Tag: Nikon D90

Experimenting with HDR Black and White Processing

Since early January I’ve been experimenting HDR Black and White processing. For the accompanying photos I usually began with a color HDR image that I then processed again with Topaz B&W, onOne Perfect B&W or NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 to create the HDR Black and White version. Through this combination of processing techniques and apps I have rediscovered my love of black and white photography.

The workflow that I have adopted for HDR Black and White images usually begins by using a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures that I first merge using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and apply the Balanced Preset with Accentuated Detail. After merging them I take the merged file into Adobe Camera Raw for initial adjustments to fill light and shadows as well as a curves adjustment. I also adjust Saturation and Luminance in ACR before opening the image in Photoshop CS5. In Photoshop CS5 I add a new layer where I usually start with lens correction filter and an unsharp mask filter. At this point I may decide to crop the image in order to refine the composition.

After I am satisfied with my color HDR version I duplicate it and add a new layer with Topaz B&W, onOne Perfect B&W or NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 to create the HDR Black and White version. The more I experiment with these B&W apps the more I find myself using Topaz B&W as my first choice. I really like being able to build my own presets with special feature such as edge treatments and opacity when I am seeking a hand tinted effect.

Vintage Motorcycle Engine Detail
Vintage Motorcycle Engine Detail

Click on any image to begin a light box slideshow of all the images in this gallery.

I think this has been a good exercise for me and helps me see more possibilities for many of the images I love to capture. HDR Black and White photography really excites my creative side and lets me reveal another facet of the world as I see it.

Carpenters Working On Tower Three West From an Aerial Lift.

Carpenters of the Ohio River Bridges Project

This post showcases several different images of the Carpenter’s trade.

My Photo is a Winner in the Engineering News Record, Year in Construction 2013, Photo Contest

On the Ohio River Bridges Project with Sean Ellery Ironworker Local 70, Louisville, KY.
On the Ohio River Bridges Project with Sean Ellery Ironworker Local 70, Louisville, KY.

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I just learned that my photo of Ironworker Sean Ellery was chosen as a winner in the Engineering News Record, http://ENR.com, photo contest “Year in Construction 2013” There were over 1400 entries and making the grade is really gratifying.

Thanks go to Walsh Construction for giving me access and support to shoot the Ohio River Bridges Project and especially to Sean Ellery from Ironworker’s Local 70 in Louisville, KY for being part of the photograph.

Construction Cranes in HDR

Walsh Construction Cranes on the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Walsh Construction Cranes on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

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Cranes are the workhorses for Walsh Construction on their Ohio River Bridges Project. In this view from the Indiana landing there are two large cranes on barges in the river and if you look along the horizon you can see at least six more cranes. They are being used to move material and to set the pile drivers in place on the Kentucky side of the river where there are going to be over fifty structures erected in the reconstruction of Louisville’s Spaghetti Junction.

This HDR image is another three frame bracket set +2, 0 and -2 EV at f8. I merged them in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and finished the merged image in Aperture 3. After that I took the HDR image into Photoshop and applied some lens correction as well. I’m starting to limit my use of the structure slider in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 because I think it is introducing graininess into the skies. I still use a little to punch up the details but not nearly as much as I have in the past. When in Aperture 3 I have also limited the use of the details slider for the same reason.

HDR of Robyn Keith at Work

Robyn Keith  #2
Robyn Keith #2

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The woman in this image is Robyn Keith. Robyn is a carpenter and I wanted to capture her at work with the rising sun behind her. The light was really rich the morning I shot this and the sparks flying from her cutting wheel also caught me eye. I also liked the way the morning sunlight was reflecting off the surface of the concrete form that she was working on and tying the sparks, the sunlit sky and the reflections together.

This HDR image was created in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 from my standard bracket set of +2, o and -2 EV. Because she was moving slightly while cutting off the rebar, I had to apply 80% anti-ghosting to eliminate some ghosting around her head. When applying anti-ghosting I always strive to use the smallest percentage possible to avoid creating other artifacts in the image. In this case 80% was the lowest amount I could use; anything less than that amount left ghosts of her head and hands. I could have dealt with that issue inside Photoshop but the anti-ghosting settings in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 usually are a much simpler approach and work very well in most cases.After merging the three frames I applied the Balanced preset to do my basic tone-mapping. I like to use that preset because it adds a small amount of contrast to the initial merger and sets the stage for me to adjust the shadows and highlights without adding too much of an over-processed HDR feel to the merged files. As usual I returned the merged files to Aperture 3 where I completed adjusting it and sharpened it.