Archive for the 'Lightroom' Category

22
Feb
11

2/22/2011: Flood Tide on the Mousam HDR 1

While I am not done with the digiscoped birds from Merritt Island, I, for one, need a break. Yesterday morning we had fresh snow, and as the front passed away out to sea in the afternoon, some spectacular skies. Add as high a flood tide as I have ever seen along the coast here and you have the makings of some HDR landscapes, or sea-scapes, or river-scapes…some-scape with a lot of water and sky.

This image walks a fine line, to my eye, between natural and over-the-top. It presents a reality that is there, but that, without the emphasis of HDR and tone-mapping, many people would not see. It is the reality a painter records when painting such a landscape…an image built up in the mind over time, as the details and the colors catch the attention one by one, as the shadows and reflections on the water burn in to the awareness. It is not what you see at a glance or in the moment, and therefore perhaps strikes the eye as not strictly photographic. It is something between a painting and a photograph. I don’t, in fact, know if any such space exists, and, even in my own mind, the jury is still out on HDR and tone-mapping…but I do know that I like this image. I like the drama of it…the vivid world it portrays…the intensity. It is just so alive on an lcd monitor, with the light behind it. I like it.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent field of view. Three exposures centered around –2/3 EV, assembled and tone-mapped in Photomatix, final processing for intensity and clarity in Lightroom. Some distortion control and a bit of noise reduction (generally needed in HDR) as well.

15
Feb
11

2/15/2011: Red-shouldered Hawk (im)

It is often windy at Merritt Island NWR, and that can make digiscoping, with its particularly high effective magnifications, very difficult. This shot from late afternoon when the wind was well up, and the bird was 150 yards across a water channel, shows the effects. Being in tree that caught the wind and bounded around even more did not help. Even though the shutter speed was a 500th of a second, The shot is not critically sharp, and required extra processing for sharpness and clarity to approach acceptable. Still, it is a nice bird: an immature Red-shouldered hawk of the light Florida variety. 

Increasing magnification only makes matters worse:

In this shot you can see a clear indication of the problem in the eye-light: notice that it is a vertical line, not a dot. That means that the bird was in motion when the shutter opened…or in this case that the whole tree was in motion.

Still…it is a nice bird.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario Eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL spotting scope. 1) 2700mm equivalent field of view, 1/500th @ ISO 125, 2) 4000mm equivalent field of view, 1/320th @ ISO 125.

My standard processing in Lightroom for clarity and sharpness, but then both were selectively sharpened, clarified, and contrast boosted around the head and eye using the selective brush tool. The whole image got Fill-light, Blackpoint adjustment, and Contrast boost…and then I backed off the Vibrance slightly to tame the yellow highlights. And still…it is a nice bird is about all I can say.

27
Nov
10

11/27/2010: Rachel Carson Merriland River

Thanksgiving day morning at Rachel Carson NWR. We are blessed to have RCNW all around us here in Kennebunk, and the headquarters, with its classic little nature trail,  just down the road. I have photographed this view in all seasons, all weathers, and all light…so far…I am sure it still has a lot to show me.

This is the season in Maine between foliage and snow. It has a subtle beauty that is easy to miss, and a kind of dull day, light wise, makes it even more subtle.

HDR opens new options for this view, in particular, as the foreground trees are other wise hard to capture in any detail. In fact, this HDR is one of my most satisfying renderings of the view to date…in a quiet way…from the quietly interesting sky to the gentle tones and textures of the marsh, to the subtly detailed textures of the tree bark right in front.

This is HDR at its most subtle and unobtrusive. Certainly in keeping with the season.

Three exposure HDR with the Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, autobracketed 1EV either side of –2/3 EV set with exposure compensation. Assembled and tone-mapped in Photomatix, processed for intensity in Lightroom. (Check out my recent piece on P&S Landscape on HDR and Photomatix Light under the Photomatix link.)

04
Nov
10

11/4/2010: Cape May Point pond reflections

Just a week ago in Cape May NJ: The front approaching that pushed all the birds in on Friday and Saturday. The main pond at Cape May Point State Park, from the boardwalk behind the Hawk Watch platform. There were birds aplenty and I was there to digiscope, but that does not mean I turn a blind eye to the other splendors nature has to offer. Interesting sky, eye-catching fall foliage, interesting reflections, interesting water, for many layers of interest.

This is a three exposure HDR using auto-bracket on the Canon SX20IS, with the center of the bracket range shifted down 2/3 EV using exposure compensation. ISO 125 at the wide angle (28mm equivalent) setting.

