What’s new in photography usually isn’t. For example, the solutions to HDR scenes have been around longer than digital cameras–or even film cameras!
Photographic pioneer Gustave Le Gray found solutions to troublesome contrast in images that is exactly what we do today.
Like many other photographers of this time, Le Gray was discovering what this new and exciting medium could do. He explored various subject matter while improving the technical aspects of photography. He is credited with being the first to wax his paper negatives to achieve a crisper printed image. The wax minimized the texture of the paper so the details in the image would be more evident.
Le Gray’s loveliest images featured his most successful technical solution. Le Gray made a series of seascapes that at first frustrated him. The materials at the time (collodion on glass, I believe) could capture the lovely sea or the serene sky, but not both. Le Gray solved this exposure latitude problem by printing the sky into the image of the sea long after taking the picture. He even mixed and matched the seas and skies.