Tag: Nikkor

This Is Why I Get Up Early Each Day

Iron workers Placing Reinforcement Steel into Concrete Form For Pier Cap.
Iron workers Placing Reinforcement Steel into Concrete Form For Pier Cap.

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I get up every morning hoping to find a sky with this much texture and color. On this particular morning I was given a wonderful start to the day when I saw the colors start to intensify as the sun rose in the sky. The morning light and the wide range of light made this scene a natural for shooting it as a high dynamic range image. Even with such a wide range it was only necessary to use +2, 0 and -2 EV to capture the shadow details as well as the highlights and mid-tones. I try to keep the number of frames I use to a minimum to help combat the noise that inevitably occurs when underexposing the frame to capture the highlights and then merging them to create the HDR image.

The more I use HDR techniques and adjustments the more comfortable I become with them. In my book NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 is the leader for creating realistic HDR images with minimal halos and believable transitions across the tonal range. I want my images to convey a sense of the wonder I feel when I’m shooting them and the natural beauty in the scene. In this image I am very pleased with the balance of warm and cool light and the peaceful mood that accompanies sunrise on the river.


Cawker, Kansas Tractor

Kansas Tractor #3
Kansas Tractor #3

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Here’s another image from Cawker, Kansas. I chose this one because I like the composition with the wheel coming forward in the frame as if it is on the verge of entering the viewer’s space. I had a polarizer on my Nikkor 12-24 mm lens which really cut down on the glare and saturated the colors before any processing was done. The sun was almost directly overhead but by using Topaz Adjust with the Spicify preset I was able to bring out the texture and patina on this tractor.

One thing I currently strive for is to keep from overdoing the texture in these types of images. I like bold color but I try to avoid getting too much texture when applying the various filters to my Topaz work. I wasn’t always so restrained and when I go back to some of my earliest examples I wonder how I could have been so heavy handed with the software back then. I also credit Topaz Labs for refining their entire line of software and giving us the tools to take greater control of the various filters in it. As with many skills in photography the more one uses a given technique, or tool, the better one gets with it and they evolve into becoming a better photographer.


Memo From the Department of Shameless Self Promotion

I am still accepting participants for my next HDR Workshop on May 17-18, 2013 here in Louisville. The last session was a great success; the participants all felt that it was time well spent and were applying the things they learned the next day. Here’s a link to the sign up page at Outdoor Photo Gear.