HDR Photography and More by Dave DiCello

Posts tagged “station square

Sit and stay a while

This morning I came to a very stark realization.  This blogging, um, stuff, is not easy.  I’ve been sitting here, trying to figure out what it is I’d like to write about today, and maybe I’m tired, the creative part of my brain isn’t awake yet, or something, but I, for the life of me had nothing.  Zippo.  Nada.  I thought to myself, do I really stoop to the level of writing about nothing?  I figured if it worked for Seinfeld then it would work for me.  Not saying I’m on the same level as Seinfeld but for all intents and purposes, this morning, I’m going to give it a shot!  I guess that writing about nothing really is writing about something right?  But then again truly writing about nothing would not be writing at all.  And I am writing.  I’m sorry, I think I just confused myself.  What’s ironic is that I title this “Sit and stay a while” as if I was amusing you in some way.  I have to coax you to say.  What have I become?

How about we just get to today’s shot to lessen the pain a bit (yes, pun intended, and yes, it was a bad one).  I figured that I would follow with the theme of yesterday with a bit of bokeh.  For those of you who aren’t into photography (and I realize now that I should have explained this yesterday, my deepest apologies), bokeh refers to the out of focus area in a picture.  This is a result of the aperture of the lens being wide open (which means a smaller f stop, typically f4 or lower), giving a very shallow depth of field.  You can try this yourself.  Pick up any object and hold it about eight inches from your eyes; everything else will be out of focus.  That’s more or less the concept of this shot.  This particular shot was taken in Station Square with the city “bokehed”, if you will.  I used at aperture of f4 for this, as that is as low as my wide angle 16-35mm will go.

Not a whole lot to say on the processing side.  This is a five exposure, handheld HDR processed with HDR Efex.  I did not apply a Tonal Contrast Filter, just added an S Curve to give the shot a bit more contrast and did some selective coloring to enhance the pink in the sky.  Added some clarity in light room to give the clouds a bit more “oompf” (that is the first time I have ever used that word in type), and there you have it!

Tomorrow’s post will be better.  I promise.


Beach and bokeh

Well, today it is raining.  At least it was raining when I was on my way to work.  It was actually kind of weird, because we still have probably around five inches of snow on the ground, but it was absolutely pouring down rain.  There was a bit of ice, nothing to make the commute too bad.  I usually love winter, but this year has kind of been a pain.  It snows six inches one day, then gets up to 33 and it all melts.  Then it snows again two days later.  Then it gets warm again.  I can say that I am officially over winter and ready for spring.  To me winter has two parts.  The part leading up to Christmas and then the part where it snows (hopefully the two coincide).  I know that winter doesn’t technically start until December 22nd, but to me, everything after Thanksgiving is winter.  So now that Christmas and New Year’s have come and gone, it’s time for some snow!  And some sustained snow!

I’ve titled this entry beach and bokeh, yet all I’ve done is talk about winter.  Sorry.  You know how you get off topic and start rambling?  And I’m not talking about just talking with someone.  Like when I had a conversation with a group of coworkers the other day, we started talking about an upcoming happy hour and then bachelor parties and then sushi and then German beer and it was like “How the hell did this happen?”  I’m not just talking about that.  I’m talking about when you’re sitting there at a red light waiting for it to change thinking about what to make for dinner when you get home.  Then you see someone walking their talk and think about that dog you had when you were little.  And how cute it was when she knocked over your Coke can at your birthday party when you were 8 all over your friend Tom.  And then, “Man, I wonder what Tom’s doing now?  I haven’t seen him in 15 years!” Then you start thinking about that girl that he used to date who was so annoying, she reminds you of a girl you work with who is equally as annoyi…oh wait, work, that’s right, I forgot to bring my laptop home to finish that presentation!  My boss is gonna kill me!  Hold on, the boss is still out of the office in Europe…then you think how you would love to vacation there, visit Italy, they probably have the best pasta in the world there!  PASTA!  That’s it.  Pasta for dinner.  While all of this was happening, you missed two green lights, almost drifted into the guy behind you and are getting strange looks by people walking by.

Look at me, rambling again.  How about some pictures?

