Archive for the ‘tonemap’ Tag

Sometimes, It Is…   4 comments


Sometimes, It Is...

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Gamble, an abandoned lobster boat found alongside Route 1 in northern Maine.

We woke up in the tent one morning and decided that it was too chilly to stick around outside, so we took a photo road trip up to Moosehorn NWR a few miles north of us. (Truck heater, yay!) Alongside the route, we found this poor, dilapidated beast in a vacant lot, an equally sad looking abandoned Gulf gas station.

We could only imagine what kind of story might be behind the vessel, its legacy on the water, and what conditions caused its demise.

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An HDR from five frames, the original version showed just how colorful and lucious the foliage was at the time, but I didn’t think that it set the mood for the image. Using a number of layer techniques and a subtle filter from OnOne, I tried to create the mood as I saw it on that cold and overcast day.

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A Certain Symmetry   2 comments


A Certain Symmetry

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Normally, we’re not supposed to line things up in the center of the frame, but every now and then nature offers up an almost perfect symmetry. That makes it a good time to break the rules.

This pond, called The Tarn, is found in Acadia National Park in Maine, at the foot of a remarkable trail that leads off of Dorr Mountain. The trail features some of the most engineered sections of pathway I’ve ever seen, with curving staircases, overhead arches, and ‘paved’ areas made of carefully fitted natural stone.

Or, you can simply park at the Wild Gardens of Acadia and take an easy, flat walk over to The Tarn, but that wouldn’t be as sporting, right?

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Back Whence It Came   6 comments


Back Whence It Came

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Tree. Wood. Ore. Metal. A wagon forged by the hand of a man. All will decay. Nothing lasts forever.

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We descended to the bottom of the trail shortly before 5PM, knowing our target. Placed near the equipment shed for the old Stone House, these wagons have been in place and deteriorating beautifully for years.

Unfortunately, since it was 5 o’clock, a few maintenance people were converging on the shed, parking their trucks in all the good spots. Problem. I didn’t think twice before walking up to one of them and jocularly saying, “You know, I traveled over 1,000 miles just to shoot these wagons.” Oh… you’ll move your truck? Why, thanks!

The guys were talking together, but surely also sizing up these people from ‘Away.’ One of them, an older gentleman in bright red suspenders who looked like a cross between Albert Einstein and Kris Kringle, was Frank. I know this because he had a huge sign made of welded pipe running across the back window of his pickup truck – his “Office”.

The sign said, “F – R – A – N – K

I asked him, “Are you Frank?”

“Nope. I’m Ernest,” he replied in a deep New England accent.

“Somehow I doubt that,” I said as we shared a knowing laugh.

And with that, we were introduced to Frank Eastman, a colorful local who has tended the grounds of the Stone House for several decades. After the other guys went home, we chatted with Frank for quite a while. He had worked with the Maine DOT for many years. We talked about how someone had once offered to restore the wagons for display, but Frank had declined, preferring to see them decay in their natural form. After a time, he felt comfortable enough to let us in on a local trail secret — a waterfall that most people don’t know about — and he asked if I could shoot it for him someday.

That’s for next year, when I’ll likely meet up with Frank again. Some people you just want to keep in touch with.

The Painter at the Wharf   3 comments


The Painter at the Wharf

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After experiencing the demise of more than a few fresh Maine lobsters one evening, we decided to celebrate by catching the sunset at a nearby wharf. There was some sort of seminar or class going on in the area – there were a number of paint artists in the area set up at different viewpoints, and some were being videotaped as they worked.

It was quiet and serene as I went about catching different scenes, with Susan recording some video segments. I asked this woman if I could take a few frames; she graciously said Yes. I’m delighted that she did.

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HDR from three exposures, 26mm, f/11, ISO100, merged in Nik’s HDR Efex Pro 2, modified with several filters in Photoshop with masking via Topaz Remask 3

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Bemis Brook Falls (NH)   7 comments


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While sweltering in the heat and humidity of summers in NC, I sometimes go back through my library of images to remind myself of what autumn in New England is like: Cool, serene, colorful, playful, usually clear, sometimes moist, always gorgeous.

