So today’s the last day on the old blog. You know, six months ago I probably would not even care. But I’ve gotten used to how things work around here, got used to the format, how to post, add pictures. I’m sorry, I didn’t want to get emotional *sniff *sniff*…
Ok, well now that THAT’S done with, I really am excited. I’ve spent a ton of time this week getting everything ready, and while it may be a few weeks until I am at the level I’d like to be at, I have it in a pretty good place right now. So tomorrow, when you all go to visit hdrexposed.wordpress.com, you will be taken to the new site. I’m anxious to hear all of your opinions, so please let me know what you think.
Today’s shot was meant to be a bit symbolic of the setting sun, moving a new site, you get the idea. I took this last week at a school near our house where my wife and I will go play basketball in the evening sometimes. I was really impressed with the lack of noise in this shot, as I had forgotten to change my camera settings and was at ISO 1,000. With my old D40X, if I used ISO 400 I got visible noise, but it seemed like the D700 handled it just fine.
The HDR is made up of 7 handheld brackets processed with Photomatix then edited in CS5. I did some slight shadow and highlight adjustment to start off with, then added a blue curves adjustment layer for the sky. Added a very slight Tonal Contrast filter from Color Efex as well as a Local Contrast boost and Turbo Boost in onOne PhotoTools. Added a bit of Clarity as well and called it a day.
See you all on the new site tomorrow. Take care.
A quick post today, as I have some stuff to wrap up at work before the long holiday weekend. Website is coming along as well, and I’m still targeting to get it up and running by the end of next weekend but seeing as I’ve never done this kind of thing before, we’ll see.
Another shot from the Pirate game I went to a couple weeks ago. One of my favorite things about PNC Park is the fact that you can see the city skyline from pretty much every seat in the stadium. This is a view from one of the rotundas leading to the upper levels.
For this I combined 5 handheld exposures in Photomatix, then tonemapped the +2 exposure to mask in both the flag and the people, as they were both obviously moving. The scoreboard had changed between shots too, so I took the -1 exposure to mask that back in. Finally, Tonal Contrast, Pro Contrast and Progressive Sharpening filters were added, along with a desaturation layer to finish the shot.
I hope all of you who are celebrating Memorial Day (and those of your who aren’t) have a great weekend. See you on Monday.
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.
Well, I finally took the plunge. Went out a registered a domain and am in the process of completely revamping my blog/website. I’m not exactly sure how long the whole process is going to take, but I hope to have everything up and running by the end of next week, so stay tuned. I also wanted to say a big thank you to Chris Frailey, who even got his wife involved in answering some questions I had, and also to Jason Hines and Chris Nitz, who also were able to help me. All three of these guys are fine photographers; please make sure to check out their sites if you haven’t already.
For today’s shot we head to Delaware Park in Buffalo, New York, where I was on Saturday afternoon for a friend’s wedding, just in attendance, not as the photographer. On a side note, they had four photographers at their wedding, which I had never seen before. Anyways, we had about two and half hours to kill between the ceremony and the reception and since it was a beautiful day, we opted to find a park to hang out at. This was the closest, so we made our way down there. We saw a bunch of different weddings come through, which was extremely interesting to see, as there were brides, grooms and bridal parties of all makes and models.
This is a five exposure HDR processed with Photomatix and then kicked over the CS5. I first did an overall curves adjustment, then opened it in onOne PhotoTools. I applied the WoW Landscape filter and then a slight Firenze filter, to give it the bit of a reddish hue. Next up was Color Efex, where I added a Pro Contrast filter and the vignette. Removed a few dust spots, flipped it on its head, and shipped it off to the blog. Enjoy.
Happy Wednesday everyone and thanks for stopping by.
Thanks for all of you who stopped by on the first candid Monday yesterday. I think that I keep them going, so look for more in the coming weeks.
Back to the HDRs and sunflares today. It was kind of an accident how I stumbled across how to do sunflares, and before that I never even though to shoot directly into the sun. I never really knew that to get those sharp, pinpoint flares early in my photographic/HDR career, I was just taking pictures. One day I was out on my front porch trying fiddling around with HDRs and after scrolling through my brackets on the LCD I exited out of the menu but kept scrolling, which set my aperture to f22. I lined up the next shot and fired off the shots, downloaded them on my computer and was a little curious as to why this one shot looked different than the rest. I checked the EXIF and saw the aperture was f22 and I was hooked.
This particular sunflare is over downtown Pittsburgh during rush hour earlier this month. I had to wait around for about 10 minutes to get everyone out of the scene, and just when I was ready to take the shot, this kid came and say down on the bench. After seeing that he wasn’t going to leave, I took the shot anyway, and left him in to give the scene a bit of a human element. It was pretty windy on this particular day, so I had some motion blur in the trees, which I actually chose not to mask out, the reason being that it made the scene look a little too static for my liking.
This is a 5 exposure handheld HDR processed with Photomatix and then shipped over to CS5. I added blue, green and red adjustment layers for the sky, grass and trees, respectively, and also added a very slight shadow adjust to bring back some of the buildings, as they were fairly dark. Ran it though Color Efex to give it a Tonal Contrast filter and that was that.
