HDR Photography and More by Dave DiCello

Posts tagged “sun flare

End of the day

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.


Cutting through

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.


Bringing your own sunshine

“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”
~Anthony J. D’Angelo

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a Friday post so I thought it was about time to do one.  This spring we have had 34 days of rain and only 14 without (and even fewer sunny ones), I thought about the above quote and how appropriate it seemed for anyone living in the western Pennsylvania region over the last few weeks.

I took this shot on one of those few sunny days we’ve had this spring walking around downtown, waiting for the wife and some friends to get out of work.  It was actually a perfect day to go on a photowalk, as it wasn’t too warm, there was a slight breeze, the lighting was great in downtown, streets weren’t overly crowded for a Thursday afternoon.  I kind of have a thing for capturing sunflares, and when the reflection of one in the USX Building caught my eye, I couldn’t resist the shot.

This is a five exposure HDR processed in Photomatix, Photoshop CS5 and onOne PhotoTools.  I did a bit of masking in the sky to get rid of a few halos and dust spots, as well as masked in the cars on the lower right to get rid of some ghosting.  Lowered overall saturation and applied the Turbo Boost effect in PhotoTools and called it a wrap.

Thanks for stopping by this week and I hope you all enjoy your weekend.


New horizons

First off I just wanted to thank everyone who gave their input on flickr and Explore in my post yesterday.  I really enjoyed the feedback and hearing some different views on it.

Yesterday’s post was a bit long in verbiage so today I’ll give you a break and make it a bit longer but in pictures.  Every so often I like to put up a whole series of action shots that I took before the Pens games and today is just one of those days.  Originally I was thinking about doing this for today’s post because I thought that we would have pulled out a great win last night against our hated in state rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers and pull even with them for the division lead.  The Pens were looking great to, all over the ice, help two one goal leads, but the Flyers proved the luckier of the two teams last night, with pucks bouncing over, around and under Marc Andre Fleury for a 5-2 win by the men in orange.

So where does that leave the Pens?  Probably in fourth place at the end of the season, which means that we will have guaranteed home ice advantage, at least for the first round and that our like opponent will be Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning.  I like this matchup for Pittsburgh, as the Pens are a much deeper team than the lighting with a lot more playoff experience.  However, anything can happen at any time in the playoffs.

On to the shots.  The first one above is Mike Rupp, and I thought that this one was appropriate to start off with as it was one of the first pictures I took from last Friday’s game.  All the images you see here today are from that contest between the New Jersey Devils and the Pens, which the Pens won in a 1-0 thrilling shootout victory.  I was able to capture this one right as Rupp skated on the ice, and I was lucky enough to get the spot light right on top of him, which has never happened before.

Next up is winger James Neal, one of the players taking the Pens to the new horizon.  He came over from the Dallas Stars along with Matt Niskanen back at the trade deadline for Alex Goligoski.  Neal is a hardnosed, physical player who has a lethal wrist shot.  He’s got speed and puck handling ability and was a very valuable add to the roster this year.

Above is Ben Lovejoy, a right handed shooting defenseman who has certainly made his mark in the NHL this year.  Lovejoy is a shutdown d-man who has a decent shot too, and always willing to jump into the offensive play.  I’m posting this more for the funny expression on his face than anything else.

Here we have Mike Comrie, another new Penguin this year.  He was signed as a free agent, and although he has missed most of this season due to hip surgery, has put up 30 goal seasons in his past.  I happened to catch him right as he was spitting in warm ups, which made for an interesting shot.

Taking a shot during warm ups is winger Pascal Dupuis.  Dupuis is a high energy player, very quick, always flying around the ice.  He gets a minute here or there on the penalty kill, but strength other than his speed is his killer slap shot.  He may not be able to maneuver around you, but he can definitely rip it past you.

