One of the strengths of digital images is the ability to manipulate them, and with blending exposures together, this manipulation is exploited to its fullest. With film, the only way to deal with scenes of extreme contrast is either to let one area go too dark or light, or to use a graduated neutral density filter, with introduces the challenge of having an exposure change occur over a straight line. With digital however, there is a far simpler solution - blending two different exposures together into a final image. This is invaluable for high-contrast situations, such as a sunset, and permits the making of images which would have been impossible to create with film.
Combining blending with stitching is probably the most complex use of digital post production, but it makes the most of all the possibilities presented by the tools. Making two different exposures of the entire scene with a wide angle lens, one for the sky and sunset, and one for the foreground and water, was followed up with a third image, using a longer focal length, and focusing on the model along. The camera was not moved between the making of the three images, so even though the lens was changed, the perspective of the resulting image is unchanged, so the higher resolution image of the main focus of the photograph can be seamlessly incorporated in the final image (for the final print, the background image is upscaled to match the size of the third image, yielding a high-quality final image with interpolation only occurring to a high degree in the non-critical portions of the image.
In 2005, I began to blend images with different shutter speeds as well as different exposures, a technique which I call shutter blending.