If you’ve followed my work over the past seven or eight years, you’d undoubtedly recall my obsession with HDR and tone-mapping. It became such an ingrained part of my workflow, that I eventually forgot the reasons why tone-mapping was so important to begin with. I just bracketed the hell out of everything without question and, as a result, a huge chunk of my storage container being used to house all those files.
Fortunately, I’ve evolved my workflow over the years and, more importantly, I forced myself to become intimately familiar with the capabilities of my camera. This didn’t just mean mastering its functionality in the field. It also meant that I had to become very comfortable with the files it puts out and to what extent I could manipulate the tonal data within those files.
With that achieved, I’ve reached a point where I have a much stronger and more accurate notion as to when tone-mapping would actually be beneficial. Aside from freeing up all sorts of space on my camera’s SD card and storage container, I also free up time in the field and at my computer that would otherwise be used to capture and process bracketed photos.
So, I challenge you to turn to your own workflows and take a close look at what you’re doing. Is there anything on autopilot that should be re-evaluated? I’m a firm believer that there is always room to refine and optimize your workflow and there’s no better time than now to do so.