Bits. That is what it all comes down to: bits of color information. The more bits per pixel, the closer an image gets to the range we can see by eye. These days that number is 32, and generally requires several exposures from a digital camera to reach that depth. I remember the first High Dynamic Range (HDR) image I saw. It was a spectacular photo of a crane in a Japanese shipping yard, with hyper-real colors and a sharpness that made it look pretty much like an illustration.
he managed to squeeze out of the process was at least as spectacular; more so when you consider his methods were blindly based on notions of zones, a complete understanding of the chemistry involved, and all the darkroom skills it took in getting the image from negative to paper. But that is not what this is about… yet. I just took my first step into the world of HDR today, on a beautifully crisp day in southern California, and came up with a couple images without too much hassle at all.