HDR Photography and More by Dave DiCello

DoF

Focused on the now

­I don’t normally get too philosophical on my posts, but today I think I might, as this will be a shorter post.

It seems like we (myself included) are always looking ahead, looking forward to something in the future, be it a vacation, a wedding, a graduation, holiday, or simply the weekend.  Most of the time, there is nothing wrong with that at all, especially in regards to major life events, like a wedding or the birth of a child.  Life goes by so quick and when we spend time hoping and waiting for things to come, it can make it go even quicker.  Sometimes, we just need to take a step back and take a look around us to enjoy where we are and what we are doing right now.  If we spend every day just waiting for tomorrow, have we really gotten everything we could out of today?

On to today’s shot, which inspired the sentiment of my blog today.  I’ve taken a shot similar to this in downtown Pittsburgh before, and while I really like it, I took that shot in the middle of the day, so the light was pretty harsh and the background was just ok.  I like this one a lot better, because the background, even though it is out of focus, gives you a wider variety of colors.  I even snuck a sunflare in there, which I didn’t think that I would be able to get at f4.

This is a seven exposure HDR that I laid on the road and blocked traffic to get and then processed in Photomatix.  I had to do a little masking on the upper left and right hand corners of the shot to get rid of minor haloing there.  I boosted overall saturation, as well as added a curves layer of green and yellow to enhance the trees and line on the road.  Finally I added a Tonal Contrast filter (Color Efex) and Turbo Boost filter (onOne PhotoTools) to complete the shot.

Thanks for stopping by guys and gals, see you tomorrow.

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Taking it all in

Happy Monday everyone, I hope that you all had a great and relaxing weekend.  Even if it wasn’t relaxing, I hope that it was still great.  We had two beautiful days in a row here in Pittsburgh, which hasn’t happened for months.  More storms to come this week, but for now, we are enjoying the nice weather.

I was thinking about maybe starting some kind of a theme day on the blog, given that I have posted candids on consecutive Mondays.  I’m not sure how many I will be able to post in a row, as I have a very limited backlog of them, but I’ll give it a shot.  Today, I introduce Candid Mondays.

Back to Mt. Washington we go, to continue with shots from Mothers’ day a few weeks ago.  Like I’ve said before, I had the telephoto lens on for most of the day/evening, trying to branch out from my current wide angle addiction and this is one of the results.  I was heading back down Grandview Avenue, the main drag through the hill top community to get some HDRs from the very overlook that these two were standing on.  Unlike the candid I posted last Monday, which was a hurry up and get the camera up as fast I could shot, this was a little bit easier to capture.

Simple processing here.  Opened the RAW in Photoshop, desaturated the entire image and increased the vibrance.  Brought back some of the saturation of the reds and greens, and increased both the black levels and overall contrast.  Added a very slight Tonal Contrast filter to everything but the sky, a Pro Contrast filter to the entire image, and the Hollywood Effect in onOne software to polish to it.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the inaugural Candid Monday.  Back to the HDRs tomorrow.


Shallow steps

This morning I added another piece to my photo editing arsenal which already includes Color Efex, Silver Efex, HDR Efex, Photomatix, Photoshop CS4 and CS5 and now…the onOne Photo Suite.  I’m pretty excited, especially because yesterday morning I had never even heard of the software, downloaded it last night and get the license before the sales expired.  Definitely worth picking up, as you can save over $150 right now.  Sale said it ended yesterday, but it’s still on their website this morning.

Onto to today’s shot.  I just have one upload today, but I wanted to thank all of you who visited my Seas of gold post yesterday.  I think that I am going to be in the market for a fisheye lens soon, as I really liked the way that the Heinz Field panorama turned out.  I may rent one first, just to make sure that I like it.  And so I have something to pass the time before mine gets here.

This is a shot that I took a few weeks ago while moseying through downtown on one of the first nice days we’ve had in Pittsburgh this spring.  In the Steel City, we don’t have a subway, but we do have a trolley.  It’s a bit limited on where you can take it to and from, unless you live in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, which I do.  If that’s the case, then you are good to go.  There are about four stops within a mile of my house, the T (as it is affectionately known) will take you to Station Square or one of four other locations downtown.  This shot is of one of those stops, well, at least the steps down to one of the stops.

One thing that I like about the 16-35 lens is the slight distortion you get at the wide end, which you can clearly see here on the first few steps.  Also, for just being an f4 lens, the depth of field and bokeh can be quite good as well.  When I got my D700 I tossed around the idea of getting the 14-24, which I may end up eventually getting, but I didn’t like the idea of having to lug around a camera that had the lens hood permanently attached.  I know, I know, a fisheye has one attached as well, but the 14-24 is a bit of a monster.

Anyways, this is a five exposure HDR processed with Photomatix.  Just did some slight curves adjustments and added a little vignette to bring the focus to the center of the image.

Catch everyone tomorrow, and thanks for the visits.