Blended and tone-mapped in Photomatix. Processed with a bit of Fill Light, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and some Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset in Lightroom.

31
Oct
10

10/31/2010: Cape May Sunrise hdr Panorama

Happy Sunday!

Looking east from the sundeck of the Montreal Inn in Cape May a few moments before sunrise, yesterday.

Sunrises, I think, touch a special place in the soul, and, of course there is noting like a sunrise over the ocean where you can see right out to the edge of the world. On a morning like this, even if just for a second there, it takes a hard heart indeed…or one deeply troubled, beaten well down…not to embrace the cliché: every new day is a miracle. It is easy for the hopeful to take such beauty at the beginning as a promise of the potential of the day. And, of course, part of the wonder comes from the fact that every sunrise is not so spectacular. Our lives don’t always allow us to see the sunrise at all, and there are days when the sun just sneaks up behind clouds (literal or figurative) with no display (or none we can see). So we have reason to celebrate the moments like this one. The moment itself is a gift from the creator, and so is the ability to appreciate it.

On the technical side, this is a 9 exposure HDR panorama: 3 sets of 3 exposures blended and tone-mapped in Photomatix, the results stitched in PhotoShop Elements, and the the panorama final processed in Lightroom. Best viewed as large as your monitor will take it.

17
Oct
10

10/17/2010: Autumn marsh pools

Happy Sunday!

You have seen variations of this scene before. This little stretch of old rail bed, known as the Bridle Path for some reason, that runs through a isolated patch of Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (Rachel Carson is one of the most fragmented NWRs) between Route 9 and the ocean along the lower Mousam River in Kennebunk Maine (to be precise), never fails to turn up something of interest. I digiscoped a lot of birds and chipmunks there this summer, found my first Wood Lily and Wood Nymph, and this fall this particular view over the marsh pools toward the trees and houses along route 9 has often been interesting. See 9/23/2010: hdr marsh pool panorama or 9/13/2010: marsh mirror sky. Here the fall weeds in the foreground add yet another layer to a layered landscape, and a 3 exposure HDR treatment captures an unusual range of light and shadow to render the scene very close that what the eye actually sees (at least the eye of a painter). HDR skies are dramatic, but its ability to maintain detail in the shadows of the foreground and to pull full color out of the the fall foliage is what makes it worth the effort in this image.

Being Sunday, I return to how fruitful this particular little patch of out of the way ground has been for me this year…how often I have have been blessed (given an unexpected and underserved gift) there, and how often I have been blissed (opened to the joy of contact with the creator through creation). In many ways this has been my church this year, from late winter to deep fall, just as much as the building with the steeple down the road, and my moments of worship there have been just as vital to me, though solitary. I am thankful. In so many ways.

Smile

Technically, this is a 3 exposure HDR at 28mm equivalent on the Canon SX20IS, using auto-bracket with the center of the range shifted down 2/3s EV. Exposures blended in Photomatix and final processing (including a bit of distortion control which was needed because of the odd angle of the lens to the landscape) in Lightroom.

10
Oct
10

10/10/2010: old falls pond fall Hdr

Happy Sunday!

Old Falls Pond in West Kennebunk Maine is one of my favorite autumn color spots. It is across the road from Old Falls itself, which is my other most favorite autumn color spot. My most visited, most awarded, highest rated photo on flickr is a shot of this pond from several autumns ago. That was before I started working with HDR, and, though the leaves were not yet at peak, I took a run out last Sunday to see how it looked. (I am writing this from Jekyll Island GA, where I have spent every Columbus Day weekend for the past 8 years (work), so I never do see the traditional peak foliage in Maine.) Still, Old Falls Pond was looking pretty good, and with a sky that just begged for HDR treatment.

The low angle (camera almost touching the water), the floating leaves, the way the light runs on the  ripples on the water, the glimpse of the bottom through the foreground, the foliage itself, and the sky overall with its strong diagonal slant…this image has enough going on to overcome the otherwise rather static composition. I did experiment with cropping out part of the sky to “improve” composition, but I like the full shot better.

Three shots with the Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, auto bracketed, with the –2/3s EV exposure compensation. Exposure was blended and tonemapped in Photomatix, and the resulting image was processed in Lightroom using Fill Light, Blackpoint, Clarity and Vibrance, and the Sharpen narrow edges preset. Finally I applied a Graduated Filter Effect to the lower third of the image, reducing brightness slightly, which had the effect of making the water more transparent, for that hint of bottom.

Which goes to show you, I think, that if you are at your peak, in tune with the creative spirit inside, the foliage does not have to be!