This past autumn while in Maine, we had a nice visit at Eliot Coleman’s Four Season farm (lettuce in Maine, in January!) One of the assistants there suggested that for a nice lunch, we should drive just down the road to Orr Cove. Best tip we had on the entire trip!
We pulled off to the side of the one-lane road, making sandwiches and firing off some sun flare brackets, after which, we drove about 50′ to The Good Life Center, the place where we found the Alien Landing.
This image was particularly tough to process, which is why I didn’t offer it up for the recent HDR Collaboration, choosing Inland Sailor instead. The sun flare caused a great deal of spotting and CA, and the dust on the sensor didn’t help much, either. Eleven exposures, f/22, 17mm.
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"Sorry. I Wasn't Expecting Company."
Coming in with a late post for the day…
I worked this image up to go along with an article I wrote recently, highlighting the differences between accepting the simple output from one HDR program versus giving a set of brackets a lot of love with different tools and programs.
On Friday, 1/21/11 the article posted on YourPhotoTips.com, and can be found HERE. It’s called Express Yourself… Completely!
Taken inside an old barn and shed on a local farm, this is turning out to be one of my favorite locations due to its ‘target rich’ environment. The owner graciously allowed me to wander around freely, so I was able to grab some great detail shots this time. Being respectful, I resisted the urge to see if there was any cold beer in the fridge.
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Nikon D7000, Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 lens, 17mm at f/5.6, seven exposures +/-1EV using Promote Control. Photomatix Pro, HDR Express, 32 Float, Nik Color Efex Pro, and Photoshop all had a hand in this one… but that was exactly the point of the article!
For best effect, I recommend viewing this image Large on a White Background
Ma is a Japanese word which can be roughly translated as “gap”, “space”, “pause” or as “the space between two structural parts.” In Japanese, ma suggests interval. It is best described as a consciousness of place, not in the sense of an enclosed three-dimensional entity, but the simultaneous awareness of form and non-form deriving from an intensification of vision.
Ma is the thing that takes place in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements. Therefore ma can be defined as experiential place understood with emphasis on interval.
There is no equivalent single word term for Ma in the English language. Sad, but true.
In composing this, I recalled the extraordinary and controversial work of John Cage with his composition 4’33” wherein the three movements are performed without a single note being played, allowing it to be perceived as the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed
Thirty spokes meet in the hub,
but the empty space between them
is the essence of the wheel.
Pots are formed from clay,
but the empty space between it
is the essence of the pot.
Walls with windows and doors form the house,
but the empty space within it
is the essence of the house.
– Lao Tse “The Uses of Not”
“North Carolina Heating and Air Conditioning”
As I like to say: “The great part about not knowing all the rules is that it allows one to break them without compunction.” Who’s to say that we can’t take the output from one HDR program and use it as input to another? Or, vice-versa? What happens if we combine this, with that? While sometimes the result looks like we’ve just combined matter with anti-matter, interesting surprises can result from such experimentation.
And, since we’re HDR photogs, don’t we inherently enjoy experimenting like the early alchemists?
I’ve been working quite a bit with Unified Color’s new HDR Expose program, and I’ve been using Photomatix Pro for quite a while now . Each has its strengths, as we might expect, and I could pick over their respective weaknesses as well. Rather than dwelling on what’s missing, I tried my best to use the strengths of each program in this image. (Note: Discount codes for both programs are available from the Discounts menu above.)
When I ran the brackets through HDR Expose and applied edits there, the result was an ‘as-I-saw-it’ image with great shadow and highlight detail. But, at the end of the process, it looked like an old building sitting in a field — which is exactly what it was. While the result was an accurate representation, in this case it seemed to lack something artistic or interesting. There wasn’t enough there to really hold one’s attention.
Enter the stalwart Photomatix Pro 3(.2.9) The output from that pass had elements that I loved about the building, but there was significant ghosting in the tree branches and the monochromatic sky had that dingy quality despite my having upped the micro-smoothing and highlights-smoothing substantially. Those things could have been handled in Photoshop pretty easily by layering in a single RAW, but why not try something different?
Using standard Photoshop layering techniques, we’re able to quickly and easily combine the best elements of each program’s output. The shack was rendered by Photomatix Pro, while the remainder of the scene is from HDR Expose. Along the trees in certain spots, there is a mixture of the two, with HDR Expose handling most of the pixels. Following up with some Curves adjustments and a little selective saturation boost in select spots, we have what I think is an interesting image: A funky old shack with some outrageous surface color — just as I had remembered it in the harsh morning light (I drink strong coffee…) — with sunlight pouring in through the roof.
It’s not a radical idea, of course, using various layers to achieve an effect. I have some other experiments going on that I believe could be ever more interesting.