HDR Photography and More by Dave DiCello

Have a drink on me

I’ve been trying to switch it up a bit more lately and not give just wide angles of cityscapes for your viewing pleasure.  Don’t get me wrong, there is very little I like to photograph more than a city skyline at night, or along the rivers in Pittsburgh, or the bright lights of New York.  I’ve thrown in some sports action shots, some legendary rock band tributes and even some candid couples.  My problem (one of the many) is that I never really have a great idea for different photography ideas like that until they pop up in front of me.  Once that happens, then I’m all in, it’s just getting the ball rolling is the hard part.

On that same note, that’s something that I really like about photography, that they are so many different kinds, i.e. portrait, candid, macro, still life.  I’m content (for now) doing what I feel I’m good at, and that is capturing HDR of pretty much anything.  There is certainly something to be said for being the photographic equivalent of the jack of all trades, but the worst thing you can do is be the master of none.  When I go through my flickr contacts every day, I get to see such a variety of shots that I would never even think to take, and it’s not because I am not a good photographer.  It’s just that I am focused on making the style that I am best at and that I am most interested in even better.  Remember, chances are I am never going to make my living as a photographer, which means that I take pictures for fun, so I should choose a photography style that suits me and that I enjoy.  In line with that, I always like to reference photography back to the arts, because I feel that photography is one.  If Dali and da Vinci and Picasso and Van Gogh and Monet all painted the same style of pictures, yes they would all be masterpieces, but we would get no variety, no real sense of the limits of art.  That’s the beauty of photography.  We have our own van Goghs and Picassos who can help open our eyes to new ways to shoot the world around us.  I propose a cheers to them (ahhhh, there’s that reference to the title).

I guess I got off on one of my rants again, as I was starting to say that I’ve been trying to do stuff just a bit different now and again to keep you interested.  Today’s shot is still an HDR, but it’s got alcohol and bokeh in it too, and it was taken with my 50mm.  I took this one before a Penguins’ game a few weeks ago while sitting at the bar waiting for my company to arrive.  I’m always in a tough spot, because I get out of work much earlier than most of my friends, so I am always the first one at the bar before games, and at least two drinks ahead of anyone I am going to the game with.  Notice I said tough spot, not bad spot.  My only complaint about the 50mm is no vibration reduction, so handheld shots can be a bit tough.  I set the camera on the bar, put it on five bracket exposures, set the timer, and off we go.  Oh, and first round is on me to anyone who can tell me what I was drinking.  Just to be clear, I do know what it was, seeing as it was only my first one.  Later in the night could be a bit sketchier.

As for the processing, like I said it is a five exposures merged in HDR Efex under the Granny’s Attic preset.  I changed the HDR Method to Natural and bumped up the structure to get it s bit more clarity as well as toned down the saturation.  In CS5, I ran it through Color Efex and gave it a Pro Contrast filter.  Adjusted the S Curve for even a bit more contrast, then added a warming filter to give it the glow it has.  That’s about it.  No need for any sharpening on this one.

That’s it for today’s ramble.  Check back tomorrow to see if I can stay on topic for more than a few sentences.


2 responses

  1. I’m thinking this is Guinness! I’m a dark beer guy, and mainly I drink Leinenkugel Creamy Dark. Almost daily. That’s my preferred beer, but I’ve had Guinness many times, and the foam would be the give-away for me. But – there are so many now it’s hard to say for sure.

    I really like what you did with this one, and agree with what you’re saying here. I’d like to branch out more, and do on occasion, but landscapes is where my heart is, so that’s always going to be the bulk of what I do.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:14 am

    • Craig – I don’t want to give anything away until tomorrow, but you have a great taste in beers! I’m a big Leinenkugel fan but have never heard of that! Will put it on my list for sure.

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. I definitely agree, landscapes/cityscapes are what got my into photography and what I like the most! Cheers my friend!

      February 16, 2011 at 8:25 am

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