HDR Photography and More by Dave DiCello

Back on the wagon

Well, after a long weekend off from work and celebrating my little brother’s 21st birthday, I make a return to the blogging world.  It was a fun weekend but I certainly needed yesterday of just sitting on my couch watching basketball to help recover.  I think I’m starting to get a bit old.

As my Monday posts are typically a recap of my weekend uploads to flickr, I won’t stray too far from that path on this particular Monday.  I actually won’t stray from it at all.  Although one of my posts you have already seen on my blog (the panorama of our honeymoon resort), so I will not be posting that one.  You are more than welcome to check out that post though if you are in some need some warm weather.

We’ll start with Friday’s post.  This is one that I took a few months back at the end of November on a photowalk I did on Mt. Washington.  Now I have photographed the city from that location a couple dozen times, but this was definitely a sight that I had not seen in any of those previous visits.  I usually like to make the trip up there at night, as the Pittsburgh skyline from that high is just breathtaking.  However on this particular trip the sky at a certain rainbow quality to it that was just awesome (that’s “awesome” as in full of awe, not awesome like in Wayne’s World).  On Mt. Washington there are a handful of overlooks that stretch out from the main road that you can view the city from.  I was a bit farther down than normal, and I had a great view along the river of the main part of Pittsburgh.  Set up shot, bracketed and fired away.

Processed this one in HDR Efex under the “Subtle” method from 7 bracketed exposures.  I masked in the entire -3 exposure, as it had the best color for that I was going for.  Added a curves layer to enhance the red of the red and then a second blue layer to enhance the, well, blue.  Did some selective coloring on the top of the PPG Building (the shiny one with spires on top) to bring out the golden tones of the sunset reflecting off of it.  Finally, added a Tonal Contrast filter to the city as well as some high pass sharpening to the skyline.

Next up is another candid from our trip to New York in December of last year.  I was walking around early Friday morning and caught some iPhone photographers trying to capture the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.  I’m always intrigued by pictures of people taking pictures, so I thought I would give it a go.  I had dedicated this one on my flickr page to Kurt, aka Ian Sane, as he wrote me a very kind testimonial.  Kurt is a master of candids and street photography, and like I said on my flickr page, if you haven’t visited his work, check it out.  You won’t be disappointed.

Not too much to speak of processing wise here.  Lowered the overall saturation in Camera Raw and increased the saturation of the reds and greens.  Straightened the shot and applied a Tonal Contrast filter (very slight) and the pill box.  Voila.

Today’s upload brings us back to that early morning photowalk I went on a few weeks back.  Like I’ve said before, the one thing that I have not had much success capturing is the moon, and this is an example of that.  I was walking between two hotels new the Point in Pittsburgh and saw the moon glowing over Mt. Washington.  I set up the tripod and took the brackets, but wasn’t really happy with the result of the moon.  I did however like the overall scene, with the warm glow from the hotel restaurant, the pastel colors in the sky and the motion blur from the tree branches, as it was incredibly wind, so I thought I would process it anyways.

This is a seven exposure HDR processed with HDR Efex under the “Natural” method.  I had a bit of a tough time with the white balance, as I was getting incandescent light from the hotel, halogen from the street lights and the natural light from the moon.  I had to do some heavy adjustments to the reds, as the whole shot was just too warm.  I also increased the saturation of the sky to help bring out the pastels.  I didn’t mask in the entire sky, because like I said, I really liked the motion blur from the trees, it gives to scene a sense of being there, in my opinion.  Added a very slight Tonal Contrast filter and call it a day.

Thanks for sticking with me through this  long post.  I’ll catch everyone tomorrow.

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