Take care until tomorrow.
Thank you to everyone who visited my blog yesterday, I had over triple of my average views for the year. Not exactly sure how this stuff happens sometimes, but I am glad it does.
On to today’s shot. I took this one a few weeks ago on a little stroll through downtown Pittsburgh. This is the entrance to the Steel Building or USX Tower right near the center of town. I was walking by a bit before rush hour and about 45 minutes after I took this shot, the sidewalk in front of the building would have been completely packed with people waiting for rides or buses to come and pick them up. I really enjoy being downtown at this time of day, because there are so many different sizes and shapes of buildings, that it really filters the light well and you get cool beams coming through like this one.
Usually the camera police come out and tell you that you can’t take pictures in front of the Steel Building (yep, camera, not just tripod, these guys are crazy) and I saw one of the guards eyeing me up, but he was wither too tired to come outside or just didn’t care. Guess I didn’t look like much of a threat.
Bonus: Can you spot the guy who just narrowly missed scoring the lead role in “Multiplicity” instead of Michael Keaton?
Pretty standard when it came to processing this one. Five exposure handheld HDR, processed with Photomatix. Did a bit of masking to get rid of ghosting from the car on the right and the people in the center (I thought that Multiplicity man was pretty cool). I had a few slight halos, so I just masked in the -2 exposure for the sky. Added a red curves adjustment layer to enhance the building and a blue one for the sky. Also added a Tonal Contrast filter from Color Efex, and a Progressive Sharpening and Firenze filter from onOne PhotoTools, the former to, well, sharpen the image and the later to give the sunlight some more glow. Slapped on the logo and exported to blog.
Thanks for all the support and visits. See you tomorrow, which is Friday, which is good.
Well, today is my 100th post on my blog. Of the last 99, 26 of them were from 2009 and 2010 combined with the rest coming this year, which is kind of crazy, given the fact that I just started really committing to my blog in late January. Daily traffic to my blog has tripled since then as well, so I just wanted to take the time to thank everyone who is a regular visitor and also those of you who just mosey on by every once and while. I really appreciate all the support I receive from everyone. Here’s to another couple hundred. Or thousand.
Today’s shot is one that I really don’t even remember taking. I mean, I can believe I took it, but as I was looking through my pictures from Mt. Washington I saw it and thought, “Huh”. So I went ahead and processed it and really liked the way that it came out. This is a view up the Monongahela River, one of the two rivers that meet at the Point to form the Ohio River. You also get a view of some of the distinct bridges we have in the city (from bottom to top, excluding the second from the bottom which is the trolley bridge): Smithfield Street, Liberty, 10th Street and Birmingham. In the center of the shot you can see the Allegheny County Jail (which you also saw a few posts ago) and in the foreground is the top of the Grand Concourse in Station Square. Off in the distance is the top of the Cathedral of Learning, the iconic building on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland. All that being said, I think my favorite thing about this shot is the shadow that is created by the city lights of the trolley bridge on the water. You would normally expect to see reflections, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the shadows.
On to the processing. This is a seven exposure HDR processed with Photomatix. It was a bit flat coming out of the tonemapping, so I applied an S curve to bring back some of the contrast. I applied a Pro Contrast filter in Color Efex, as well as a warming filter in Photoshop to cool the entire image. In onOne PhotoTools I used the Progressive Sharpening filter to being out some details and the Firenza filter to also cool down the blues. A bit of spot healing in the sky to get rid of some dust specks and that was that.
Again, thank you for all of your support on my last 100 posts. I hope that you all will continue to follow me in the future.
You know how sometimes when you are out shooting you get home and say to yourself, “I literally do not like any of shots”? Some may be ok, but most are just like “Eh”. But then there are the times (at least for me being a primarily HDR photographer) that it’s almost like I want to hurry up and get home and cut the photowalk short because I just want to start processing my images, I am that excited about that. My little walk on Mt. Washington a few weeks ago was like that, and this shot in particular.
So my last post featured a candid I took as I was wrapping up the early part of my walk, before dinner and this one wraps up the end of the night. I have been on Mt. Washington countless times since I got my camera and never once noticed this glowing red cross on the church on Grandview. I’m not sure if it’s because I never really am down this far on Grandview or if I just never looked at it, but when I was walking back to my car, I knew I had to get a shot of it. Luckily there was still a fair amount of traffic coming through, so I was able to get a nice light trail going through the frame as well. One of my favorite parts of the shot is the reflection of the light trails along the railing on the right. I didn’t even notice it at first when I was looking at the shots on the LCD, but as soon as the HDR popped up I noticed them. I’ve included the selective color version below and am open to suggestions and opinions as to which one you like better.
This a 5 exposure (-1 to +3) HDR processed with Photomatix with all additional edits done in Photoshop CS5. The first thing I had to do was tonemap the +3 exposure to help lighten the church and then do a light mask on it (25%), as the HDR process made it a little too dark for my liking. I also used the +2 exposure to mask in some of the light trails, mainly on the left had side of the frame, to give them a more continuous look. The bright yellow sign was blown out from the +3 exposure, so I used the -1 exposure to recover some of the lost details there. Next, I added a Pro Contrast filter in Color Efex and a blue curves layer to make the sky a little more vibrant.
