HDR Photography and More by Dave DiCello

Permanent residence

So I went to my second Pirates game of the year last night, actually it was my second in less than a month, which hasn’t happened in years.  The first game I went to was great; there was a beer tasting before the game, they Buccos jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first and they ended up winning.  Last night?  Not to much.  Got stomped by the Dodgers 10-3, and looked very much like the sub-.500 ball club that they’ve looked like for the last 20 years, taking up permanent residence in the bottom half of the standings.  I did, however, get a ton of great shots, which I will share with you in the next few days.

For now, how about another view of the city?  This is more of what I was talking about yesterday in taking a different approach to shooting from Mt. Washington.  In the center of this shot is actually the new Allegheny County Jail (by new I mean newer), which is right along the parkway that leads you out of the ‘Burgh to the east.  I thought that it was pretty cool how you can see four different levels of streets, two above the jail and two below it, and light trails on all of them.  The street that I find the most interesting is the one that is directly behind the jail, as it is one continuous streak all the way along the road.  The three bridges you see here are (in order from bottom to top) the Liberty Bridge, which takes you to the South Hills (where I live), the 10th Street Bridge (which takes you from the end of the South Side to downtown) and the Birmingham Bridge, which also connects the South Side to the bottom of Oakland, where the University of Pittsburgh is located.  The bridge at the very bottom of the frame isn’t a bridge for cars; it connects the trolley line from Station Square to downtown Pittsburgh.

This is a seven exposure HDR processed in Photomatix and Photoshop CS5.  I first tonemapped the +2 exposure to get the light trails I wanted and masked in all the roads.  I did a color cast removal of the blues/purples in Color Efex as well as add a Tonal Contrast layer.  In onOne PhotoTools I added a sharpening layer and another filter tha cooled the reds and warmed the blues.  Finally, I did some selective coloring on the reds (decreased saturation) and the greens (increased vibrance and saturation).  Added the logo and uploaded.

Halfway there guys.  Friday will be here soon.  Until tomorrow though, adios.


24 responses

  1. I love the smattering of trees throughout this shot. Nice work!

    May 11, 2011 at 6:44 am

    • Thanks Chris! I thought that was kind of cool too, urban meets rural!

      May 11, 2011 at 9:24 am

  2. Great shot, Dave.
    Love the detail, right down to the lights on the crane (upper left). Must be building something in that area, no?

    May 11, 2011 at 7:39 am

    • Thanks Jimi! And yep, they have been for years. That’s close to Pitt’s campus, which always has some kind of construction.

      May 11, 2011 at 9:24 am

  3. cool shot Dave, and great colors man! Jim

    May 11, 2011 at 8:22 am

  4. Great scene bud. I look forward to seeing your shots from the game!

    May 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

    • Thanks man! We only stayed for the first 7 innings (it was getting real ugly and they were free seats), but I’ll definitely post what I took!

      May 11, 2011 at 9:25 am

  5. WOW!

    Did you take 7 exposures in JPG or Raw? I am wondering if I should just use RAW for all the exposures? Or I can process just one RAW to get different exposures?

    That is a lot of process to me to get to what you have. I wonder how long did it take to process.

    Nice work! Thanks for sharing!

    May 11, 2011 at 9:21 am

    • Hey Terence! I always shoot my HDRs in RAW. I know that a lot of people say it doesn’t make a difference, but I really think it does. It takes me anywhere between 15 mins and a half hour to process my shots. Thanks for stopping by!

      May 11, 2011 at 9:26 am

      • I was told to take just one Raw image and change the exposures to create multiple shots and process them in the Photomatix Pro.

        I think the advantage of using just one raw file is to avoid the shaking. I often take photos without tripod. Taking multiple shots often cause the ghost effect which can not 100% correct in the Photomatix DeGhosting process.

        Is one Raw shot enough from your experience?

        Thanks for the answer!

        May 11, 2011 at 9:53 am

  6. Cool shot its really a layered city. I don’t what to the left, but it looks like this would make a great panoramic.

    May 11, 2011 at 9:30 am

    • The left is the rest of the Pittsburgh skyline. Maybe that’s an idea for my next trip up there! Thanks!

      May 11, 2011 at 10:07 am

  7. Great job again with the processing! I like the various bridges and street lines the best!

    May 11, 2011 at 9:44 am

  8. I love how you can look down and across in this scene. It’s wonderfully dizzying (I made up that word!) Beautiful muted colors, Dave.

    May 11, 2011 at 9:51 am

    • Nothing wrong with making up words, haha Thanks for the visit!

      May 11, 2011 at 10:07 am

  9. So much to see in this image. Love the variety in it.

    May 11, 2011 at 9:56 am

  10. Really cool shot. That’s a jail eh? I like reading your process on these things.

    May 11, 2011 at 10:55 am

  11. Beautiful Dave! I really like it, because it’s not the usual overlook shot that people get. You made it unique, and creative! Well done!

    May 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm

  12. Love the shot Dave. Even as a Clevelander I’ve always loved your cities skyline. I need to get there one day to shoot.

    May 12, 2011 at 11:02 am

    • Thanks Tom! I haven’t been to Cleveland in years, but I’d like to go shooting back there one day to get some lake shots!

      May 12, 2011 at 11:34 am

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