The HDR Photographic Survey

Mark's Combo Image

Welcome to the HDR Photographic Survey

NEWS August 17, 2017: After a decade, it is reasonable to host all the RAW (.NEF) individual exposures for all the HDRPS images. Click here to download a .zip file (14+ GB). Please do continue to acknowledge the source as always. -Mark

This page is the home of the High-Dynamic-Range (HDR) Photographic Survey, a unique database of HDR photographs accompanied by detailed colorimetric/luminance measurements and visual appearance scaling from the original scenes. The images provide a range of content and challenges along with the fundamental data required to evaluate HDR imaging algorithms for both preference and accuracy reproduction. All images are have been placed in the public domain for non-commercial research purposes.

The name is inspired by the nineteenth century photographic surveys of the American west. More can be learned about them, and what has happened sinceat Third View.

There are 106 images in all; well beyond the initial goal of 40. Twenty-eight have accompanying colorimetric and appearance data. The remaining images have various data associated with them, but as a minimum have an absolute luminance calibration. The full set ofimages is now in place. Please let me know if you discover any broken links, missing files, typos, etc.

Some guidance for navigating ... Click on "Thumbnails" to the left to get a page with all the thumbnail images and links to a page for each image. The thumbnails are sorted by whether or not measurement data are included. When you reach an image page, you will see a mosaic at the top with each of the individual exposures that went into constructing the final HDR image. They are always separated by one stop in exposure. These give you some immediate visual idea of the dynamic range of the scene. Below that will be a brief description of the scene followed by links to the the HDR image (a large OpenEXR file, typically around 40MB), a scene data file if there is one (Excel file with all the data for that particular scene), a measurement map image file showing the locations that were measured (if any) and a mirror-ball image (a very large, around 70MB, 16-bit TIFF image of a mirror ball imaged at the location the shot was made ... useful for some people, just fun for others) if one was made. Finally, there is a rendered version of the scene at the bottom of the page. These were rendered using a local adaptation algorithm with some hand tuning of the tone-reproduction curves and saturation. Luminance multipliers to convert the OpenEXR data to absolute luminance are included in the data files or on the web page itself. If you need details on the system characterization or conversion to CIE XYZ values, click on "System Characterization". There is also a copy of a paper on the whole HDR Survey there.


Mark Fairchild (

Updated: October 13, 2008

Book CoverThe HDR Photographic Survey is also a book with my 40 favorite images along with some stories of how they were made. You can purchase your very own copy by clicking here. Proceeds will go to continue this research and maintain the website.

Movie FrameThe HDR Photographic Survey and the major trip west are the subject of a 25-minute video designed for a wide-format immersive display. The video was created and produced by the group in RIT's iPixLab, the Infinite Pixel Liberation Laboratory. You can download and view a QuickTime version of the video here. Please note that this video has been produced exclusively for non-commercial educational activities and should be treated as such. Click Here to Watch the Movie (210 MB).

The HDR Photographic Survey on flickr.

The HDR Photographic Survey is partially sponsored by ...

NSF LogoNational Science Foundation

Apple LogoApple

Kodak LogoKodak

Additional funding is always needed to maintain and update the database, so I would be happy to add more sponsors to this list ...

Copyright and Usage Notice

All images on this page, all pages linked from it, and in the HDRPS hierarchy below this page are
Copyright├â┬é├é┬ę 2006-2007 Mark D. Fairchild. All rights reserved.
These images, and their associated data, are made publicly available, free of charge, for research purposes and non-commercial publication in research journals, presentations, and conference proceedings. Any commercial publication of these images is prohibited. The source of the images, "Mark Fairchild's HDR Photographic Survey", shall be acknowledged in any publications based on research in which they were used.

A Zen Saying...
"When I was ignorant, the mountains and trees were just mountains and trees. When I began on the path to zen, the mountains and trees were so much more and implied so much more. When I at last became a master of zen the mountains and trees were just mountains and trees."