This is my first attempt at blending an HDR photo to remove the halo artifact that that frequently appears where the sky meets hard edges. In the photo below I did my best to minimize the halo with highlight smoothing in Photomatix, but it is still there.
Here is the same photo after masking the sky and blending it with the -2 RAW exposure. Much improved!
When I was a resident back in 1988, I wrote a hypertext authoring system for MS-DOS called HYTEXT. That was a time of 80 x 24 line monochrome displays and command line interfaces. I knew nothing about networks at the time, but I did create a mark-up language that anticipates HTML in many ways. I recently came across a paper copy of my original documentation and thought it would be a good idea to reproduce a few pages here for posterity. The original program and documentation are on 5.25 inch floppy discs that I have no way to read. But I googled it and found my 22 year old file online!
Here’s a bit of astronomical lore I picked up a few years ago. I learned the sky at summer camp; I have looked through numerous telescopes over the years; I even took an astronomy class in college—but no one ever pointed out the Andromeda Galaxy (the most distant and largest object we can see with our naked eyes!). So I invented my own way to find it using the triangle in Cassiopeia as my pointer. This is a great target for binoculars!
We are somewhat spoiled by all the great astronomical photography out there. Once you find it, Andromeda is a dim, fuzzy snowball with a halo. But consider these facts: it is 2.5 million light years away, it is 220,000 light years across, and it contains over one trillion stars! Now go back and think about what you are seeing. It is so huge that even at that distance it is much larger than anything else in the night sky save the moon!