Selective DRI Masking vs HDR - DRI Version
I've been requested to demonstrate the differences between my selective DRI masking technique and standard HDR (Photomatic).
This is my specific selective DRI masking technique which I've presented at a few workshops and in the classes I teach and first things to point out is that you only need a single RAW image to use DRI.
You can use multi images, and I could have combined layer blending to get a little more of the subtle details out of the clouds compared to the HDR version. The biggest advantage with DRI is the sharpness. Since it isn't combining multiple images, it reduces the ghosting and misregistration that happens in HDR and of course you can control the precise location of where you want the effect by using gradient masks. The gravel in the bottom right corner exhibits less more neutral balance.
The clouds are more dramatic using DRI only because this is a single exposure, while HDR combines the images, which created a more dreamy soft (velvety) look to it. It might be more subjective to each person of which one they prefer. For me, the fact that I can get near identical results of HDR with a single exposure is reason enough to use selective DRI Masking
I should also mention that if you're doing a slideshow comparison it will look different because I did apply a lens profile adjustment on the DRI version. I forgot to do that before I ran it through Photomatix on the HDR version. So you'll see some of the barrel distortion in this version has been eliminated and a little cropped as a result with less peripheral illumination errors.