HDR Photography and More by Dave DiCello

One more time

It’s so difficult when you go to a place that’s been photographed as much as New York has been to find some way to make it your own.  Not just by the random guy with a P&S that he’s had for five years snapping away either.  Obviously you have professionals, professional amateurs, regular amateurs, artists, everyone you can think of.  And really, it’s not just New York, it’s any place you go, even Pittsburgh.  I’ve fallen into the trap myself of taking the “obligatory” shot of the Pittsburgh skyline (ok, I’ve down this many times), and the shot in the middle of Times Square, and the Brooklyn Bridge at night.  It’s equally as difficult both when you live in a place and when you are visiting it.  I live in Pittsburgh, so I am constantly shooting in and around the city.  Like I said in yesterday’s post, I feel like I need to take a fresh look at the city, and I do have a few ideas for the next couples weeks.  As for when you visit somewhere, like New York or Boston or Chicago or LA, you want to make sure you get THE shot: the Brooklyn Bridge in NY, Fenway in Boston, Navy Pier in Chicago, the Hollywood sign in LA.  The question is, once you get that picture, now what?

For me, I didn’t want to leave New York without putting my spin on at least a few of the typical shots.  So I scoured flickr for hours looking at hundreds (eh, probably thousands) of shots from around the city in places that I knew we were going to be going, especially the aforementioned Brooklyn Bridge.  I wanted to make sure that we were there in the afternoon, because I knew I wanted to incorporate the sun in the shot.  There are surprisingly few pictures of sun flares and the bridge, so I knew I had it.  It was a sunny day on the day we were heading there, so I thought I was in luck.  I got “the shot”, standing right in the middle of the bridge then kind of climbed onto the railing.  I couldn’t just lean over, because the way the bridge was bouncing from the cars I wouldn’t have got five clean exposures.  Unfortunately, clouds had moved in by this time, and I didn’t have a crisp shot of the sun, as the clouds were diffusing all the rays, preventing me from getting the sunflare I wanted.  I still like how it turned out.

I think it is very important to do some research on where you are going before you get there.  You don’t have to spend hours looking at pictures, but take a look at a few, that way, when you get there you aren’t surprised at what you find.  You will have an idea of where you need to be and what will work for your photography style.  

Technical time for the shot above.  We know it’s five shots and handheld and it was processed with HDR Efex.  I needed to mask in the cars, the people walking and just tiny halo around the bridge.  I added a Tonal Contrast filter in Color Efex, just to the bridge and the road, to give it more of a gritty feel.  I also selectively adjusted the reds to give them more of an orange look.  Added an S curve to give it some contrast finally, but certainly not least, a high pass sharpening.

Until next time.


2 responses

  1. That’s just cool Dave, well done! Jim

    February 15, 2011 at 10:10 am

    • Thanks a lot Jim, I appreciate you stopping by!

      February 16, 2011 at 6:58 am

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