Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sailing into Morning

HDR version above

I've decided I prefer the non-HDR version below.
The major elements stand out better and the
eye isn't tangled up in too much foreground detail,
making the speeding bass boat stand out even more
in it's glowing fog cloud. I may try to tweak the foreground shadow areas
a bit, but for now it's OK.

I drifted down to the new Woodrun docks this past Sunday morning and found
my fix of fog, light and water.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dabbling in easy slide shows and HDR

Hallmark's Smilebox provides an easy and
quick way to get a slideshow together and
emailed. Their templates range from the very simple,
classic and clean, to the all out "scrapbook" look.
There are single page "postcards" and multi-page
"books". Thankfully, Hallmark has the styles
grouped and sorted nicely, so finding a simple
slideshow with minimal graphics is fairly easy.
A choice of 3 music tracks is provided for each
Smilebox for free in the "basic" package, but you can opt
for the "premium" package, which allows unlimited
music choices, bigger viewing size and no
advertisements on the page.
The "basic" package is 100% free, if you
don't mind the smaller size, the ads, and
limited music clip choices.
The slideshows below are the "basic" version
and can be emailed, forwarded or blogged now, or
at any time in the future.
If you look carefully past
Hallmark's family oriented, busy graphics, you'll
find the simple, clean designs for
more serious photography slideshows.

Click to play October's Party

The slideshow (Ridge Storm) below is a quick one I did last summer while I was experimenting with HDR (high dynamic range). Photomatix is the free trial software I used, as evidenced by their logo. If you can put up with the logos, the free trial download can be used indefinitely.

HDR requires shooting 3-5 images or so, bracketing the "over" and "under" exposures so that the HDR software can then make a composite image. In this way you've got the shadows opened up and the hightlights filled in with info. My Nikon D80 has a 3 frame, +-2.0 setting that works well.

above, HDR - final composite

middle exposure

2 stops underexposed

2 stops overexposed

HDR can be used in subtle ways to obtain a more perfect exposure of a difficult lighting situation, or it can be used for extremely dramatic, 3-D like effects. Once you figure out your camera's bracketing procedure, haul your tripod out and decide on a lighting-challenged subject. It's fun to see what "cooks up" later in the HDR software's compositing process.

I didn't know about HDR while I was shooting the "October Party" sunrise images, but wished I had, as I did a fair amount of post processing to better balance the skies' exposures. HDR is the sort of post-processing tinkering that will remind you of the fun part of being in a traditional darkroom.

Click to play Ridge Storm 7/9/2008

Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Getting my feet wet

My boss suggested the idea of blogging to me today, and I guess I've jumped right in..."jumping right in" isn't typical of me but that's where I am today.

I work in digital photography and I play in digital photography and graphics, so this blog will have lots of images, mostly my own. For example, the header of this blog is from a 2 page spread of "Swift Island"...80 Years A Beauty, a book I've recently self-published. Not meaning to sound self-important, in case you're oblivious to the self-publishing revolution, anybody can fairly easily publish a book these days. Quality, content, appeal...none of that is required...just the motivation to collect thoughts and/or images and dump them into the self-publishing website's software, and then "pay up" .

The self-publishing idea caught on with me a couple of months ago when a neighbor sent me a link from a professional photographer whose Yosemite workshop she and her husband attended this past winter. One of their instructors had published through Blurb.com and I was instantly and thoroughly sucked into site. If you're a photographer or writer, or both, you should check out some of the self-publishing sites sproutin' up all over. Even if you have no intention of getting a book together yourself, you'll probably find browsing the crazy, wide variety of books available from those who have. Blurb.com is an easy one in which it's easy to navigate and search. Although I've already mentioned "anybody" can publish, some of the self-published photography coffee table style books are gorgeous ....bookstore quality and are truly first rate in content and style.

I'm just starting to explore what's out there along this line, but I plan to comment on my new finds, bad finds, ...whatever. Well, I guess I got my feet wet, so I'll give it a rest for now.