HDR Photography and More by Dave DiCello

Posts tagged “mt. washington

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.

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Blinded by the light

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.


Young love

I know that this blog is called HDR Exposed, but that doesn’t mean that everything I post has to be HDR.  Today, we take a break from city skylines and Pirate games.  I’ve taken a bunch of candids that I really like recently and may try to throw them in every now and again.

I used to be really intimidated by taking candids.  Afraid of getting caught, looking weird, and really just not quite sure what the best way to go about them was.  My equipment last year wasn’t the most well suited for it either; while I really liked the 55-200 lens for the D40X, it really doesn’t compare to the 70-200 2.8 on a D700.  I got inspired by a couple people on flickr, mainly DJ Poe, who always has incredible street shots of New York City that just have a dynamic cinematic effect to them.  While I haven’t been yet able to really emulate his style, I found that I started to develop a style of my own, a style that fit more of how I shoot.  I also got more comfortable having people see me taking pictures of them and figured how and at what time of day is the best time to photograph candids.  I still have a lot to learn, but I’m getting better each time I go out.

All that being said, more about today’s shot.  I took this on Mother’s Day as I was trekking around Mt. Washington.  There are usually a few people milling around up there, but on that particular Sunday there were quite a few people milling around.  I was getting ready to head back to my sister’s apartment and had just taken my camera off my shoulder to put in my bag when I happened to look up and see these two sitting on a bench in front of me.  I hurried my camera to my eye, all while dexterously zooming to 200mm, turning the camera on, setting the aperture to 2.8 (I was just taking skyline shots at f13), flip the switch to spot focusing and snap the shot.  A half second after I took this shot, she moved her head to look over the city.  Whew.  Just in time.

Even though this isn’t an HDR I still had some processing to do.  Opened in CS5, reduced overall saturation and kicked up vibrance a bit.  Enhanced the shadows and increased global contrast, as well as giving a closer crop to the couple.  I added a Tonal Contrast filter in Color Efex to help give it some local contrast.  In onOne PhotoTools I added a Golden Hour enhancer and a Turbo Boost, to help give the color a tiny kick and the entire image some punch.  Added the logo and shipped it off to the blog.

I hope you all had a great weekend.  See you tomorrow.

Oh, one more thing.  The lady over the girl’s left shoulder?  Yes, that is her stomach hanging out and yes she is holding an iguana.


View from the top

First off, happy belated Mother’s Day to all you moms out there.  I didn’t get a chance to post anything yesterday, so I missed the chance to actually send the wishes on the actual holiday.

 

I spent the afternoon yesterday with my family at my sister’s apartment on Mt. Washington, which is featured above and many other times on this blog and my flickr page.  I hadn’t planned on taking very many pictures, as it seems like I have every conceivable view from the various overlooks that watch over the city, but there is just something about being up there that you can’t help but take a few brackets.  I did try something a little different (which you will see in a few days), which was put the 70-200 2.8 on and get some HDRs at 200mm.  That is an incredible piece of glass, and I think that I may start using it more often.

I also tried to do something a little different with today’s shot in terms of composition.  Most of the time that a photographer is up there (myself included) they get so mesmerized by the skyline that they forget about Station Square, which is right below the far overlooks.  In the summer, the trees grow so thick that you can’t really see through them, but they aren’t quite at that point yet, so I thought that I would give a view both of the far end of Station Square as well as the skyline.  It was pretty cool how the entire city was glowing, even Station Square, and how the parking lot looked like some kind of spaceship ready to take off.

This is a seven exposure HDR processed with Photomatix with some touch up work done in CS5.  I masked in the entire +3 exposure, as there wasn’t a whole lot of noise in the sky, but I wanted to even it out a bit.  I also used the -3 exposure to mask in all the names you see on top of the buildings, as the HDR process really blew them out.  Adjusted the red tones down slightly, as they seemed to be too warm for the rest of the shot, and then ran it through both Color Efex (Tonal Contrast and Color Cast Removal) and onOne PhotoTools (sharpening) to give it more punch.

I was going to post the shots that I posted over the weekend, but I don’t think that they really fit the other shot.  You are more than welcome to head on over to my flickr site to check on my posts from Saturday and Sunday.

So for some reason last week, my e-mail address associated with my blog was not allowing me to comment on any other blog, no matter the host site.  I’ve since updated my e-mail so I should be back to commenting as normal.

Hope you all had a great weekend and have a happy Monday.