High Dyanamic Range (HDR) lighting is all the rage in next-gen video games these days, and Half life Lost Coast (Valve) was one of the notable firsts to demonstrate it around 12 months ago.
Half life lost coast screen.
Essentially HDR allows different intensities of light to be shown in an image than you would normally achieve. In addition, the effect of “blooming” (where strong light bleeds into the the surrounding image) is quite stunning and really adds to the realism. It’s noticable in many Xbox 360 games these days.
Anyway, here’s a fantastic blog from Ryan McGinnis explaining how to use HDR in photography using Photoshop. Take 3 seperate shots at different exposures with your digi camera, and away you go. (Another reason to go out and buy a decent digital SLR).