New Year, New Attitude
2014 is here and with a new year, new attitude. I’ll be thinking about 2013 until about March, that’s when I stop writing 2013 on my checks and deposits. Where does the time go? I’m resolved to getting more done this year. More blogging, more organization and more fitness. These are my standard three, but I’ve added a fourth, more study.
At the end of September, our old computer died, taking with it Photoshop CS2. I had all of my photos backed up elsewhere so there was no crying. The loss of CS2, which was un-upgradable meant the time had come for Creative Cloud from Adobe. Instead of shelling out 700 bucks for the box, I got a reasonable 20-dollar a month subscription. It upgrades itself, mostly to keep up with camera hardware. The first couple of edits brought some foul language on my part, when I realized that my favorite actions were unavailable. I bought a thick magazine and a thicker book and started reading. Now there’s less foul language, in fact, I’m getting a certain joy out of relearning Photoshop and looking at the camera differently.
I belong to a camera club, where the members thrill over the latest specs and gadgets. I am a professional and have a motto like Charles from MASH. “I do one thing. I learn to do it very well. Then I move on.” Well, if you stick to your motto, then you have a lot of moving on to do. So, now I’m learning to do many things very well, and then I moving on to the next “list of things” to learn to do well.
So, new year, new attitude. New work.
One of the new looks in photography is HDR. An HDR image is like a sandwich, with multiple layers. A light image, a normal image and a dark image are sandwiched together to form a super-image, which has detail in the shadows, the mid tones and highlights. Choosing how the images are combined gives us a sort of 3D, 2 dimensional image.
A normal sunset, where the photographer must choose between the highlights and shadows.
An HDR sunset, which keeps the colorful highlights, but allows us to see into the shadows as well.
With landscapes, the moving elements can be controlled to a certain extent. Your tripod allows the three (or more) images to be placed over each other with precise accuracy. With people, the problem is movement. It’s nearly impossible for a human to remain still from one shot to the next.
Enter the “Tone Map.” The tone map filter gives us the look of HDR without numerous images. Now, we can have the HDR look and not have to worry about multiple exposures.
My typical photo edit.
After editing, adding HDR look.
The top image is my normal edit. A little vignette around the subject, a little eye and teeth brightening and blemish removal. The bottom image is tone-mapped to get a more 3D illustrative look. These tone-mapped images were created using Nik Collection filters.
The Nik Collection also offers a series of black and white filters. These emulate real darkroom processes and new digital processing. Any color digital image can be black and white, but the results from these are stunning.
An HDR plus gorgeous black and white.
A sepia-toned blast from the past. The toning process has no chemical smell either!
I’ve never been one to stick with a particular style. I like exploring new looks. For years I liked the combination of strong color and sepia or brown-toned black and white. I felt it lent itself to Maui. Like any filter, they are best applied to a few shots, not the whole shoot. I don’t think people want a whole album of HDR pictures. But there are certain images on a shoot that lend themselves to a particular look. For them, it’s HDR!