Just what is HDR and why is everybody talking about it? HDR is high dynamic range imaging and it allows the photographic artist greater flexibility in presenting a image where one could not be generated because of existing conditions such as too little or too much light.
HDR: An Introduction To High Dynamic Range Photography is an O'Reilly Short Cuts e-book written by Jack Howard. Howard is the Associate Online Editor of PopPhoto.com and PopularPhotography and Imaging. The Short Cuts series is a no nonsense offering that brings to you clear, concise training on one specific topic; in this case HDR.
The book is 57 pages long, and the e-book format is conducive to it being produced in color. Howard begins with an introduction and the statement that there are over 100,000 images tagged on Flickr as HDR. If you look now, it is over 135,000, so this technique is growing fast.
He then debunks common myths about HDR such as "images always look artificial and overworked." To this he says that it is not true and follows up by saying, in effect, that it is really the quality of the images one begins with as well as how they are worked using HDR practices that determines the quality of output.
This is really what this e-book is all about. The author shows you how to create the best source images using camera bracketing methods. Since you are using multiple files to create an image, the author shows you how to organize your files in the most efficient manner. This is very important since you will be using raw files and things can quickly get out of hand.
HDR: An Introduction To High Dynamic Range Photography explores three software packages that can be used to create your HDRI; Photomatix Pro, Adobe Photoshop CS2, and FDRTools Advanced. He describes the pro's and con's of each and what type of user would benefit from each one. Howard then finishes up with handling final adjustments of your HDR output image.
If you are wanting to get up to speed on HDR without spending the forty or fifty dollars for a full fledged book, HDR: An Introduction To High Dynamic Range Photography is the way to go. You can get the e-book from the O'Reilly website.