Last but certainly not least is a name that is near and dear to many people in Pittsburgh and that is Alexei Kovalev (right in the above shot), or Kovy.  Kovy is on his second tour with the Pens, reacquired at the trade deadline this year for a conditional 6th round pick from the Ottawa Senators.  Though he has only put up two goals (and two more in the shootout), Kovalev can still wheel and deal the puck with the best of them.  The game is certainly faster than the last time he played for Pittsburgh and was in his prime, but it’s still so much fun to watch him play.  He showed off some of that stick handling ability in the bottom shot here, where he bounced the puck on his stick from the red goal line all the way to center ice.  Just awesome.

Today’s shot is a view from our new office building that my company moved into on Monday.  We have a great view of the sunrise, which is much better than the view we had before, which was none, as we were smack in the middle of our last building with no windows at all.  I know you can see the reflections of the lights in the window, but I just wasn’t able to clone them out.  If you look directly to the right on the bottom part of the reflection, you can see the moon as well.

This was a seven exposure HDR processed with HDR Efex under the “Natural” setting.  No masking in this one, just adjusted overall curves and then added a green curves adjusted layer to enhance the grass.  Cloned out a few dust spots, increased overall saturation and finally added a Tonal Contrast filter to everything but the sky.

Well, that ended up being longer than yesterday.  I’ll try to keep it shorter tomorrow.


A flash of brilliance

I really can’t help but at least talk about the Pens for a little bit after a game.  Although they lost again last night, which is getting to be a common theme with the rash of injuries they’ve had, there were some sparks in the lineup that certainly give you some optimism.  Tyler Kennedy, on a bit of a tear as of late, scored two goals, and Marc Andre Fleury looked absolutely brilliant in the loss.  The goals, a one timer from behind the net on a power play, a bad bounce that game right to a Shark who jammed it home, and a scrum in front of the net with Fleury down, can be easily forgiven.  The offense has to get going though, averaging only 2 goals a game since the departure of Sidney Crosby, last in league by a long shot.  I’m not giving up on the season yet.  Let’s go Pens.

Some shots from the game last night.  The first one is a thirty image panorama that I took with the iPhone and stitched with AutoStitch.  I think that it game out pretty cool.  The second one is a tilt shift that I took with the S95, as that is a custom scene on the phone.  Also not too shabby.

30 image panorama

Canon S95 Tilt Shift

Like I said a few days ago, I was finally able to get out shooting this weekend.  Got up real early on Saturday at 6, grabbed the gear, and rolled out downtown.  I had this vision of the sunrise coming up over the city and me standing at the Point, where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join to form the Ohio.  However, I got downtown, which was eerily empty, seeing as it was 6:30 on a Saturday morning, and realized that that just wasn’t going to work.  There are still doing construction at the Point, and it really detracted from the picture.  Ok, on to Plan B.  I headed over the Fort Duquesne Bridge towards Heinz Field, and the view down the river was stunning.  The moon was huge in the sky, the colors were all kinds of shades of pastels and the water was nice and calm in the river.  Got a few shots, then headed over my destination, right below the Clemente Bridge.  Set up the tripod, snapped a few pre sunrise shots and waited.  I saw the sun starting to come and thought, “It has to peak around the buildings soon.”  I look behind me, and see it is already shining on the building that I was standing in front of.  So I back up 10 feet, and lo and behold, there is the sun, streaming through the Rachel Carson Bridge.  “Um yeah, I’ll take an order of sun flares, no thanks, no halos for me today.”

This is a seven exposure HDR processed under the Clean setting on HDR Efex.  After cleaning up all the dust spots in the sky (yes I forget to clean the sensor before I went out.  Come on, it was 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday.  Gimme a break.) I could go to work.  First, I selected the tree and recovered some of the shadows on it.  I wanted it to be silhouetted, just not as much as it was.  I added a green curves level to enhance the grass and the bushes, as well as did selective coloring to give the sun a more reddish tint, as it was a bit too yellow for my liking.  Kicked it over the Color Efex where I added a Tonal Contrast layer on everything but the sky, and finally added some High Park Sharpening.  I really like the result, one of my favorite shots that haven’t been from New York in a while.

That about wraps it up for today.  One more day til Friday.