Tag Archives: HDR

Imperial Beach, Before and After

Imperial Beach on Superbowl Sunday was fantastic.  The sunset wasn’t especially colorful, but the cloud formations were amazing!

I used my Olympus EM-5  with Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye lens mounted on a tripod.  In order to make sure there was absolutely no camera shake created by me pressing the shutter, I used the 2 second timer.

In case you’re interested, these are of the settings I used:

  • Aperture Priority
  • Format – RAW
  • ISO – 200
  • Aperture – f/11
  • Shutter Speed – 1/60th
  • Exposure Compensation – +0.3

Here’s what I got:
Imperial Beach, After

The out of camera results aren’t bad, but if anything perhaps a little dull.  And yes, I do recognize that there is some distortion, but I’m ok with that. This is a fisheye image after all.  I’ve mentioned it in some of my other on-line forum posts and I’ll say it here – I like the fisheye effect. I don’t use it all the time, and think that limited use is probably better than too much. But, there are times when a scene seems just perfect for it, and this was one of those times!

I’m not going to go into great detail on the adjustments that I made. There are plenty of excellent tutorials on-line for that. This is more of a high fly-over. In Adobe Photoshop RAW, I bumped up the Clarity setting. To my eye, this has the effect of tweaking the midrange tones. After that I did some work in Photoshop. Not much, but I did adjust the levels a bit. To finish it I bumped up the color saturation, cropped it a little from the bottom, and added a vignette .  This is the result:

Imperial Beach, After

The changes are subtle and simple, but lately I like that. I used to be much more into HDR images, but I’ve backed that off a lot.  As much fun as it was to make a series of images into something really grungy, I think I’ve gotten that out of my system. Just like using the fisheye sparingly, I’m going to keep HDR as a technique, a tool that I can use when the time is right.

That’s it for now.  Until next time – Happy Shooting!

Looking Back

As 2013 draws to a close, I can’t help but look back on what I’ve done  with regards to my photography.

For those  of us that take photography seriously, I think we are always trying to learn, and grow.  I’m no different than anyone else and take my share of crap images.  Sometimes it’s because I’m lazy, other times I didn’t match my gear to what I was trying to photograph.  And if you’re like me, you try to learn something from these teaching moments.

I’d like to think that my photography has evolved, at least a little.  There’s one  thing I know I’m doing differently, and that is, I’ve backed way off on the HDR post processing.  Not that HDR is a bad thing, I just think that I’ve overdone it a bit.

One of the other things that I think has changed with my photography is the emotional reaction people have when I share one of my photos.  Since I share photos across several different websites, I get a pretty good sampling of people from across the world.  The only I time get any real negative comments is when I overcook an HDR image.  So, I must be doing something right!

Another thing that I’ve done this year is get serious about shrinking my photography gear.  With my latest camera acquisition, I should be able to leave the DSLR at home for almost anything I do.  I say almost because I’m still not sure about airshows.  More time with my Olympus OM-D will tell, but until I’m sure, I’ll hang on to the Canon 60D.

I put together a short slideshow of some of my favorite images of 2013.  There’s no special order to them, and I used several different cameras to create them.

If I had to pick my top 5 for the year, it would be these:

Silver Lake Pond

The Cabin

Mono Lake, South Tufa Sunset

Hopefully you’ve been able to grow and evolve with your photography as well. Whether it is in learning the fundamentals or a new post processing technique, my advice is to keep at it, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right away. There are a lot of good resources available online, and many of them are free, you just need to do the research. And, you can always post your questions here or on my Facebook page!

That’s it, until next time, Happy Shooting!

Warm and Cozy

Warm and Cozy

Warm and Cozy, that’s what I’m calling this photo and the name of this post.

There’s something about this photo that I like (not just because I made it).  Maybe it’s the sense of a warm and inviting cottage by a pond.  The yellow glow from the lights in the windows and reflecting from the calm still water really make this shot work!

While it looks warm and cozy, it was certainly anything but that when I was standing out there, setting the camera to get this shot.  It was dark, and getting cold, and as usual, I didn’t have a warm enough jacket with me, not to mention gloves.  Gloves can be a real pain when you’re trying to push tiny camera buttons and I end up taking them off, so I just left them back in the motorhome.

My camera of choice for this image was my Panasonic GX-1.  The GX-1 has a slight edge over my Olympus E-P3 when it comes to working in low light (by producing less noise).  I put my Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens on for 2 reasons:

  1. The lens was still fairly new to me and I wanted to use it!
  2. I really like how sharp and clear some of my previous results were with this lens.

The only other piece of equipment I used was a tripod.  From past experiments and failures, I knew I needed a steady mount to have any kind of success.

Once I figured out how to compose the shot, I got busy.  The interesting thing to me, looking back, is that I only took a few shots of this scene.  As I mentioned, it was getting cold and I wanted to get back, so I didn’t do much experimenting.

My settings for this final image were:

  • Aperture Priority
  • f/3.2
  • 40 second exposure
  • ISO 160
  • RAW

The final image is from a single RAW file (non-HDR), post processed in Photoshop.

So far, Warm and Cozy has been my most popular photo on my Facebook Page (click on the link), and has won “Photo of the Day” at MyParkPhotos.com (click on the link).

If you’re interested in purchasing a print click here (and thanks)!

That’s it for now, until next time – Happy Shooting!