HDR: Some Caveats
Another lesson you quickly learn with HDR is that movement within the scene is bad. Photomatix Pro and other HDR tools often feature routines that will minimize camera shifting if you’re shooting freehand, ghosting if your subject moves, the variations in a body of water’s surface, and so on, but none of these is perfect. The image shown here demonstrates a four-exposure HDR. This was also shot freehand with the camera braced against a post, under malicious fluorescent lighting, in a room full of moving people. While I’m no pro by any stretch, I suspect this environment and HDR simply don’t go together.
Throughout the years of using my Canon Rebel, I’d never before noticed that its shutter release was strong enough to physically jar the camera. I tried several times to set up a bracket sequence with the camera resting on a table, but the mechanical action of the shutter would repeatedly move the camera a fraction of an inch, often causing my exposures to improperly align. I soon realized that having a good quality tripod was essential to any serious HDR efforts. I know I said that the object here was to keep things cheap, and there are lots of acceptable, cheap tripods out there, particularly used. But if you want to pursue HDR, consider investing in a decent means of keeping your shots stable.