Category Archives: technique

Lightroom Dynamic Range with LR/Enfuse

Bok Tower

Bok Tower processed with LR/Enfuse

  HDR without using HDR software?

Well, not exactly. HDR is the abbreviation for High Dynamic Range images.  True HDR images are 32 bit, floating point files that are ultimately scaled back to ‘normal’ 8 bit images that can be displayed on a standard video monitor or printed on  printing paper.  The photographer takes a series of bracketed exposures and specialized software is required in order to ‘tone map’ the high dynamic range 32 bit file by a nearly pixel by pixel basis which can be somewhat controlled by the photographer.  However, tonemapped HDR images have garnered a reputation, whether deserved or not, of being overly saturated, over-the-top photos.  Sometimes these images are really cool, and sometimes they are just, well… over-the-top! Continue reading »

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HDR – Bad?

The Music Lesson

The Music Lesson by Johannes Vermeer

Since I have been shooting HDR (High Dynamic Range) images, I constantly hear and read some rather nasty comments against this technique. Trey Ratcliff told me he takes the attitude just to ignore them, but I wonder just what it is that these individuals find so distasteful? Yes, I have seen some really over-the-top HDR images, but I have also seen a lot of over-the-top non-HDR images. It would be a very big stretch to conclude that all photography is bad just because one particular image isn’t the best. However, there are those who apply that logic to HDR! Continue reading »

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Want to become a better photographer?

I have been fortunate to be able to spend some time and talk with some outstanding photographers on my podcast (The Fotobug), and although their approach and interests may differ, the one thing that they all have in common is the fact they all get out there and make the magic happen! I really encourage reading photo magazines and photography books, but the only way you are really going to improve is to go grab your camera and use it. The more you use your camera, the more comfortable you will feel with it and before you know it, the camera becomes an extension of yourself and you are going to find that you will be able to spend more time concentrating on the image you see in your viewfinder and less time fumbling with camera controls and worry about shutter speeds, aperture settings, etc.

I also encourage you to consider workshops and seminars in order to interact with other photographers to learn new techniques and to help keep up your inspiration. C’mon, what are you doing sitting there reading this blog? Get out there and make some great images!! (Don’t forget to share!).

Also posted in General Photography

Quick Tip – Dust to Dust!

Dust in your DSLR getting you down? Me too! I find dust especially a problem if you are using your DSLR cameras for video. Perhaps it is because a smaller portion of the sensor is being used, but I tend to see dust on video that I don’t see on the still images.

I keep the body cap on my camera when I’m traveling and not shooting. When I put a lens on, I generally toss the body cap and end lens cap back into my camera bag. How about you? Bad idea! That is a great way to pick up dust. When the body cap is placed back on the camera, there is a good possibility there is dust lurking on it just waiting to jump onto that sensor! Of course, using an air bulb to blow off the dust first is a good idea, but I also recommend taking the rear-lens cap and the body cap and join them together! Just a simple twist and it not only keeps them from bouncing around in your bag (vest, pocket, whatever!), but will help keep dust out of the inside of the caps!

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PluralEyes Coming to a PC near you!

Taping training videos

Video guy – yeah, that

If you make videos, or use your DSLR to make videos, and use a separate device to record your audio, unless you are editing with Final Cut Pro on a Mac, you could go crazy trying to sync up your video and audio. I’ve been jealous of the Mac video editors for a long time, as they had some magic software called PluralEyes that would do all the syncing work for them. Continue reading »

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HDR Workflow

Monk and Begger in Lhasa, Tibet.

HDR is rapidly becoming more mainstream. I recently met Trey Ratcliff (http://www.stuckincustoms.com) in Tampa and I’m seeing more and more articles on the technique in mainstream photo magazines. For Canon shooters (sorry Nikon folks, but these techniques may likely work for you too!), I am going to post my workflow for taking and processing HDR images.

First of all, on most of the Canon models except for the 1D and 1Ds, the camera is limited to 3 exposures for AEB (automatic exposure bracketing). While this is good for most images, there are times where a wider range might be desirable.  Continue reading »

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Feather Detail

I have searched for a technique to enhance feather detail in white birds. I think I may have found one! Simply increasing contrast doesn’t work as that tends to muddy up the whites. I also tried copying the white areas to a new layer in Photoshop and using various layer modes with limited success. I found that using linear burn was best, but still didn’t give me quite what I wanted. The gull picture at left (click for a larger view) was one such image. I liked the position of the gull, but the whites of the feathers lacked detail and the picture fell flat. I knew the detail was contained in the RAW image, but how to pull it out? Continue reading »

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More HDR!

HDR Panther

HDR Panther from Ecuador

OK, I’ve received a few emails asking more about HDR (High Dynamic Range) – I highly recommend checking Stuck in Customs for tutorials on how to process these images. The image to the left is a captive panther I photographed during one of the Photo tours I conducted to Baños, Ecuador. I then processed the single RAW file using Photomatix and then finished up with some masking techniques in Photoshop. I really like the way it turned out! I have a number of images from my Photo tour to Turkey from last year on my gallery and on my Flickr account HERE. I’ll be happy to post more information by request! Although the panther image isn’t a “true” HDR image since it was created from a single RAW exposure, some images can benefit from processing in a similar manner and programs such as Photomatix can sometimes draw out more range from the RAW file than a ‘normal’ RAW processor. Continue reading »

Also posted in General Photography, HDR Tagged , |

Strobist Boot Camp II

Strobist Boot Camp II - Head Shot

A friend and I decided to participate in the latest Strobist Boot Camp II exercises by David Hobby, (Strobist Blogspot) and for my head shot, I wanted to see if I could use an MR-14EX macro ring flash as an on-camera fill. This image is the result of my test.

The posted head shot here (courtesy of my friend, Fred!) is the result. I had a Canon 580Ex off to the subject’s right with a Honl grid, set on slave and triggered by the MR-14ex on the camera. The MR-14ex was set on manual and since the two strobes are already on banks A and B, I set the 580Ex on bank C. I manually set A and B to 1/64 power and the C bank (580EX) to 1/16 power so it would act as the key. Continue reading »

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