Either the sky was over blow or the subjects would be way under exposed. So time to try HDR. For those new to HDR there is plenty on the web about the what and how of HDR, this blog post is just my first experience, the tools I used and the results.
Let me say from the outset that, as with most things photographic, I'm a newbie. This was really my first crack at HDR, certainly with this body. Constructive comments are welcome.
I have the Canon 1D-X set-up to bracket -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, and 3. So a bracket of 7 shots at 1 stop intervals.
First I import into Aperture and usually do not touch the images - simply export to full sized jpegs. I used Bracketeer to combine the images into a single HDR image. I have to say that there are a lot of knobs and buttons on this software and none of them are very clear. I mainly fiddle with the "Mu" and "Sigma" sliders which change the look of the combined image - a more user friendly interface would be helpful.
What Bracketeer seems to do very well is auto-align the images. I was careful to hold as still as possible taking the shots, and the 1D-X's high ISO performance lets you use higher ISO's so faster shutter speeds but it is impossible to keep perfect alignment during a 7 shot burst no matter who you are or what gear you have. So Bracketeer get 5 stars for this feature.
Then I import the tiff files back into Aperture. Becuase the lighting was so flat to begin with the HDR images come out pretty flat using Bracketeer. Some HDR software boost saturation as part of the process but Bracketeer doesn't seem to. So on most of the images I bumped saturation, mid-contrast and definition.
The results are pretty good for a first go.
Here's my favorite. And below is a link to all the HDR shots from the trip.
Link to Album