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Monthly Archives: December 2012
So often these days as I scan Google+ or 500px I see HDRs that I’m sorry, are just horrible photographs. The only thing of interest at all in them is that they are an HDR and sometimes I’ll admit, that alone draws the eye. But HDR should not be the feature, it should be a great photograph…and I used this technique to capture it. Anymore I don’t even say “I shot an HDR”, I simply, took a photograph
So I implore you to, First look for a great photograph, interesting light and shadow, texture and composition and then judge, what techniques do I need to use to capture my vision? If the scene is beyond the dynamics of your camera, THEN use HDR (or other methods) to capture it.
Thought for the day, short and sweet.
There are many ways to process and HDR, many different styles. Certainly not everyone likes the same look and there are clearly some Battle Lines drawn with different sides vehemently defending the “Look” that they prefer. Is there a right style? Of course not, it’s photography, it’s art, everyone works and see differently.
But I thought I would show a few of the different styles out there. And recognize that these are not clearly set in stone and even my interpretation of a certain style may not be what you think it is. And also there are laterally thousands of interpretations in between.
I’ll start this rant off with my usual disclaimer: Artistic Intent, I don’t care what you do to your image provided it was Artistic Intent. Backwards, inside out and purple…fine if that’s was your intent. It’s when you did it because you didn’t know any better, that’s when I have a problem and I’m here to help.
My two biggest pet peeves in HDR images are; Halos and Gray Clouds that should be white. The funny thing is, most likely the same thing is responsible for both.
I read with interest a post on Google+ the other day. A gentleman stated. “I’ve started to do more of my work in Lightroom”. Another poster asked, “You mean Tone-Mapping?” The first person replied, “No, I’m extending the Dynamic Range of a single image in Lightroom using the controls”
So it made me think; Does anyone really understand what it is we do as HDR practitioners? I think not.
Let’s make one thing clear up front: We are not creating High Dynamic Range images…wait let me say that again…WE ARE NOT CREATING HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE IMAGES. And in case you missed it, we… are…not…creating…high dynamic range… images. We simply aren’t.
For those of you that have read my articles on shooting the natural looking HDR Landscape, forget everything you read…well almost everything… when it comes to Night Cityscapes. They are a totally different animal in shooting and processing.
Setting up to shoot
Before we get to exposures and processing, first lets look at how we should shoot a night cityscape regardless of if we are shooting HDR or not.
Thanks to Black & White artist and authority Cort Anderson for the inspiration for this article
Now I guess that is understandable because people do like the color pop that HDR can provide and it has become a staple of “That HDR Look”. But HDRs can make an outstanding Black & White image. Of the 1,000 HDR images in my portfolio 1/3 of them are a B & W conversion.
What I do is quite simple. I set my camera to Aperture Priority mode and the aperture and ISO I will be shooting with. I then set my metering mode to spot. I use aperture priority for this instead of Manual because I am just looking for numbers (shutter speeds) right now. I may, and probably will, end up shooting in a different mode, most likely manual.
I then seek out the brightest and darkest areas of my scene. If the sun is in the shot, don’t measure it for many reasons. First off it’s not good for your eyes or your camera and secondly because of its brightness you will end up with exposures that in reality have very little use. If the sun is just at the horizon line you may be OK, but anything above that you are asking for trouble. But in most circumstances if the sun is in my image I will meter slightly to the side or above it.
Also make note of one phenomenon, just as the sun hit the horizon it is not always the brightest region of the image and the clear sky above or a reflection off a cloud may actually register higher Continue reading »