Archive for the 'Photomatix' Category



25
Oct
10

10/25/2010: old falls on the Mousam

Old Falls and an old fall combine in this HDR shot of the Mousam River in West Kennebunk Maine. This is right across the road from Old Falls Pond of a few days ago, but here the ravages of wind and rain and late October are more obvious. Now we just hunker down and wait for snow. 🙂

If you click the image above you will see a different view of the larger shot. If you just click the Info button on the right a panel will drop down with full exif data.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, three exposures auto bracketed around a center shifted –2/3 EV. ISO 160.

Blended and tone-mapped in Photomatix. Processed for Fill Light, Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpen in Lightroom.

23
Oct
10

10/23/2010: Old Falls pond, tail end of fall

The foliage show is just about over here in southern Maine. One more big wind and we are done. This is Old Falls Pond in West Kennebunk again. I used the zoom to frame a small section of still bright shoreline and its reflections. This is a 3 exposure HDR on a day of high winds, so there is some blurring in the evergreen boughs framing the top but I think it is still effective.

Canon SX20IS at about 60mm equivalent, three exposure HDR, auto bracketed around a center shifted down 2/3s EV.

Blended and tone-mapped in Photomatix. Processed for Recovery, Fill Light, Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance and Sharpen in Lightroom.

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.

15
Oct
10

10/15/2010: autumn silver river

With the forecast for heavy rain and winds gusting to 40 mph overnight, it seemed wise to get out for an hour at lunch time yesterday to catch a bit of foliage. By some reckonings we are just at peak. Some were holding out for an even better show in a a week…but the storm may change that! The sky, running in ahead of the front, was an unexpected bonus, and no one could have predicted the way the light interacted with the tide pushing up into the mouth of the Mousam River. Taken from the bridge on Route 9 in Kennebunk Maine. (The line in the water, by the way, is the shadow of a telephone pole 🙂

This is a three shot HDR from the Canon SX20IS at full wide angle (28mm equivalent), auto bracketed around a center shifted down –2/3 EV with Exposure Compensation. Exposures blended and tonemapped in Photomatix Light.

Medium Recovery in Lightroom to tame the reflections on the water somewhat. A touch of Fill Light for the foliage, Blackpoint right for intensity, added Clarity and just a smidge of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset. Some distortion control for a more natural perspective.

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!

09
Oct
10

10/8/2010: Fox pond under cloud

This scene, if taken today, would probably be even more awesome, as the fall color would be about peak, but we work with what we have! On the way back from Machias and daughter number 3’s first college homecoming weekend (she is a freshman) we stopped at Fox Pond on the short cut my GPS found on the trip back from dropping my daughter off at college in August. You may remember.

This is a three exposure, auto bracketed, HDR from the Canon SX20IS using Photomax. Final processing in Lightroom, for my standard Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpen.

I like the HDR effect here, which gives the sky and cloud reflection a dominant play, but keeps the foliage vibrant. The low angle (ground level) and the transparency of the water in the foreground and the tiny pebbles lock the frame down and keep it from receding into the clouds.

06
Oct
10

10/6/2010: Jekyll island sunset

I still have lots of pics to share from my trip to Machias and Acadia National Park, and you will see some of them, but I can’t resist moving to Georgia today, since I am physically here on Jekyll Island this morning. Jekyll Island is a strange, beautiful place. You can read all about it on the Jekyll Island wiki page, or get the official version at jekyllisland.com.

I went out last evening particularly to catch the sunset, but only got to the east side of the island before the lure of the reflected light on the clouds and the downed trees I knew littered the beach drew me to the side of the road and down a trail. I was not disappointed.

This is an HDR using 3 autobracketed shots from the Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, with the center of the range moved down 2/3s EV using exposure compensation. Normally I avoid HDR where there are waves along a shoreline (or any other moving subject), but with this particular kind of surf, a 3 shot HDR is possible, since the inevitable blurring of the moving water produces a interesting and attractive rendering.  The exposures were blended in Photomatix, and then the result was processed with Recovery, Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance and Sharpening in Lightroom. Color balance was also adjusted using the auto tool.

And here are two more shots from the same location, taken a few moments earlier. These are also HDRs, processed as above. the first is cropped for a more panoramic look.

30
Sep
10

9/30/2010: Fog on the Cliffs of Quoddy Head

Fog is difficult to photograph, since the scattered light within the fog itself makes it photographically bright, though it has the opposite effect to the natural eye. A bank of fog almost always comes out as a white indistinct mass in an image. If you expose for the fog, to keep it natural, then the landscape under it goes dark and muddy. Seems like an ideal situation for HDR…kind of. I tried several shots on the cliffs of Quoddy Head to test the effect. As always with HDR, I’d have done better with a tripod…especially as the base exposures all had show shutter speeds due to the overall low level of the light. I did get a few shots that worked though, like the one above.

