HDR Photography and More by Dave DiCello

Posts tagged “times square


I think that I may have jinxed the Pens with my post on Friday.  It was an ugly weekend for them, losing both games by a combined 14-6, and two of the most painful games I’ve watched in a while.  I don’t even really want to talk about it, so I won’t.  Just wanted to mention it.

Something that I need to do soon is get out shooting.  I feel like I’ve been a bit lazy lately because I had so many shot from New York that I knew I wouldn’t need to get out and shoot much.  Other than Penguin games, I really haven’t been out at all this year with my camera.  I may actually go out one day this week after work.  It’s not that I am unmotivated; I’ve been there in the past, and it’s kind of a tough feeling.  It’s not like I don’t have anything to post when I go through one of those funks.  It’s just that I don’t think that anything is good.  Then all of a sudden you look at the same pictures a few weeks later, and you start processing away.  Not really sure why, but sometimes, that’s just how it works.  I guess that I just feel I need to get out of my comfort zone.  I have photographed Pittsburgh from so many different angles, at so many different times of day and times of year that I just think I need to get out of Pittsburgh and shoot something different.  Maybe go hiking, or a little road trip to another city.  Or maybe it’s as simple as just taking out the 70-200 and shooting some candids instead of wide angle HDRs.  Everything in moderation after all.

Anyways, on to today’s shot.  And yesterday’s shot.

First, yesterday.  Another one from Times Square.  I mean, I don’t think I could ever get enough of that place, as there are always going to be different people and things there and therefore different stuff to photograph.  I’m sure I would get sick of it eventually if I lived there, but seeing as I don’t, I could take pictures of it all the time.  Then again I’d have to live there to do that.  Touche, catch 22.  I took this one form the top of the grandstand in the middle of Times Square, looking towards the corner of 47th and 7th.  I really like this view because it shows so much that is New York: the theatre, taxis, limos, people in suits, tourists, people selling you stuff on street corners, chain restaurants.  To me, the whole scene is still moving.

This is a five handheld HDR processed with HDR Efex.  Had to mask in a lot of the street for all the moving people and cars, and also that tiny bit of sky you see, as it was a bit blown out, then moved it over the Color Efex and added a Tonal Contrast filter.  Desaturated the whole scene, then did selective coloring to enhance the reds.  Added a warming filter to cool off the blue tones just a bit, and finally added some High Pass Sharpening.

Seeing as today is Valentine’s Day, I thought I would post something somewhat related to the sentiment that today is all about.  Looking through the archives I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to use.  Then I stumbled across this one from our trip to New York, one I took during one of the five total minutes that I had the zoom lens on instead of the wide angle.  This is from the Brooklyn Bridge during our last day there.  I wasn’t really thinking too much about this shot when I took, but now I’m glad that I took it.

For the processing, I edited the RAW in Camera RAW in CS5.  Decreased the Saturation, increased the vibrance, and warmed up the white balance a bit.  Recovered some of the highlights, lowered the exposure and the contrast, and gave it a bit more clarity.  Moved it over the Color Efex where I added a slight Low Key filter, at 15% Effect Strength and 90% glow.  Gave it a quick crop, and here you go.

Here’s to wishing you and yours a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Distorted Times

Well after a little over a month of posting shots from New York, I think that I am going to be wrapping them up pretty shortly.  Which makes me a bit sad, because I really enjoyed processing them, posting them, giving you all the back story behind the shot.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have literally over a thousand that I haven’t touched, but it terms of the cream of the crop, I think that’s it for now.  I’ll probably shuffle through the folder in a few weeks and find one that I didn’t process that I really like and post it.

