Quick walk out back with the dog today, try out the new lens in some light. I really dig how it handles color. All the oil pump photos aren’t edited at all (save the watermark). It renders the sky magnificently! 😎 The one of Ethan I plain screwed up the exposure. Left it on a previous setting and it blew out the rest of the shot except for him! Works as a high key black and white. hehehehehe…. 😉
Bells will be ringing for Lucas and Kayla as they cross the threshold of happily ever after this summer. I was happy to nab some photos of them the other day to help celebrate their engagement. It’s official: I’ve added engagement photos to my repertoire! 😎 Winter photos always bring that extra wee bit of somethin’ somethin’ – frozen extremities and rudolf noses! 😉 But we jumped in and out of the truck to warm up in between the shots. It was a whole lot of fun! Can’t wait for the wedding!
This is a brief tutorial on making HDR images. There’s zillions of other posts/pages on the information super highway already so you can look up more info there about it. But this is how I do it. Which makes it infinitely better. 8) Just kidding! 😉
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It’s been around forever conceptually, even since film days. But now, with digital it’s easy and fun. Get a camera and a tripod and find a scene that has loads of contrast: lots of lights and darks. The idea behind this kind of photography is to keep all the detail in the darks and in the light parts of the image. Because the camera currently cannot capture the same amount of dynamic range that the human eye can see, in one camera photo you don’t get as much range as you see with your eye. So, you take 3-7 photos of varied exposure and layer them together with software. I use Nik’s HDR eFex Pro. It’s super slick and comes with many final image presets you can apply to stylize the final image, making it look as surreal or as realistic as you want.
OK, here’s a sunset one I took the other night. And in all truth, it’s not how I typically do it. I was on top of my roof with my 70-300 lens and I did this handheld, which isn’t optimal. Get a tripod so there is no camera movement.
So, the first image: bang. Here it is.The camera meters the scene and determines that this is the best balance of light and dark. We get all that rich colour in the sky & the river. But the valley hills have gone dark and silhouetted the evergreen. This was at ISO 400 f/8 70mm and the shutter was 1/100.
The next shot speeds the shutter up to 1/200, recording an even darker, more saturated image. This one gives the mad colour, but kills off almost all the detail in the hills.The third image washes out the sky but it lifts the details up out of the hills with a slower shutter speed of 1/50. All three images are 1 stop of light apart from each other.
Now, technically, it would be better to get a couple more images here to further lift the details out of the dark regions. But, as I mentioned, this was handheld. If you have a tripod it’s easy to do.
Then, after feeding the photos into the Nik software (I use it as a plug in with Aperture) you can arrive at the final HDR image. There’s loads of darks and lights, rich colours and highlight detail that otherwise would have been lost. HDR is having your cake and eating it too. 8) When you stylize the image, you can make it look wild with texture, like I did here to make the clouds go boom. But you can also finish them to look realistic too which I did for this photo of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Regina. The light pouring in from that window would have made getting a balanced exposure difficult.
So I had this big idea that we should go out and do a family photo for the Christmas card before it was really really too late. It’s already too late to nab fall colours which would have been nice, so we decided to do some texture shots at the old stone house (before it falls over completely – it’s really become a cesspool of dilapidated iniquity!). Anyways, I had the vision for the family shot and it went well (look for it at Christmas time…) 8) But before going home, I decided to do an environmental portrait of just the three of us (Me, Regan and baby III). The sun was setting and approaching delicious golden light. The other two kids were screaming in the truck because it was too cold to be outside and they hated their lives in the car seats. But close the truck doors and viola! No more noise problem! 😉 tee hee…. Anyways, we did the setup and got the shot. All in all a pretty fun 45 minutes on the old timey prairie. Read on for photo photo geek disclosure…
Nabbed a quick shot last night before I rushed off to a meeting.
I’m a fan of silhouettes at Sunset. In the top image I tried to frame the silhouette tree branch on the right and just a smidgeon of horizon below at the very bottom of the picture. The dark cloud structure on the top of the frame helps further frame the overall image. The second image is more of an abstract example of cloud texture and amazing colour. I love how it incorporates the blue and gold and the pinky red on the clouds. 8)
Saskatchewan has an abundance of wind. Almost all the time. It’s not any real surprise to prairie folk to feel the wind and see it’s effects as it blows through leaves or crop or grass. But to capture it with a still camera is tricky. It’s much like capturing water as it moves, you use the same technique. Setting your camera to either Shutter priority mode or Manual, you can slow your shutter speed right down and capture the motion blur of the wind. The slower shutter speeds capture the blurred motion, giving the picture the look and feel of movement even though it’s a still photo. Another useful tip is to stop your lens down. Way down. As far as it can go to restrict the amount of light getting into the camera on a bright sunny day. This will give you the luxury of getting slower shutter speeds. Also, dump your ISO down as low as it will go. The shot above was taken at ISO 100 f/32 at 1/15 of a second on a very breezy/sunny day. 8)
Challenge of the Day: Summer Time.
Woke up to a thick blanket of fog this morning. Grabbed the camera and walked out back with the dog. My jeans were soaked to the knee in the first 50 yards! heheehehe… it was super damp everywhere, just like a rain cloud had settled on the ground. I was able to nab a few frames before the wind picked up and blew the fog away. The number 1 challenge of the day was not being eaten alive by 10 zillion billion mosquitoes, who also kept annoying me by flying in front of my lens. How inconsiderate those little vampires are. 😉 The picture at the end is my pants soaked right up to the pockets, just from walking through the long grass!
I was out and about yesterday and over the lunch hour, I stopped to nab a couple of HDR shots while we had our one-day-a-week allotment of sunshine. 😉 I knew all I wanted to do was get HDR photos so I put the camera on a tripod and setup my bracketing for 5 images. Using my camera’s sweet ability to do interval timer shooting (might as well call this HDR mode), I set that up for 5 frames and pressed OK. click-click-click-click-click! Got ’em, 5 shots all one stop apart. Couldn’t be easier. I’ve been wanting to get out and get some old rundown prairie HDR shots for a while now, but our weather has just plain sucked. Had hail this morning the size of a marble to boot. Yeck. Gotta make photos while the sunshines!
Today was beautiful! We played outside with the kids this morning and finally got some serious rays. My bald head got red! And it was great! 🙂 I also cleaned the garage, but who cares about that. I went for an evening drive to get obtain the fine water from Alameda’s well and threw the camera in just incase any photos were lingering in the setting sun. There were! Here’s what I came up with this evening. 🙂