In addition to the few days at Disney World, we also spent a couple at Universal Studios. One of the most impressive areas is Diagon Alley, which recreates a world in London, within the Harry Potter series. I’m not exactly a Harry Potter fan. I never read any of the books and I think I watched two of the movies. But this area within Universal was the most magical and made you feel like you got transported to another world. Incidentally, this dragon on top of the building is called an Ukrainian Ironbelly.
As an urban photographer, I’m attracted to places like this with rich details, even when it’s fictitious. I would love to shoot it on tripod and create high quality images. Alas, this area was impossibly crowded and I decided against tripod photography. On a whim, I attempted to create hand-held HDRs, like I did at Disney World, but under even more extreme conditions — it was a lot darker here.
Using my 9-18mm super wide-angle lens, I set a shutter speed at 1/3 of a second. The ISO ranged from 640 to an iffy 6400. The blended results surprised me. It certainly was better, with more details and dynamic range, than a single RAW image. It’s too bad I didn’t shoot more of these hand-held HDR brackets.
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