Auto Draft

•October 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’m altering the theme of this blog to coincide with my greatest interest. I will be posting my artwork and commenting from time to time on the “process” of my art.


Trying HDR part 2

•September 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Today I took another look at a series of shots I took on my Mount St. Helens trip. I chose another bracketed series of photos. The reason I took this shot in the first place was because of the two dead trees sticking up in front of the picture. I found it interesting that both were side by side, the dead and the living, standing as witness to the devastation and renewal.

This photo was taken using my 28-135 mm lens, using a tripod. It was processed in Photomatix as an HDR image and then tweaked in Photoshop CS5.

You’ll notice the dark underside of the clouds; especially the clouds nearest the front of the photo. I love HDR, but I’m not happy with this effect. Part of the issue is the fact that it was cloudy that day and those clouds were a bit ominous looking to begin with. The other issue is the merging of the three bracketed photos as an HDR image. The clouds came out dark, right at the beginning, but once I tried to sharpen the contrast, zap! The clouds got too dark. This is where my lesson came in….after the fact, of course, and had I taken the time to learn about lighting before I went on the trip, then I would most likely have gotten better photos to start with.

I have a Canon EOS 50D camera. What I’m gonna tell you next is how it works on my camera. Note: You have to be in one of the “Creative Zones” on the shooting mode dial, like P or AV, for example, otherwise you can’t override the automatic mode on your camera. Back to White Balance adjustment. It’s quite simple really and you might be thinking what a bonehead I am, but honestly, it’s about laziness and impatience with me. So, I found this out: If I would have just gone to the menu on the back of my camera and gone to White Balance and set the camera for “cloudy”, I might not have had this problem. These settings adjust the color balance. Yes, light has color in it. Another way to adjust the White Balance is to push the WB button, which is located near the small screen on the top of the camera. Once I hit WB I then use the Quick Control Dial (the big one on the back of the camera) to set the White Balance that way. It changes these little icons on the screen that signify the different settings like, cloudy, sunny, tungsten, etc. If you are unsure of what the little icons mean, use the White Balance setting on the menu at the back of the camera, as it tells you what each symbol means.

Another tool would be the histogram on the back of the camera, found under the “info” button on the back. Problem with the histogram in an HDR series might be the fact that you are taking bracketed photos at -2, 0, +2, so the underexposed and overexposed shots will have the histogram messed up to begin with. I’ll have to research that further and get back to you on it.

Hopefully you aren’t as much of a bonehead as me, but hey, at least you can learn from my mistakes. As one of my photography idols says, just shooting pictures is the best teacher.

Happy Shooting!


Trying HDR

•September 11, 2010 • 2 Comments

So, I’ve been trying to do some HDR photography lately. It’s fun and frustrating at the same time. Truthfully, I vacillate between realistic looking HDR (High Dynamic Range) and “over the top” HDR. I love the drama of it!

The photo was taken near the Windy Ridge Viewpoint which overlooks Mount St. Helens. From the Windy Ridge Viewpoint you can really see the crater that was left from the explosion. This picture overlooks a valley near the blast zone that was decimated. The trees have grown back in but if you look closely, you can see the remnants of the trees that once were. They stick up out of the landscape like mammoth toothpicks. That’s the reason I call this photo, Valley of Bones.

For this picture, I used my tripod, so that I could take bracketed photos to later merge to HDR. I took a series of 3 photos for this shot, -2, 2 and +2 at ISO 100, using my 70-300mm lens. For those of you who might not know how to set your camera to take bracketed photos, you can find it in the manual for your camera or look on the internet. There are many different sites that give pointers on it. I just found one that looks really helpful.

Once I had downloaded the bracketed photos on to my computer, I merged the 3 bracketed photos using Photomatix software and then did a few more touchups on the final picture, using Photoshop CS5.

Here’s my problem: I tend to want to just play around with the different functions in Photoshop without actually learning what they do first. Discipline has never been one of my strong suits. I feel that if I could discipline myself to really learn how to use the software, my photos would be much better. The other problem? I do the same thing with regards to my camera! Oh, I have the extra books to teach me how to use it properly and they are wonderful books, but you have to actually sit down and read them and practice, don’t you?

I have learned a few things, like bracketing and how to set my camera to take RAW and JPEG photos at the same time, to name a few things, but there is so much more to learn! As I said, I’m just a beginner.

That’s it for now. Time to go read some of my photography book!

Until next time: God Bless and Happy Shooting!

What this “blog” is about:

•September 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This is a photography blog. I’m not a professional photographer. I’m an enthusiast; an amateur. I am just learning photography and processing. I think there are people out there, just like me, who want to learn and who are experimenting with different software and equipment and processes, in an attempt to learn and to find our own styles. Maybe someday we could make a little something from our photographs and maybe not; the market is flooded, however, no matter what, I love to take pictures or “images” as my friend says, and I love to share them with family and friends. I welcome constructive criticism and pointers. I’m hoping to make some new acquaintances who have the same hobby and aspirations. Also, I just like the thought of my pictures being out there!

I’ll be posting photographs and talking about where they were taken, the process I used in taking the photograph, and the equipment and software I used. Maybe in this process, I’ll learn more and hopefully help someone else as well. Thanks for the comments, the advice and for looking.