Archive for the 'Photomatix' 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.

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26
Dec
10

12/26/2010: Mousam Full of Light

Happy Sunday! Happy day after Christmas. Happy Boxing Day.

After our brief snowstorm last week, the sky lightened and the light grew as the sun peaked out off and on, and the world, just for a few moments, glittered and sparkled with what seemed an inner light. With temperatures rapidly rising to the upper 30s, the snow on the trees came literally and figuratively raining down. I attempted to find a spot to catch the light before it passed.

We are having unusually high tides the past week, with the full moon, coastal runoff, and onshore winds, and here we see the lower Mosuam River filled brim to brim. Where I stood to take the image, you generally look out over a relatively dry marsh to the river which runs, in perspective, not far in front of the trees and houses on the far side. The trees at the right are generally 300 yards from water, even at high tide.

But, of course, what really caught my eye was the sky and the light in the water, the silvery blue expanse, full of texture and movement, running back under that strong diagonal mass of cloud…and the highlight behind the bare trees on the right.

To capture this range of light with my Canon SX20IS, I resorted to HDR, three exposures centered around –2/3 EV, then assembled and tone-mapped in Photomatix Pro from within Lightroom. Final processing for intensity and clarity, some sharpening, and a bit of distortion adjustment for the horizon, produced the result above.

The Sunday thought?…in less than an hour we went from the quiet beauty of falling snow and misty light, a soft intimate world where even the sounds are muted…to this splash of glory, noisy with light and drama…as overfilled and overflowing as the banks of the Mousam. And that is a metaphor for the well developed spiritual life. From the babe in the manger to the transfiguration and the assentation, and all in-between, all part of our experience, coming in waves along the stream of time. All we have to do is to be open to all of it. There is beauty in every moment.

11
Dec
10

12/11/2010: Bosque sky (Scenery for Saturday)

One of those dominating New Mexico, Bosque del Apache skies, and my Scenery for Saturday offering.

Canon SX20IS @ 28mm equivalent. 3 exposure HDR, auto bracketed around –2/3 EV, assembled and tonemapped in Photomatix, processed in Lightroom.

And, just to the left.

Another HDR treatment.

04
Dec
10

12/4/2010: Bosque morning

Time for some straight up Bosque del Apache scenery. Mid-morning layered landscape HDR. The temporarily flooded fields are a Bosque feature, a way of managing where the geese and cranes feed. The geese, in particular, love to feed on the seeds and roots that flooding makes available. In this case either the field was newly flooded and the geese had not discovered it yet, or it was flooded long enough already that the geese had eaten everything they could find. Still…it adds the mirror layer to the landscape.

Three exposure HDR, Canon SX20IS at about 70mm equivalent, autobracketed around –2/3 EV exposure compensation, assembled in Photomatix Pro using the Lightroom plugin and final processed in Lightroom.

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.)

21
Nov
10

11/21/2010: Bosque Sunset HDRs

Happy Sunday!

I went out after my day of work manning the ZEISS booth at the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro NM, to digiscope Prairie Dogs in the last light of early evening, but the PD town was already closed down for the day. There was not even a single sentry on guard.

So I headed back to town and supper. Of course I had to pass right by three flooded fields where the Sandhill Cranes come in for the night, right at or around sunset. And, on day like yesterday, the sunset itself is a show. I stopped and parked and waited. As the sun sank, the parking lot filled with folks who had the same idea. During the festival, sunset parking is at a premium anywhere on the refuge, and they actually take buses in to particularly choice vantage-points otherwise inaccessible to the public. People pay $5.00 to ride the bus.

What you have here are three HDR shots: southwest in line with the sun, north along ridge that hides the mountains behind, and southeast where a larger mass of clouds behind the mountains took the color. The top shot is the last I took, just before the color died, when it was at its most intense.

I find it hard to believe that there are people anywhere who would not be moved by such a sunset, with or without the spectacle of the returning cranes. Such awful, such awe-filled, beauty in the fire in the sky at day’s end…there are no words for what it says to our souls…but there is no doubt that it speaks.

When the color died, everyone got back in their cars, or boarded the buses, and headed back to town. Route 1 is a steady stream of tail-lights for 8 miles into San Antonio. From the air it must look something like the cranes coming into the roost for the night 🙂

I am not sure what the Sunday thought is in the Bosque sunsets, but I certain it is there. Being there, along the dyke by the flooded field, and knowing that people were gathered all over the refuge to witness the same sight, with the air filled with the “music” of the cranes and geese, as the sky colored and as the color died, was very like being part of a worshiping congregation. I know who I worship, and I find it hard to believe that in those moments, we aren’t all, whether we acknowledge it or not, caught up in the same act of worship. Our awe may be as variously colored as the three images above, but it is the same awe, our birthright and our heritage as human beings…children of love.

Canon SX20IS. Three exposures per image, auto bracketed at minus 2/3EV, assembled and tone-mapped in Photomatix, processed in Lightroom.

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.