Archive for the ‘HDRi’ Tag

On Top of Dorr Mountain   12 comments


On Top of Dorr Mountain
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The general consensus in photography is that you don’t shoot at the height of the day. I can understand the reasoning, but… I dunno…. sometimes it seems to work out just fine. I think such is the case here, where we’re presented with a stunning view from Dorr Mountain in Acadia National Park (Maine), looking south toward Otter Cove, Blackwoods, and Southwest Harbor, where a few lobsters await us after the hike.

The ‘model’ is my lovely bride, Susan, and yes… that’s a teddy bear in her pack. “Bobo, the Magnificent” he calls himself.

As with my previous image, Boats on Somes Sound in Early Morning Fog, I employed the approach of working with multiple merged frames in 32-bit mode, without the ‘standard’ tonemapping that’s used with Photomatix or other HDR programs. It seems the results are much more crisp and ‘realistic’, while still bringing in the extended dynamic range that multiple frames can provide.

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Elbow Grease   12 comments


Elbow Grease

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Sometimes, you just get lucky.

We were driving through a rural area and passed by an interesting place, so we wanted to turn around to check it out. Just before our turn out, we saw a man and woman approaching an old, abandoned house through a yard full of weeds and grasses. As we passed the house again, we noticed the woman standing on the porch.

The place we wanted to see was closed, so we turned back to our original route. As we approached the abandoned house once again, we saw the couple waving us down. Perhaps there was some sort of trouble.

The couple had seen us passing by for the third time and thought that we were ‘locals’ who were checking them out. As they told us later, “Everyone around here is related, so we thought it would be a good idea to let you know that this house belongs to our family.” Good information to have on both counts, I thought.

We heard their interesting story about how the man and his sister had been adopted by different families, and had only found each other recently after a 17 year search. The old house had belonged to the sister’s father, who passed away some time ago, leaving the house unoccupied.

Being the curious sort – and, of course, armed with a camera and tripod – I asked if I could poke around a bit. What had once been a beautiful old farm house was now collapsing in on itself. Along the front and sides, all of the doors and windows were blocked with plywood. Rats! (Um, not real rats. I just couldn’t see inside.) Around back, though, there was an old mud room door with no glass in the windows, just some loose cardboard that had seen better days.

“Would you mind if I just stuck my camera through this window?”, I asked. I find it never hurts to ask. “No problem.”

It was so dimly lit inside that I didn’t even know what was in there, and given the musty, moldy smell coming through, I wasn’t about to go inside. Apparently, it had been quite some time since the detergents and mops were used there.

The “skylight” is courtesy of last year’s Hurricane Irene, which had peeled back a significant portion of the tin roof. It’s a look.

It’s just a simple Rurex (Rural Exploration) composition – one not particularly noteworthy, at that – but it gave us the chance to stop along our route, do a little exploration, meet some interesting people, and then check for ticks.

Pete and Kelly, if you see this on the blog, please drop me a line at my email address. Thanks for letting us peek into the old place. It was a pleasure to meet you.

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Grandfather’s Legacy   14 comments


Grandfather's Legacy

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We recently had the pleasure of spending a day with Jeff, a new friend who builds the most amazing birdhouses out of timber and tin recovered from old barns, sheds, and smoke houses. Wandering about his rural property while chatting and taking photos, we got a better sense of his artistic inclinations. We already knew that he loved each of his birdhouse creations. What we discovered was that he seemed to be on a mission to repurpose old buildings, giving them a second life by saving them from inexorably melting into the landscape.

At his property, a quiet place dotted with sheds, cabins, and workshops, I noticed an irresistible old tractor peeking out from an open shed. As we had other places to visit, we had almost passed this by. It turned out that the tractor was more important than we knew…

The tractor is a ’55 Allis Chalmers B. Jeff’s wife’s grandfather owned it and used it to work his garden. He was a farmer for much of his life and he loved his tractor. Grandfather is now gone, but the tractor is being maintained almost as a monument to his memory, perhaps one of the last tangible reminders of the man who used it to till the land.