To get the selective color, I did a SelectàColor Range and picked all the reds, oranges and yellow, minus the sign in the foreground. I then used Silver Efex to convert to do the black and white conversion.
That about wraps it up today. See you again tomorrow.
A couple more shots from the Bucco game that I went to this Tuesday this time with some action shots thrown in with an HDR.
The shot above is the view from the rotunda over left field that leads up to the multiple levels of PNC Park. We got there a little late, about midway through the bottom of the first, and seeing as I have never had my D700 at a Pirate game I wanted to get this shot. I was a little disappointed that the sky wasn’t clearer when I took this shot, but that’s the beauty of HDR: It can take a flat, otherwise uninteresting sky and turn it into this.
The shot above is probably one of my favorite from the game. The Pirate pictured is first baseman Steve Pearce, who I had never heard of before this very at bat. I know, I know, it’s a bit sad, but my favorite MLB team is the Atlanta Braves, so I can’t keep up with the merry-go-round of prospects/rookies/no-names that the Pirates parade through year after year. Anyways, Pearce hit a soft grounder up the middle of the infield and legged it out for an infield hit. I was able to capture him JUST as he was hitting first base, with the ball clearly still in the air. What I found most interesting however, is that you can’t see a single other player in the frame. It looks like they are all alone on the field. Didn’t plan it like that, but that’s how it came out.
The next action shot is of catcher Ryan Doumit, who is having a modestly productive year after a couple of slow ones. A lot of people were calling for his departure from the Bucs, but they kept him around, and he has been consistent so far. This was one of the last shots that I took, and it shows Doumit just before he made contact. He didn’t get a hit on this pitch, but he scorched a line drive to the outfield that was caught.
On to the processing. The HDR is a 5 exposure handheld HDR processed with Photomatix. As with the last couple, I masked in the entire crowd to get rid of the ghosting. I also did a bit of masking on the lights, as I was metered on the dark stands (d’oh) and they were a bit blown out. I added a blue curves layer to the sky to enhance what little blue sky there was, and also a green curves layer to the field to help it stand out. In Color Efex I used the Tonal Contrast filter, and in onOne PhotoTools I added a Turbo Boost. What a cool effect name. Turbo Boost.
I processed the action shots similarly. Both were opened in Camera Raw where I increased the clarity and desaturated the images. Moved them over the CS5 where I added a Tonal Contrast later to both of them, increased then vibrance, and opened them in onOne PhotoTools. They both got the same Progressive Sharpening, and I added an extra filter to the second one of Ryan Doumit at bat, the Hollywood Intensity. Pretty happy with how they turned out.
That’s all for this week folks. Hope you all have a great weekend. See you on Monday.
There seem to be very few teams throughout the history of professional sports that have experienced the fall from grace the way that the Pirates have. And I’m not just talking about missing the playoffs for a few years in a row, or not making it to the World Series. There are teams with longer World Series droughts than the Buccos 32 years (Indians 63 years, Padres, Rockies, Astros, Rangers and a few others, never). I’m talking about the fact that it has been nearly twenty longer years since the Pirates have won more games than they lost in a single year. Nearly two decades since they have finished with a winning percentage above .500. The closest they have come was in 1997, when they finished 79-83, a mere 2 games away.
There seemed to be a slight glimmer of hope this year, as they have hovered around the .500 mark for most of the year, and that’s where they were the night that I attended this game. However, they got stomped 10-3 at the hands of the Dodgers, and then were shut out again last night. The problem with the most recent Pirates teams is they have no star power, no game changers, no one who is really dangerous. They have young players who show a lot of potential like Andrew McCutcheon, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez, but chances are they will not win you a World Series. Pirate’s ownership has said that when fans start coming to games they will invest more money in the team. Well that’s a catch 22, because if they don’t field a competitive team, you aren’t going to get many people to come to game. While I am not a huge fan of the salary cap in other sports, I think it would be the only way (under the current management) for the Pirates to start winning again.
Anyways, on to today’s shot. I have a bunch to post from the game, but I wanted to start off with this one. The seats we had were pretty good, about ten rows off the first base line, which afforded me some great picture opportunities. I took this one a little bit later in the game, when some clouds had rolled in and the blue hour was upon us. PNC Park is a beautiful stadium, especially with the view of the Pittsburgh skyline in the distance, which is what I was trying to capture with this shot.
This is a 5 exposure handheld HDR that I processed in Photomatix. I actually had originally taken 7 brackets, but the -3 and -2 exposures were a bit too dark, so I ended up using the -1 to +3 range. I tonemapped the +2 exposure to mask in the entire crowd, as you can imagine no one was kind enough to sit still while I took these. I also used the 0 EV exposure to mask in the players on the field and the coaches, as they were just shifting a tiny bit. The last mask I added was over the scoreboard so it looked crisp and clear. I added a curves layer for the blues and greens to help bring out the sky and the field respectively, and also added a Tonal Contrast and Pro Contrast filters in Color Efex. Logo added, good to go.
More Buccos shots coming tomorrow. Make sure you stick around.