The Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship

Is this HDR or not?

Do you think this photo is HDR or not?  It’s the second photo I have released with the Nikon D800 with it’s 36 megapixel extremeness!  I’ll leave it open for debate for a while… you may enjoy watching the discussion over on Google+ as well!

Daily Photo – The Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship

And speaking of that… I am here on the maiden voyage of the Disney Fantasy.  It’s an amazing ship (50% bigger than the other ships) and a great playground for photographers!  Forget the kids!  In fact, I almost did a few times… but they are having fun in all the kids’ clubs…  Well… I have a ton to talk about and show… but busy busy busy with photos and not much internet!  Anyway, debate away on whether or not this is HDR…  Either I’m tricking you, I double-tricking you, or something unknowable… I look forward to coming back and seeing what you think!

  • Oh wow!! Awesome shot of the ship! I’d say it’s hdr – but what do I know?? I do know you are probably having more fun than the kids!

  • MattMacias

    My first thought was no, then I was like it has to be hdr. Now its back to no..hmmmm Its a beautiful shot either way.

  • Brandon Watts

    I would say that’s not a tonemapped image but rather a manual blend of certain elements from a small percent of exposures. Am I right or am I right?

  • Don’t think (actually know for sure! [*]) this is HDR! Great picture. Where are all the kids and their parents?

    [*] Check the chromatic aberration in the upper left corner, near the light. It  is much to clean if this was an HDR, as the HDR process tends to exaggerate and “uglify” the CA.

  • Casper van Zyl

    I would say no ,that you have just made adjustments within the camera, but then who am I to judge when I’m not even a novices, novice!!!!
    I like the photo anyway.

  • Nonac_eos

    It depends on the definition of HDR. If we assume that a normal dynamic range scene has 7-9 stops, a middle dynamic range one 9-12 stops and a high dynamic range 12-16 or more, I would probably say no (if we exclude the light bulbs) since it is an pure interior scene.
    If you (I don’t mean you Trey! 😉 ) stich or tonemap together 48 exposures of a scene that has 6 stops of dynamic range, it doesn’t mean that you get an hdr image. It means that you are wasting resources, time and energy.
    I personally use the HDR tecnique only in case I recognize that the scene I want to capture exceeds the capturable dynamic range of my poor camera.
    The so-called “HDR look” can be easily emulated in Lightroom or similar software by filling the shadows, recovering lights and by applying multiple times the clarity filter.
    The word HDR is too often abused in my opinion.

  • Apparently the D800 can record two differing exposures siumltaneously to enable easier hdr post processing. Can you report on the effectiveness of this feature and was it involved in the making of the above shot?!



  • Awesome shot. Great colors. Super light. Could it be a new in-camera HDR mode? Would you do that, Trey – triple-trick us?

  • HDR or not HDR, the real question is when can I go on this cruise.  It looks AWESOME!

    Have fun!

  • Cool shot, Trey… I reckon it’s not HDR!

  • kentoney

    Trey, I have photos taken with the D800 that were mistaken for HDR, I think this is not. The dynamic range of D800 is crazy!

  • Dan Roads

    Stop selling the D800 to me Trey! haha…. I have seriously considered getting rid of the 7D and going for a D800… Thats A MASSIVE move for a Canon fan. 

    I’d say this isn’t a HDR but a single RAW fine tuned to perfection :). Well… a Single .NEF should I say. hehe

  • Karen Brown

    Might be photo stacking

  • I say HDR.  However superb processing and I really love the shot.

  • I don’t know if it’s HDR or not, but it sure looks like a beautiful place to be.  I would love to go on that cruise ship!!!  Great job, Trey!!!  Have a good Easter week.

  • I’m going to go with, yes… it is HDR. BUT I think you’ve “behaved yourself” here and haven’t gone to town on the processing. I’m liking it Trey, very clean. Make sure you fill us in now won’t ya, don’t leave us hanging : )

  • Hi Trey, my vote is that it was not processed with Photomatix…whether you used one or more exposures, I don’t know what to say.  My question is what time did you take this pic to have no people in it…2-3am?  Lisa

  • I’m gonna guess NOT HDR. Not sure why, but it seems to lack that HDR dazzle, especially at the hands of Trey. I think with the D3x and his usual processing (not that he always processes things the same, I just mean his “classic” processing), this is just a little boring, IMHO. It’s all very detailed and all, but it just doesn’t sparkle.