One day in 2010, the weather was socked in, making summit attempts pointless. Really… why work that hard in order to see nothing? So, we decided to hike up to Arethusa Falls in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Along the way, we descended to Bemis Brook Falls, a worthy side trip.

During wet weather, you have to be very careful with your footing on these rocks. The algae can make them very slippery. Don’t ask me how I know this. 🙂

You can see a different view of these falls in portrait orientation here, if you’d like.

Carolina Dreamin’   9 comments


Carolina Dreamin'

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This image is decidedly not in the ‘rurex’ category. Interesting how we can go from “Elbow Grease” to this.

This was from a Real Estate shoot I did for an associate a while ago. It’s always nice to wander freely around a place like this… not nearly as many weeds and bugs as some locations I’ve been to. Actually, it was so nice that I decided to have a bit of lunch on the dock while the camera was firing off the brackets.

Life is good in a place like this.

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Limmer’s Workbench   9 comments


Limmer's Workbench

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The main workbench at Limmer & Sons Custom Boots in Intervale, New Hampshire.

You might recall this location from other images, “The Bootmaker”, “They Never Call”, and “Consigned”, among others. Let’s suggest that it’s a target-rich environment for an HDR photographer.

When talking to Pete Limmer last fall, he had mentioned that some of those earlier pictures were “very detailed.” I never really found out if that was a good thing, or not, but for this image I thought I’d hedge my bets by presenting a more realistic, less ‘hyper’ image. In fact, I had processed this scene some time ago and kept it on file, but when I opened it up for review, it was sort of an assault on the eyes. So, I reprocessed it completely to come up with this version.

I’m planning to create a new video tutorial soon, titled something like, “Why Photomatix Pro alone isn’t enough.” Often, when trying to come up with a realistic-looking HDR image, Photomatix falls short for me — I find that the output can often be soft. Other programs such as HDR Expose (from Unified Color) or ImageFuser tend to be better choices, although I almost always wind up blending in some Photomatix versions before doing more detailed processing. For this version, I started with the output from HDR Expose, adjusted it using 32-Float, and then layered in a Photomatix tonemap at 24% Normal and a Shadowmap at 22% Hard Light as a base before setting about with other adjustments (brightness, skew, de-fringe, etc.) and filter techniques (Nik Color Efex Pro.)

In the end, I think it created a balance between the high-detail of a very complicated environment, along with a good dose of realism. I also really appreciate Peter and Ken letting me into the back of the shop during working hours to capture this unique scene.

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Mom Told Me to Freeze   11 comments


Mom Told Me to Freeze

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Each spring, we become aware of at least one momma rabbit who sets up her den somewhere in the yard. It’s predictable that at some point, we’ll see one if not several young bunnies exploring the new, glorious, nutrient-rich environment that we call “garden.”

This year has been better than previous years. We know of only one young’n – this one – and he seems perfectly content to munch on what’s left of our field of crimson clover. So far, he has bypassed all the good, human stuff.

Like the Carolina anoles, under the right circumstances a bunny can present a great photo op, as they freeze perfectly still when confronted with danger. In this case the danger was in the form of some big, two-legged galoot with a 300mm lens. While shooting, I told him that we have to learn to coexist for our mutual benefit.

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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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From Flare to Eternity   11 comments


From Flare to Eternity

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I’ve always wanted to catch some good sun flares, but it’s not always the easiest thing to do. It seemed I never could get it quite right.

Driven by the influence and tutorial of a master of sun flares, Dave DiCello, I took some extra time on a client shoot to catch this morning scene. If it weren’t for Dave’s support, I likely wouldn’t have posted this at all, but there you have it. Thanks, Dave!

HDR from 11 exposures (give or take) at +/-1EV, f/22, 17mm, ISO 100

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