Saturday, July 16, 2011

Everybody Needs a Hobby . . .

. . . and mine is photography.

I bought my first digital camera in 2001. It was a Sony Mavica and was big and clunky, but I loved it, despite its limitations. It only took 2 megapixel photos, and it stored them on a 3.5” floppy disk! But the picture quality was surprisingly good, even when the camera was in the hands of a total novice, like me.

Taken with my Sony Mavica - North Douglas Hwy., Juneau

Dan upgraded my camera, a few years later, to an Olympus with a few more megapixels.

Taken with my Olympus - Bosque del Apache, NM

From there I went back to Sony, in 2006, when I bought the DSC H5 (a SWEET Camera, by the way).

Taken with my Sony DSC H5 - Abo Mission, near Mountainair, NM

Finally, for Christmas 2009, Dan bought me my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D5000. I felt as if I’d moved up to “adult” status in the camera world.

Taken with My Nikon D5000 - Veterans' Memorial, Albuquerque, NM

Now that my Nikon and I have become better acquainted, I’m broadening my concentration to include more complex post-processing techniques. I’ve just concluded an on-line training video series, taught by Trey Ratcliff of What I’m trying to learn is the art of High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing. If you want to see some HDR photography that will knock your socks off, just take a look at Trey Ratcliff’s online portfolio.

To process an HDR photo, you should have at least three raw photos taken at the same time, from the same location, one under-exposed, one correctly exposed, and one over-exposed. The software will then combine the three (or more) images, pulling the highlights from one, the shadows from another, and creating a picture in which all parts are properly exposed. Further refinements are then made using Photoshop and/or other software.

Here are a couple examples of my very first HDR efforts.

This photo was taken at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque. As you can see, in the original (upper) photo most of the picture was underexposed, because I was shooting into the light coming through the doors at the end of the hall. Beneath it is the same image - cropped and HDR processed - now with good exposure over the entire picture.

This was just a quick snapshot of our living room (upper photo). As you can see, I am again facing windows, but this time I metered on the interior, leaving the windows and outdoors completely blown out (over exposed). After the HDR processing, detail from outdoors is restored (lower photo).

My images aren’t turning out anywhere near as brilliant as Trey’s, but I’m starting to get the hang of it. Practice, practice, practice! When I get better, I'll post a few more. For right now I'm just having tons of fun learning something new.

1 comment:

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