  • I say HDR

    Disney should use your photo instead of the one on their website –

  • It’s gotta be “in camera” HDR.  And while it worked great here, Nikon should’ve realized that HDR is typically done with more than 2 exposures.  And how about that D800?  Wow!  Trey, I think you got some mud on your face from that scathing post about not buying any of these new (and amazing) breeds of DSLR’s.  And now, look who’s got one right when all the pre-orders just got shipped???  Look, I generally agreed with you but not the timing of your prediction.  This new breed of DSLR is certainly going to be relevant for a while.

  • I was glad to see that you and your family made it onto the ship.  Enjoy it she is a beautiful ship–we look forward to your photos

  • hmmm… sweet shot!   When I showed it to Dina (my Disney nut wife) she’s like “how the heck did he get on the ship with no one there?”
    I was just like “yeah, he does that.   photography ninja.”  

    Heck I can’t tell but I’m going to guess this is some non-HDR handheld single-Rawness with maybe a little details and color tweaking in Nik.  

  • I have to agree with the ‘mud on face’ comment.  Loophole or not, you write a post like that and then immediately turn around and buy the next DSLR Nikon releases you loose some credibility.  I still visit your site often, you post great work.

    I think you should write a new post that the DSLR is not dead 😉

  • I will say, not HDR, Topaz Adjust.  

  • meryl colaco


  • Not HDR because of dark areas, but probably adjusted with Topaz

  • meryl colaco


  • Stephen Clarke

    I’m going with NOT a traditional ‘Trey style’ (5 shot -2 to +2) HDR. 
    I think that if I am wrong and this is in fact a Trey style HDR, then it was certainly not processed in Photomatix.  I know that Trey does not use NIK’s HDR Efex Pro, but if he did, that might explain the ‘less pop’ type of  look to this photo.

    Actually, I do hope that this is not an HDR, but a single NEF, because if that is the case the D800 is one awesome camera.  That would be pretty darned impressive dynamic range for a single shot.


  • Jeremie Schatz

    Not HDR. He wouldn’t ask if it was! On the other hand, you can process HDR’s in many ways so of course there is no real way to know. Would love to play with the D800 but not sure I’d trade my D700 for one….yet.

  • Patrick Mc Donnell

    I’d say this is the in-camera “Image overlay” mode on the D800 with either a) a VERY early start [4.00/5.00 am] to minimise people or 2) very long exposure times/10 stop ND filter to stop the people registering on the sensor.  Either way a lovely shot and one which shows off the abilities of the new body very well!

  • Marc P

    This is surely not a Photomatix tonemapped image! 😉 

  • mikael hannes Zuntag

    perhaps it has been in various forms along the cgi pathwayz

  • Awesome retouch. I couldn’t find your trick 🙁

    Nikon Baby

  • Daniel Gibson

    Sure it is HDR, there is detail in the highlights and the shadows are dark and detailed, but that isn’t the real question.  The real question is whether the dynamic range was extended in post from multiple images, or that the D800 has that much range in one image out of the camera?

    My vote is single image, out of the camera.

  • Ian Minshall

    If this isnt HDR then what settings for this. I guess its a processed RAW though?

  • treyratcliff

    Yes – it is NOT HDR – All Lightroom….

  • Of course it’s not an HDR image. It’s an LDR (JPEG) – a result of a tonemapped MDR (RAW) file.

  • err who cares!? I cant see why you HDR guys cream your pants so much about seeing into the shadows, HDR looks terrible and hold no artistic merit. Its just a fad. 

  • HDR has its uses…  For example, imagine this shot without HDR.

  •  Chocolate box pic but point taken, seems lots of people like this type of thing.

  •  Good Morning Trey,
    you told it’s not HDR but you made in Lightroom. How you did it? How many shoots did you take? I mean can you explain the complete process this photo have been through?
    Thanks for all you suggestions you will share with me, I love your works and you give me different perspectives and creative stuffs. Btw, are you coming in Milan, Italy? 😉 It would be awesome to joinf one of your seminar.

    Thanks again, have a sweet funny day.
    Francesca F..

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