Tag Archives: nonhdr
I found this really cool cascade driving along one morning on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, just outside of Gatlinburg, TN. It was really early and very cloudy so I was able to shoot a long exposure without putting my ND filter on. I climbed down into the water to get a nice vantage point and then set my camera to expose for 20 seconds at f/16. The water was nice and silky and the surrounding land around it wasn’t underexposed. Overall I was very pleased.
I hope everyone has a good day.
Morning everyone. This is a crazy week so a lot of post and go this week I’m afraid. However I wanted to share this picture of the Cheltenham Badlands. It’s a bizarre place – erosion due to poor farming practices in the past exposed all the shale formations under the soil. It looks like the surface of mars only with annoyingly green weeds and ugly trees. I decided to leave them out of the frame and just concentrate on the ground.
Special thanks to new friend Kevin Pepper who invited me along. Kevin is working with my good buddy Rick Sammon on a very cool trip to Catatumbo Lightning expedition in Venezuela. I really need to save up for that trip. How freakin cool is that??
Still digging through my images. I really like this shot, but what keeps it from being “killer” in my mind was my position – I was too high. Not that I was allowed to get closer mind you, but if only I was at ground level this could have been amazing.
I did tilt my camera a bit on a diagonal for this shot to give it some extra visual umph. I didn’t go “crazy” with that trick, but just enough to frame the car in a more interesting manner. Easy trick, decent results.
Back from a great weekend in Cleveland. Great classes, great food, great photo opportunities. Hard to believe how much got crammed into one long weekend. In the span of a few days I:
- Had the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten at Luchitas Mexican Restaurant (and I’ve eaten Mexican food from LA to New York)
- Saw a winning baseball game 5 rows from the field
- Watched an excellent fireworks display over the city
- Discovered one of the greatest cups of coffee to ever touch my lips at Civilization.
- Dined on upscale Vietnamese food at Saigon Restaurant & Bar.
- Saw the city from 42 floors in the air
- Shot the North Coast Harbor.
- Hiked in a National Park (Virginia Kendall Park)
- Devoured ice cream that should be against the law it was that good (Sweet Moses Soda Shop)
- Saw sunrise over a Great Lake
- Ate a very Grumpy breakfast. They made the corned beef hash with actual HUNKS of corned beef. Not that Hormel garbage.
- and still crammed in the Avengers movie to take a break.
That doesn’t even touch on all the cool new neighborhoods I shot this weekend. Anyone who is still making Burning River jokes about Cleveland is living in the past. Just like Times Square isnt the seedy cesspool it once was, Cleveland is no longer that town. There is a real rebirth happening. Billions of dollars in new development, world class food, entertainment and sports (ok 1/2 credit on the sports), interesting architecture, a world famous zoo and park system are just a few of the things the city has to offer.
In my mind Cleveland is one of the most under-rated and overlooked tourist spots in the country.
I think it’s pretty obvious I like HDR. If it isn’t obvious I’m not sure how the title “My Life in HDR” didn’t tip you off, but welcome. Anyhow I digress, The point is I really like HDR. It solves a bunch of technical limitations of today’s cameras and allows me some creative freedom I wouldn’t normally have. Plus I think when HDR is done right, it just looks cool.
However, HDR isn’t always great. For every problem it solves – it can create other. Ghosting, halos, overly dark clouds, “smudgy” skies etc are all problems that every good HDR artists struggles to eliminate. Sometimes this can take me hours, and even then I’m not always thrilled with the end result because the problems just can’t be corrected.
Still HDR was the best option for getting a decent exposure when you had extremes in range. HDR meant never having to choose between blowing out the highlights or losing all the shadow detail, unless I wanted to of course.
Enter Lightroom 4. I’ve shown on the blog how impressive Lightroom 4 is at recovering detail from shadowy areas and saving a poorly exposed shot. Today Iwant to show you why it might just be Better at creating an HDResque photo than HDR is.
Lets start with the base image. I think we would all agree this is a poorly exposed image. The highlights are too bright, hte shadows too dark. The colors are washed out. That’s what happens when you are shooting into the sun. That’s why I shot the shot as part of an HDR bracket set.
Now lets look at this same image when processed as part of an HDR bracket set. Originally I ran the photo through Photomatix but didn’t like the result. Then I re-ran the brackets through Unified Colors Float 32 and ended up with a similar set of issues. The picture below is the one from Float 32.
At first blush the photo looks better. You can see into the shadows, you aren’t blinded by the blown out highlights. A definite improvement. Now look closer and you can start to see the problems creep to the surface. Look at the sky. Notice the dark haloing around each of the bridge cables. Both programs struggles with the change in contrast between the steel cables and the bright sky. It makes it look dirty and slightly out of alignment.
Secondly, the brightest part of the water was bad after HDR processing There were hundreds of tiny “rips” in the waves. Not visible at first but the closer I inspected, the more distracting they became. There are lots of other tiny flaws, things you don’t always catch at first but that show up like a sore thumb when you print. Not a good image.
[NOTE: The image was further processed with Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to try to salvage it hence the color difference between image 2 and 3. It didn't work. So much for that 30 minutes of my life]
Finally this is the image as edited using just Lightroom 4. I was able to recover most of the important highlights, a lot of the shadow (I could have pushed it more, but liked it a bit darker), detail on the bridge and fix the colors to look more natural. I have none of the weird “dark halo” issues that I had in the HDR image – look at the difference in the cables – and the sky is cleaner. All in all it’s a better photgraph, took 1/10th of the time and only took 1 frame not 7.
Doest that mean I’m over HDR? No, not by a long shot. There are still times when I’ll use it as an artistic choice or to solve other issues. It’s just nice to know that Lightroom 4 gives me another viable option.
Two stories up and now way down. That sounds like an emergency exit only to me.
I am not a portrait guy. I don’t know lighting very well and am a klutz when trying to use my flash. That’s why I decided I wanted to spend some time this weekend working on improving my “people”
skills. Lucky for me I had a model. Unlucky for me, he wasn’t exactly a willing one. I guess eleven year old boys don’t think posing for his crazy dad is all that much fun. However his reluctance got me thinking. He isn’t a little boy anymore. He isn’t exactly a man either. I wanted to find some way to shoot him that was a bit edgier so that he would look “cool.”
To see how I got the shot, keep reading below the fold.