High Dynamic Holidays

photo © Bob Krist
photo © Bob Krist

I’m just back from teaching a week long workshop at Maine Media Workshops, where I had a class full of energetic, talented, and dauntless students. It poured rain EVERY day of the workshop, but my crew was tireless in making the most of the situation. I learned a lot from them, and will pass on a few of those things in upcoming posts.

In the meantime, I wanted to get something patriotic, albeit late, up for the holidays, and this truck was by the side of the road as I drove home today (and, of course, since Murphy rules the universe and the workshop was over, the weather naturally turned gorgeous!).

Now, I know I’m probably the last photo blogger on the internet to post an HDR image, or at least something resembling one, but I’m sharing this truck pic as an illustration of the pitfalls when a software-challenged, reality-based editorial shooter who got “D’s” in art starts messing with reality!

I know this about myself, but in another example of the triumph of hope over experience, I recently  forked over for two programs to mess with HDR,  Photomatix Pro and Topaz Adjust , and swore to myself that, by god, one day I might even learn to use them.  Right now, I just move the sliders up and down like a chimp playing with levers in a cognitive lab test and it’s fun, not to mention time consuming.

Just what I need, especially since most of my clients won’t touch a heavily manipulated image. But I wanted to see what all the HDR fun was about.

Actually, Photomatix has an “Exposure Blend” mode which is like a more reality-based HDR, combining images of different exposures in a very real-looking, as opposed to “HDR-cranked,” way and could actually be a useful tool for taming contrast in certain situations.

In fact, a good buddy of mine, the great, Philly-based AP shooter George Widman, recently used this mode on a commercial shoot for a hotel, and raved about the ability to get inside/outside detail in room shots without using lights. After seeing his results, and how natural they looked, I’m going to give Exposure Blending, if not HDR, the old college try.  I’ll keep you posted….

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Hi Bob! Sorry I missed it, but reading about the rain confirms I made the right decision about your workshop. As for HDR, the thought of spending even more time in front of my computer makes my head hurt! When you figure it out can you please post the HDR process for dummies?

  2. Bob, the workshop was an enriching and rewarding experience, regardless of the weather. Glad you finally got a shot of the flag truck!

    1. Hi Eric: Good to catch up after all these years. Yes, I got my flag truck, but I couldn’t find anybody to put in it for the “moment”. And somehow, the WordPress software takes all the saturation out of the HDRs…the original is quite gaudy and very HDR! Stay in touch. cBob

  3. Thanks for the great workshop Bob. It would have been worth it in any weather. I will never, ever again feel discouraged by bad weather, ever!


    1. James: It was a pleasure having you in class. Good luck with the otter project! Bob

  4. I almost shot the truck, had my nephew willing to chomp on a cigar behind the wheel to capture the moment, all I needed was a cigar. Just wanted to say thanks again and will be looking for fog and twilight wherever it appears. It appears I will be heading to Antarctica with Slay in February should I take crazy lenses? Great class, great people.

    1. Tim: Great to see you again. Bring your long glass to Antarctica…bring a beanbag too for the rail. You’ll shoot a lot from the deck, and you’ll find it useful. I forget what you had in the way of long glass, but the 100-400 IS will be useful because it’s light enough to shoot handheld from a Zodiac. Good raingear, and a raincoat for your camera.

  5. Bob, great shot of the truck. They moved it back up to the hill. thanks for a wonderful workshop and a learning experience of a lifetime. Steve.

  6. Hey Bob, We are neighbors two towns apart. I believe I drove by that very truck as I was leading a workshop in Maine Last month. The problem was it was during a torrential rain storm so we never got to shoot it. Lucky you! I’ve been using Topaz Adjust quite a bit as well as Photomatix. If you would like I have a PDF I give to students I’ll share with you. Give me a shot via my blog or email that I believe you now have on this post…

    1. Hi John: Thanks for the offer….I’m already trying to give up the newfound HDR fascination, or at least use it very sparingly, since it doesn’t fall within my purview of a “non-fiction” photographer.

      But it was fun while it lasted…I still may use it here, but I can see where I’d get addicted because it’s so fun and easy to make a boring photo interesting that I’d be too inclined to rely on it!

Leave a Reply

Close Menu