Tag: hdr photography

HDR Images of a Winter Day in The Parklands of Floyd’s Fork

Red Barn in Winter in an Ice coated landscape in The Parklands of Floyd's Fork
Red Barn in Winter in HDR

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This image is an HDR image captured in The Parklands of Floyd’s Fork in Louisville Kentucky. The trees and landscape were covered in ice which was creating a magical prismatic sparkle when the sun shown on them. I wanted to capture those colors and in making that attempt learned just how difficult that is.

As I reviewed the images back in my studio I could see faint hints of the colors that were being reflected as the suns rays diffracted through the ice but nothing was as spectacular as what I saw in person. I realized that my human experience was much more intense than my camera could record. Even with that discovery I’m still happy with these HDR images that resulted from that shoot.

Frozen Wetlands in The Parklands of Floyd's Fork
Frozen wetlands in The Parklands of Floyd’s Fork

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I especially liked the way the sun was illuminating the tree line while a cloud was shading the foreground in this image. The reflections on the ice around the vegetation are a nice way to bring the light forward in the scene while still reinforcing the sense of cold in the photo.

This image is also HDR and I think it really shows how extending the dynamic range through shooting brackets for HDR, with a strongly backlit subject, can capture a broad enough dynamic range to render the scene.

Winter scene of ice and bridge
Floyd’s Fork flowing under a bridge in The Parklands.

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When I’m shooting landscapes I like to include man made structures in the scene to show how they can exist in harmony with the natural environment. This bridge abutment with it’s strong geometric forms contrasts nicely with the flowing water of Floyd’s Fork. The bridge itself forma a frame to the sunlight’s reflection on the water. The railing along the top contrasts and reinforces the ice coated branches rising above it too.

This too is another case where the use of HDR technique in shooting, a three exposure bracket two stops apart, and HDR processing allowed me to capture information in the shadows as well as in the highlights. The extremely wide dynamic range of this scene could not have been captured as easily, if at all, with a single exposure. That is the main reason I totally embrace HDR photography even when I’m striving for strong realism in my images.

Ice coated landscape in The Parklands of Floyd's Fork
Ice coated landscape in The Parklands of Floyd’s Fork

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I liked this landscape because the sun was filtering through the trees creating a starburst of light while casting strong shadows across the landscape. As in several of these HDR images the HDR techniques of shooting and processing allowed me to capture the feeling of cold while gathering enough detail to make the image interesting.

Winter Sunset in The Parklands of Floyd's Fork
Winter Sunset in The Parklands of Floyd’s Fork

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I like the contrast of the complimentary colors of oranges and blues that are a major component of this composition. As in all of today’s images the use of HDR was the determining factor in the success of this shoot.

In closing today I’d like to say that whatever your feelings about HDR photography it has a place in photography. If you haven’t explored high dynamic range photography you are missing a valuable method that can open new vistas and expand your vision. Go on give it a try you too may find it is a wonderful tool that will allow you to express yourself in ways you have never before found possible.



2013 in review

Tonight I want to share the annual report for the Speeddemon2.com blog that the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared for 2013.

Here’s an excerpt from the 2013 annual report on the progress of Speeddemon2.com :

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 43,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

This report about 2013 was very exciting news for me. I have worked hard the past year to share my knowledge about Construction photography and HDR photography with the world and the results are very gratifying. People from 136 countries have visited Speeddemon2.com to see my photos and explore the HDR techniques that I have been using to create them. My goal in 2014 is to grow from 950 followers to 10,000 followers and to foster even more interest in HDR photography and my approach to construction photography.

In addition to the Speeddemon2 blog I’m also working on a several year project to document the Ohio River Bridges Project that will showcase the men and women who are building this massive construction project which will forever transform Louisville’s waterfront. My project will encompass nearly three years of photos with quarterly books that will reflect the progress of the project from season to season. Currently I am editing the first volume of these books which will feature the Fall of 2013 foundation work and the people who are building the project. In the end, probably in 2016, I will be compiling a larger book that will draw on the quarterly volumes and document the Ohio River Bridges Project for posterity.

None of this would have been possible without my decision in 2012 to start the Speeddemon2 blog and share my photography with the world. I am so grateful for those who started following and commenting on my work early on which further strengthened my resolve to keep publishing. I also need to thank the men and women of the construction industry who allowed me to embed myself with them as I honed my skills both as a photographer and as an advocate for the people who build our civic infrastructure. I look forward to what the future has in store for me and I sincerely hope that I do justice to the support that so many people have shown for my work as Speeddemon2.com has evolved.

Click here to see the complete 2013 report.

Sparks Were Flying

Welder using a cutting torch to make some angle iron brackets.
Welder using a cutting torch to make some angle iron brackets.

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I love it when sparks are flying! Whenever I see someone using a torch or a grinder I try to capture the spark patterns that are formed. It is as if the worker is putting on a miniature fireworks display and the kid in me cannot resist watching.

This HDR image was created from a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to merge them. After merging the three images I applied a custom preset I have built and saved in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. I then returned the HDR file to Aperture 3 for final adjustment and sharpening.

One thing I discovered in merging these images was how through use of the anti-ghosting feature I was able to show how the gases used in the cutting torch could be isolated and show where they are pushing the sparks away from the torch.

Cranes As Far As I Can See….

Cranes As Far As I Can See....
Cranes As Far As I Can See….

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I like this image because it shows how many cranes are being used to build the Ohio River Bridges Project. There are cranes on barges in the river and further back on the horizon there are more cranes building Spaghetti Junction. I was on the Indiana approach looking south into Louisville; I composed the image to take advantage of all the vertical elements in the scene.

I used my standard three frame bracket set and NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to create this HDR image. After merging them I returned it to Aperture 3 for color adjustments and sharpening.

It Says Right Here…

It Says Right Here...
It Says Right Here…

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This image is of David Morse, a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers, and the BG-40 Drilling Rig he is operating. The large drum with the teeth on it is a rock drill which is almost twelve feet in diameter. David is using it to drill thirty feet into the bedrock for the piers that will support the new Ohio River Bridge. David is quite a character and when he saw me photographing him he grabbed the book and acted as if he needed to read the manual to do his job. He could easily write the book himself given his vast experience operating drilling equipment.

I added a circular polarizer to my lens last week and it has really boosted the saturation in my exposures. I didn’t know what I was missing by not using the polarizer until I saw the RAW files I got from this shoot. I shot a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures which I then opened in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and merged using 100% anti-ghosting to get a good portrait of David. I applied a preset I built myself for another project which really worked well with the images from this day’s shoot too.

One of the great things about shooting almost daily is that I learn more and more about getting the images I see in my mind with each new shoot. There is nothing that improves an artist’s work more than practice. My motto is practice, practice, practice and I often tell other photographers that practice is the best thing they can do if they hope to improve their skills and their images.