Monthly Archives: June 2009

The Future is HDR

As I continue explore HDR, I now understand why many photographers believe it is the future. It is when digital photography moves beyond its analog film roots. For some it is the same as the jump from B&W to color. In the end HDR will let you capture the full visible spectrum in a single image file. This is far beyond anything film can capture. These files will be the new RAW. Today we approximate this with multiple bracketed exposures that are combined into a single “HDR” file with SW tools like Photomatrix. A new dimension of creativity and artistry comes into play as the photographer maps (tone mapping) this HDR image into a display medium.: a print, a display, etc. These media are very limited in their luminance range so this mapping is necessary. I will begin explaining more about all of this in future blogs. For now, I have included another HDR image.

This image is shot toward a sunset on the other set of these trees. There was a beautiful haze between the mountains and the trees. With HDR you can still get all the layering in the haze, but still see some detail in the tree trunks. This is close to what I saw with my eyes. The second image here while nice, is a single exposure image, exposed for the haze.
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Flower Power

I like shooting flowers. Maybe that is because I am a gardener. But it may be more than that. I love the bright colors and beautiful images you can create. My flower photography definitely took a big step forward when I took a Better Photo course from Tony Sweet on Fine Art Flower Photography. I highly recommend this course, the techniques used apply to much more than flowers. I have included a couple recent flower images on this blog. Hope you enjoy them.
The first image is simply a unique blue thistle I found at the nursery sitting by our bright orange Adirondack chair. This created a great color combination.

The second image is of three yellow lilies from the garden sitting in front of some pink peonies with an sheet of textured glass in between the camera and the lilies. To create the sharp stamens for the point of focus I shot a second image without the glass and used Photoshop layers to create the image.
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HDR Illustrative Look

I have had a little time to play with some of my recent images from Washington state. Specifically a little HDR processing. As I have noted before I use Photomatrix for processing my HDR images. One of the things you can do is use it with most of the sliders max’d out is to create a more illustrative look. This it turns out can be done with images shot for HDR (multiple exposures at different EVs) or with simple single exposure images. I have put one of each here in the blog. This first is of the Mt. Rainer train steam engine. This is a single exposure image that has been passed through Photomatrix’s tone mapping multiple times. The second is an HDR shot of an old Chevy truck it was also processed multiple times. Fun look.
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Road Trips

My wife and I like to take road trips for our vacations. We have a small T@B trailer we hitch to our pickup. We pick a general area and direction and go explore. The past two weeks we explored more of eastern and central Washington state. This included the Palouse, Spokane, Rosevelt Lake, Leavenworth and Mt Rainier areas. As usual I get up early and photograph. I have found that my success in generating strong images on the road is mixed. Not knowing the areas well it takes sometime to find good subjects at the right time of day, etc. Sometimes I feel too much pressure when trying to photograph. This is especially true when I visit some photographic hot spot for first time (Glacier NP, Yellowstone, etc). I find this eases when I get to spend at least three days at a location. It is even better if I get to return another time altogether. So I have found that I actually enjoy my morning photo sessions better when I am just out exploring some obscure place.
Has this been your experience?

I have included a couple of my trip images. The top image is classic Palouse and the bottom is a Mt Rainier reflection.

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