I actually find that kind of weird.  So, you take a shot, whether you love it in the camera or not is always difficult to tell.  But then you get home, through it on your computer, and think, “Why did I take this shot?  I don’t even like it!”  Then, a few months later, you accidentally open up that folder instead of the one you meant to, see it, and love it.  Happens to me all time!  Well, not all the time, but it does happen.  For instance, I posted a whole bunch of shots from Punta Cana early in my flickr career.  Then, almost a year later, I ended up posting about twenty more, and they are some of my favorites.  I think that processing has something to do with it.  As better and cooler processing techniques and programs come out, it can make that “It’s okay” picture to “I need to print this out right now and hang it on my wall” picture.  But the whole processing vs. SOOC discussion is for another day.  Maybe tomorrow.  We’ll see.

As for today, we have another shot of Times Square.  I know, I know, I may have taken too many shots of this place.  But how could you not?  You have so much going on, so many different things to see, all in one place!  Restaurants, Broadway shows, a police station, a Walgreens, tourists, New Yorkers, cars, taxis, buses, street performers, musicians, the subway, clothing stores, an M&M store, I mean I go could on.  And that’s all in a two block stretch on one street!  I took this one on our last walk back through Times Square back to our hotel.  I knew that I hadn’t gotten a shot yet in portrait orientation of Times Square and I wanted to get that cool distorted look to the buildings.

If you were just thinking to yourself, “Dave, I’d like to know how you processed this shot”, then you are in luck my friend.  I started with five handheld images, shipped them to CS5 and ran them through HDR Efex (tutorial in the works, I promise).  Played around with the sliders until I got something I liked, then shipped it off to CS4, because for some reason Color Efex won’t work in CS5 for me.  Opened up the zero exposure compensation shot, tonemapped it and masked in all the moving people/car.  Then applied a Tonal Contrast Filter, Pro Contrast Filter and a Low Key Filter, adjust the curves, toned down the saturation, straightened it out a bit (it was reasonably crooked to begin with) and shared it with you all!  Enjoy!

Make sure to check back tomorrow for…I haven’t decided yet.  Guess you’ll just have to check back then!

In the thick of it…

Back after a couple days off of posting over the weekend!  I guess for the city of Pittsburgh it was a great weekend, at least in regards to our professional sports teams.  I can only take joy in one of those wins and that is obviously the Penguins.  The Steelers (somehow) managed to win the AFC Championship game, even after they tried so desperately hard to lose it in the second half.  Of course, when you have that pathetic of a first half as the Jets did, you don’t really deserve to win.  Give Mark Sanchez some credit though.  He was able to bounce back and at least semi-make a game out of it.  It seems that every team I root for this postseason loses, but I’m gonna say it anyways…Let’s go Packers in the Super Bowl!

Today’s shot.  Well, yesterday’s shot, but I like it so I am going to post it today.  This is one of the last HDRs that I took while we were in New York on Sunday on our way back to our hotel.  I was actually surprised at how busy it was for a Sunday evening there.  I would have thought that most of the people (like us!) were getting ready to pack up and leave.  That being said, we were getting ready to leave and we still were out and about.  Don’t you love it when you think of the perfect example of something that just completely destroys the argument you just made?  Anyways, I wanted to get this shot of the West Side Story billboard as that is the musical we went to see and it was the first one I had ever been to, which is reasonably exciting.  It was a great shot and next time we are in New York we will definitely be going back (not to West Side Story, but some kind of show).

Technical time.  This particular HDR is a 5 exposure handheld one at ISO 500 and f4.  I went 16mm on this to make sure that I captured the whole scene, from the signs on the buildings to the guy taking a picture in front.  Put it through HDR Efex (which a “Bright Soft” HDR Method for those may ask) then over the Photoshop.  Decreased overall saturation then bumped up the red in the signs a bit.  Masked in pretty much the bottom ¼ of the scene with the 0 exposure compensation shot to get rid of the myriad of ghosts that had invaded this picture.  Added a Tonal Contrast Filter in Color Efex and last, but certainly not least, a high pass filter for a bit of sharpening, and there ya go!

Pretty excited about tonight by the way!  There is a Penguins autograph session at one of local malls that I signed up for.  This is the third one that I will be going to, and it’s always cool to meet some of the guys!

I hope that you all have a great week!