It’s a two for one special today!  One is from our Jamaican honeymoon (beach) and one is from last Friday on a short photowalk (bokeh).  For the Jamaican one, I was trying to get a minimalistic feel to, with just the lone raft on the beach and the whole people in the distance in the water, one of them being my wife.  I took it mid trip there on the typically afternoon we had, stunning blue sky, a few wisps of clouds, and that sparkling water.  It actually did rain one afternoon, but this pretty much epitomized the weather!

I put more work into this shot than I was originally planning to.  It is just a single exposure that I tonemapped in HDR Efex.  I kicked it over to Color Efex where I added a Tonal Contrast layer to the sad and water and left the sky alone.  After that I added the Brilliance Filter from Color Efex to give it that warm glow.  I also added a Selective Color layer to boost some of the greens in the water as well as striaghtened the horizon.

This shot is a bit more straightforward.  It is a five exposure handheld HDR from Station Square in Pittsburgh.  I’ve been trying to do more DoF shots, and I think that this one turned out rather nice!  Processed the HDR in HDR Efex, added a Tonal Contrast filter and boosted the reds from the sunset!

If you haven’t had a chance yet, make sure you check out my HDR Efex Tutorial!

Enjoy your Tuesday everyone!


The best and the rest

First off, I wanted to thank all of you who read and commented on my article yesterday.  I couldn’t believe so many people stopped by and it ended up being my most heavily trafficked blog day ever!  I really appreciate it!

This weekend is All Star weekend both for the NFL and NHL.  One I don’t care about at all, one I was really excited to watch, but probably won’t even tune in now.  The one that is completely meaningless in my eyes is the NFL Pro Bowl.  First off, they have it the week before the Super Bowl, meaning that the players from the top two teams remaining (notice I didn’t say best) aren’t going to be there.  To me that was half the fun of the Pro Bowl, watching the Super Bowl champs play against the other all stars.  Not anymore in the NFL.

The NHL All Star game I was really excited about a few weeks ago.  Sidney Crosby (pictured above) was leading the league in points and goals and beat the rest of the league by over 150,000 all star votes.  I mean that is just insane.  Center Evgeni Malkin was voted it, goalie Marc Andre Fleury, and defenseman Kris Letang was voted in as a write in.  But, since Sid and Geno (Malkin) are still out with injury, only Fleury and Letang will play.

I had a quick question too for all of my Canadian friends.  How come when Pittsburgh plays in Ottawa and Montreal, Sidney Crosby gets booed worse than anywhere in the league outside of Philadelphia?  I know he is competition, but he won the gold medal in the Olympics for you!  I mean, I was rooting for the USA, and while I am sad we lost, I will take a loss by the hands of Sid any day.  He’s the greatest player in the world, and before his career is over, he will be mentioned as one of the top three hockey players of all time, up there with Gretzky and Lemieux.  I completely understand that I am biased seeing as he plays for my team, but he’s a clean player, a class act, took the team on his shoulders after Mario retired when he was only 20.  If the USA would have won in dramatic fashion on an ovetime goal, I think it would be hard for me to boo the player that scored it, even if he played for the Flyers or the Capitals.  Just wondering.

So, finally, today’s shot.  I took this last Friday evening before a happy hour with some friends in Station Square.  I got there a little early to do some shooting, but I ended up with just a handful of shots because it was about 0°F, with a windchill that made it seem like -10°F.  Seeing as I was on a bridge and the wind just whips down the river, it was all I could do to wait for the seven brackets and run back to my car.  Which I parked in a garage that was a good ten minute walk.  Genius I know.  The bridge I am on is the Smithfield St. Bridge that is right next to Station Square in the South Side.  It’s one of the classier bridges in downtown, with great iron work on the top that I’ve showcased a few other times.

Let’s get technical, technical, I wanna get technical.  Sorry about that, I don’t normally break out into song during my posts.  Like I said earlier, this is a seven exposure HDR processed with HDR Efex.  I kicked it over the Color Efex and applied a Tonal Contrast filter on the buildings and water (left the sky alone) and then applied a Low Key Filter to the entire image.  Burned a bit of the sky in spots and added a warming filter to tone down some of the blues.  I had gotten there a bit too late to get the sunset and a bit too early for the blue hour.  Oh well there’s always next time!

Thanks for stopping by, and if I don’t see you, good afternoon, good evening and good night!