A secondary problem, if you go the HDR route, is Photomatix’s inability to blend exposures where fine detail masks an open sky…trees against the sky are particularly difficult for the app…and you almost always get a light halo around limbs and leaves where the lighter exposure shows through. Changing the smoothing setting can help in making this less obvious but in this image it still shows somewhat in the trees in the upper right.

The other way to work the fog is to use Revovery and Fill Light in Lightroom, along with some filter trickery. This shot is not HDR, but I was able to extend the range and keep the fog semi-transparent, by using heavy Recovery, which reduces the highlights in an image without effecting the rest of the tones. Fill Light for the foreground allows me to move the Blackpoint right to increase color depth and contrast. Finally, in this case, the fog in the upper left corner was totally blown out and distractingly white…so I went in with a Local Adjustment Brush, set large with maximum feather, and brushed in an adjustment area in that corner. I used to to reduce exposure and brightness selectively there, producing a more natural grey where it was white. If the area had not been so oddly shaped I would have just used a Graduated Filter Effect pulled down from that corner, but LAB worked better for this image.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent.

From Quoddy Head and Lubec ME.

26
Sep
10

9/26/2010: Orange River Marsh

Happy Sunday!

I am in Machias Maine this morning, having brought daughter #4 up to visit daughter #3 at college on Home Coming weekend. Yesterday, despite heavy fog over the coast, I drove up to Quoddy Head State Park to explore and to see what I could find to photograph. On the way up, while still on Route 1, I passed an Atlantic Coast Conservancy pull off for Reynolds Marsh, and a few seconds later crossed the marsh (or river…it is the Orange River) itself. It looked so promising that I had to turn around and go back.

It was actually raining lightly when I got out of the car, and I had to work with one hand covering the controls of the camera all the time, and trust to my lens shade to keep water off the lens. There was a short walk down through the woods to the marsh, and I no more than stepped beneath trees than two Ruffed Grouse shot up in front of me and beat away among the spruce. The trail led to a canoe launch on the edge of the marsh.

The challenge with fog is getting enough light on the foreground so it looks natural without turning the fog into a bright white nimbus that blanks out the top 2/3rs of the image. And of course it is the contrast between the saturated wet colors close by, particularly rich in the diffuse light, and the grey encroaching atmosphere, that makes a foggy morning so interesting photographically.

I tried a few three exposure HDRs, and I am pretty happy with the results. I find that, using Photomtix for the HDRs, I still have to envision what I will be able to do with the image in Lightroom, and adjust the tone mapping in Photomatix with that in mind.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. Three exposures separated by 2EV with the center of the range moved down –2/3EV using exposure compensation. ISO 125.

Photomatix tone-mapping, and then a bit more Recovery in Lightroom, some Fill Light, and the Blackpoint moved right…added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

And, being Sunday, I think about the parable potential of the image as well…

The fog that obscures the distance (future?), should not lessen your enjoyment of the rich saturated colors of your life close at hand…and, in fact, the contrast is, often, what makes life interesting. Or so say I.

One more from the foggy marsh. This one is not an HDR, but I was able to balance the exposure using Recovery and Fill Light in Lightroom. Taken in wide (16/9) mode.

23
Sep
10

9/23/2010: HDR Marsh Pool Panorama

This is another experiment in HDR Panorama…and this time I had a tripod with me! It does make it easier, and, despite the lack of a true panoramic head, I am pleased with the results. I especially like the rendering of the sun on the pines at either side, which would have been quite impossible without the HDR treatment.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. 9 exposures in bracketed sets of 3. All at ISO 80 and Programmed Auto. Bracketed 2 stops, with the center exposure moved down 2/3EV via exposure compensation.

Each set of 3 was blended in Photomatix, using tone mapping. In this case the smoothing had to be adjusted to a minimize the light sky band along the tree line. The 3 HDRs were then taken in to PhotoShop Elements 7’s Panorama engine, where they were automatically combined. I also a darken brush along the tree line to smooth the sky line a bit more. Finally, the image was saved as a PhotoShop file and taken into Lightroom, where some Recovery was applied for the sky, added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance, and the Sharpen narrow edges preset. I also used the selective luminance tool to intensify the little bit of fall color in the tree line and bushes on the left. This is a LOT more processing than I generally apply to any image, but perhaps, if you view the Pano at larger sizes on my SmugMug site it was worth it (click the image above, or here, and use the size controls at the top of the window…though it should auto size to your monitor).