In this paper, the potential, limitations and applicability of the High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography technique are evaluated as a luminance mapping tool. Multiple exposure photographs of static scenes were taken with a commercially available digital camera to capture the wide luminance variation within the scenes. The camera response function was computationally derived by using Photosphere software, and was used to fuse the multiple photographs into an HDR image. The vignetting effects and point spread function of the camera and lens system were determined. Laboratory and field studies showed that the pixel values in the HDR photographs correspond to the physical quantity of luminance with reasonable precision and repeatability.