a mixture of both types but mainly are taken from single images.
In the software there is a lot of control over how the images are merged which can range from realistic to surrealistic. In a realistic merge the aim might be to bring out some of the detail in the shadows and highlights, which a single image would lose due to the range of the tones. The human eye can see more than twice the range in tones as a camera so this can be a useful technique in certain conditions. In a surrealistic merge the aim is to push the contrast and saturation way past realism which gives the impression of a scene that has been painted with pastel colours and can give almost a cartoon like quality to some images.
On our first day in France we went for a walk around a village called St. Firmin and this image is of an old corrugated iron shed at the side of the road. I included this photo in the original holiday blog for day 1 but I felt that making a tone mapped image would add an extra dimension to it.