Monthly Archives: October 2010

HDR Side Effects


As I prepared for a talk this week on HDR photography, I started thinking about one of the issues I have personally dealt with when it comes to HDR photography. No not the “it’s not realistic” debate, but a side effect of shooting HDR – you can become photographically lazy. What do I mean by that?

You can allow it to effect you in many ways:

  1. You may not look as closely at the quality of  light in a scene. After all you can change the look of the lighting later in processing. You may not wait for the best light.
  2. You may not take the time to determine the best exposure. After all you can just shoot your set of HDR exposures and as long as you capture everything (per the histogram) you can deal with it later.
  3. You may take an image you should delete and try to process your way out of it. You know the images I am talking about.
  4. You can get hooked on the surrealistic HDR looks you can create (which are great fun) and forget the subtle enhancements you can do for that realistic look you wanted at the start (better highlights and shadows). This is not unlike the first time a photographer gets their hand on a saturation slider!

Am I saying not to shoot HDR? Of course not. But just beware and check yourself to make sure some of these side effects aren’t settling into your work. Try shooting non-HDR for a short time if you need to. Focus on honing your basic light observation skills and exposure skills again – they come back quickly.

Any of you know what I am talking about? What has been your experience with HDR?

Blog Image: This is a simple sample of using HDR to bring out very subtle detail in shadows and highlights but keeping it natural.

Posted in HDR Photography, Uncategorized

Empty Chair Emotions


Looking through a friend’s images on Flickr, I was reminded of how much impact an empty chair can have in an image. I just presented a brief talk at my local photo club on shooting and processing for emotional impact so I am thinking about it this morning.


I have shot quite a few empty benches, picnic tables, etc in my time. They seem to draw me in. Perhaps they represent  loss or grief, loneliness or maybe a place we wish to be. I know one client feels the later about the second image; so much so she ordered a large framed print. What do they say to you? What do they make you feel?

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Another Floral Fusion


Before the flowers are all gone,I wanted to create a couple more floral fusion images from my garden. One of my favorite flowers is the Windflower, shown above, that blooms late in the summer. Using moving textured glass techniques I created this  image by blending a straight high depth of field shot with one where the shutter speed was around a 1/2 sec with a moving piece of textured glass in between the camera and flower. No paint programs are involved.

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Blog_20100929_1As I have noted in previous blogs it pays to hang around after sunset. Once the golden hour has passed the blue hour begins. I continue to be amazed at how many photographers pick up their tripods and leave once the sun sets. That was the case at my recent sunset shoot at Bandon beach. Not to be critical, but they are missing out. Some of the most spectacular orange and blue tone combinations occur during this time. The blog image is just a taste of what can be seen. It was taken a good 30 minutes after sunset. Tripods required.

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Face in the Sun

Face rock on Bondon beach at sunset. This image required a bit of footwork to get to the place where the sun would set in the eye of Face rock. I had hoped to get a star burst on the eye, but multiple attempts failed. Instead I went with this look. It makes me think of a how it feels to put your face in the sun after a long period of cloudy days, which happens a lot in Oregon.

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More Tranquility

In my search for tranquility on a recent road trip, I found some at Bandon beach (Oregon) on a quiet morning before sunrise. Shooting on this highly photogenic beach you can feel a bit of pressure to create something totally new (hard to do at a place so photographed). I shot one sunset session a couple nights before in which I just got my feet wet (figuratively and physically) and found compositions weren’t flowing all that readily – at least not ones that intrigued me. I found the morning light much more to my taste.

The blog image is just one from that morning.

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Take a Look


Today I was introduced to the work of  a young (19 old)  photographer, Evan Sharboneau. He has a different and creative approach to photography. If you need to be inspired by some very unique images take a look at his work on the web. It can be found in multiple places:, blog at and

His work will just give you a taste of some of the radical things that can be done with all the tools available to the young photographer in the digital age. Just imagine the images that will be produced by the next generation of photographers.

Blog image: One of Evan’s images. See his blogs to see how it was made.

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Good News


I thought I would share the good news that I have been awarded  an exhibit next year at the Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center. This was a situation where my work was competing against art from many disciplines so I am very pleased. If you are in the area (Hillsboro Oregon), my work will be on exhibit all of June 2011. There will be two bodies of work on exhibit: Floral Fusions and Seasonal Immersions.

So how do I feel about it? This will be my first formal exhibit so I am grateful for the opportunity, excited and nervous. There will be a lot of work to do – I have been awarded the whole lower floor (20-30 prints needed). I will need to finalize my selections, print, matte and frame them. If things go well, hopefully there will be a couple of prints sold.

Leaves and Trees, Hoyt Arboretum, Portland Oregon

The blog images are samples from Floral Fusions and Seasonal Immersions respectively.

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Footwork and Dunes


One of the keys to finding good compositions is footwork. Using the zoom alone doesn’t cut it. Not fancy footwork, but just plain walking side to side, backward and forward, etc.  But when you are in the sand dunes, that footwork can be hard work. That was the case as I was shooting at the Oregon National Dunes last week.


The blog images illustrate one other thing. When shooting dunes, white balance can make a lot of difference. Even when shooting in the late afternoon with a warm sun, if you have a blue sky you can shift blue. I find that I like some images better warm and other with the cool blue shadows. Do you have a preference?

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