My HDR Workflow | Part 2

In this blog entry I’ll finish sharing my current HDR workflow. In the first part of this series I talked about camera settings, using Lightroom to process a bracketed set of images, using Photoshop to merge the bracketed set into a 32 bit per channel HDR file and tone-mapping with Photoshop HDR Pro. If you haven’t read part 1 you can find it here.

This blog will share the remainder of my HDR workflow including how I tone-map images with Lightroom 4 and how I use layers (in Photoshop) to combine the best parts of two different versions of an image. I’ll also about some of the more technical details of HDR photography. I’ll be using the same F-4S Phantom II images I used in Part 1 for this entry including the 32 bit per channel .tiff file I saved after merging a three shot bracketed set with Photoshop.

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My HDR Workflow | Part 1

I’ve been creating images for a long time now and one of the things I’ve come to appreciate is the importance of post processing. There’s more than one way to process a digital image and there’s no one result that is always the right one. When we share our pictures with others they represent our own unique vision of an image (our photographic style) and I’ve used post processing on all of my images to create my own “signature style” of photography.

I’ve changed my thinking about what my final images should look a number of times over the years. And if there’s one form of photography where my post-processing has evolved the most it’s HDR photography. In this blog entry I want to talk about how I can take a single set of images and use them to create three or four different looks. Once I have a few options I can choose the best one or I can use layers, blend modes and masks to combine what I like most about different versions into a single final image.

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Photography From a Moving Car

Some of my favorite shots over the years have involved movement. I started shooting movement when I worked at Ford Design and I continue to explore new ways to capture a feeling of movement in a still image.

On my last trip into the Shenandoah Mountains to photograph the fall colors I decided to capture some shots of the colored leaves from my car (while driving 30 mph on Skyline Drive). For this blog entry I’ll share some of my current techniques to capture these kinds of shots in camera.

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My Trip to Antietam

Recently I took a trip to see the Battlefield Park at Antietam, MD.

I love visiting historic sites and I’ve been trying hard to see as many Civil War Battlefields as I can because so many of the battlefields are marking the 150th anniversary of major battles. In July of last year I attended the Sesquicentennial Event at Manassas National Battlefield Park and I had an incredible time talking with dignitaries, re-enactors and historians. I can’t wait to go to another 150th event.

My trip to Antietam wasn’t on a historically significant date but the experience was still pretty awesome. The Battles at Antietam became Americas bloodiest single day with 22,720 casualties (dead, wounded or missing/captured).

This blog entry will have some of the pictures I took on my visit and I’ll share a few interesting things I learned about Antietam.

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Finishing HDR Images

I love sharing my HDR images on Google+ (and other places online). Sometimes I mention the techniques I used to arrive at my final image and I’ll say: “and this image was finished in Photoshop.”

My personal thoughts about HDR photography and post-processing HDR images has been evolving for over five years now. The shot of the lathe (above) is a good example of how I like to process HDR images now and it looks totally different from how I  processed HDR images in the past.

I got my start with HDR photography a long time ago when I was certified to operate the Spheron 360 VR camera for Ford Design North America. That is one super cool camera that really taught me a lot about 32 bit images. For his blog post I don’t want to talk about equipment, camera settings, using a tripod or tone-mapping software. Instead I want to talk about how I finish my HDR shots in Photoshop and I’ll be concentrating on some of my personal theories about color, contrast, sharpness and blur.

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