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Hobnobbin’   Leave a comment


A pool outside an estate on a bright sunny day, New Bern, North Carolina

Sorry about the dearth of posts, lately. I’ve been fairly well wrapped up with various shoots and a sometimes pesky little thing called ‘life.’

This image was a test from a real estate shoot, but I liked it well enough to keep it. Typically, I’d like to shoot in more benign conditions than the middle of a bright, sunny day, but we can’t always pick and choose. In this case, I think the bright light makes for an inviting pool scene.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Processed from 9 exposures at 1EV steps using Promote Control. Merged using Unified Color’s HDR Expose and adjusted in Photoshop CS with 32 Float, also from Unified Color. I liked what Photomatix Pro 4 did with the stonework, so I touched in a little detail from that program using layer masking. Actually had to knock the blues back a bit, too! The first ‘final’ version’s sky looked a bit too contrived. Finally, the windows were reflecting a lot of blue, which was distracting, so I applied an Exposure adjustment layer in that area to tone down the glare. A noise-reduction run on the sky with Noiseware Pro was the only other adjustment.

Discount coupons for the above software are located here.


They Never Call…   4 comments


An old, grungy telephone at Peter Limmer & Sons in Intervale, New Hampshire.
You know how it is. You give someone your number, and…

Inspired by a recent Brian Matiash webinar, I used onOne Phototools to grunge this scene up a bit, only to realize that it was pretty darned grungy to start with.

This old telephone — and one only slightly newer — can be found at Peter Limmer & Sons, Bootmakers, in Intervale, New Hampshire. The shop is a a curious and eclectic sort of place… just perfect for HDR. They do make a great boot, and I’m happy that Peter let me get a pair as well as grab some brackets.

(If you haven’t seen the HDR of the homeless Limmers in my photostream, visit Consigned )

The phone looks cool when viewed Extra Large, so please click on the image above to see it Extra Large in a new window.

This image was derived from a set of eleven exposures taken with the Promote Control. This worked out well, as the lighting was very dim in the shop. I merged and tonemapped them using Photomatix Pro 4, settling on settings that Matiash had suggested in his recent “Grunge” seminar.

I used several different filter effects from onOne Phototools to set up the grunge look, as well as the slightly blue cast in the windows. Following that with NIK Color Efex Pro Darken/Lighten Center (one of my favorites) and then a little dark vignetting seemed to work well.  Last thing was to block out the phone number that had been written on the shelf.  I was going to put in 867-5309, but does anyone really remember that song anymore?

The Hidden Gem of Cobscook Bay   2 comments


Sunrise over Whiting Bay, Cobscook Bay State Park, in Maine

Click on the image for a larger view in a new window.

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Somewhat north of Lubec, Maine, there’s a little-known state park on Cobscook Bay.

We’ve never seen crowds at the park. There are sections where no RVs are allowed, which is heaven for tent campers.  At night, it’s utterly quiet.  In the morning, the sun rises over the bay and can be photographed right from the campsite. With a tidal range of some seventeen feet in the bay, it’s fascinating to watch this area fill and drain every few hours. When the tide is out, loons, seagulls, ducks, herons and other waterfowl feed on the flats. (The tide was about mid-way during this bracket.)

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This image was generated from nine exposures at 1EV intervals, shot using the Promote Control. In post-, I found that one of the more prevalent HDR programs made chaos with the colors, with the best result looking wayyyy to far-fetched for anyone’s liking.  Images like that should be binned immediately, which is exactly what I did. As they say, no two images are the same with these programs.

I merged the nine exposures in Unified Color’s HDR Expose, choosing to save the resulting 32-bit BEF file without further modification. Turning to Photoshop CS4, I brought the BEF file in and used a couple of different layers generated from Unified Color’s 32-Float plug-in, tweaking the brightness and contrast levels in places.  A few saturation and de-saturation adjustment layers were added, and a slight boost of exposure toward the end, and this was the result.

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