Charlie and the Photography Factory

May 11, 2009

Once You Start HDR, You’re Raising the Bar


A long time ago, when I was still in highschool,  I had reached a plateau in my photography.  I had lost the interest in it, and the joy of finding those shots that can spur the rush of emotions it instigates in people.   For awhile, I had tried to figure out why my interest was waning in a hobby I used to love so much, and I had come to the conclusion that there was a lack of real world imitation that my photos had.  Time and time again, I would take shots of landscapes and people, only to find the shot never accurately portrayed what I saw.  The skys would be over-exposed losing all detail. Or, my subject was underexposed, thus not illuminating the correct colors of skin, eyes, clothing, flowers, etc.  I could never fully capture and show people the visually satiating image I had seen via the duller photographic representation I had taken.  It had become frustrating, and with time I stopped taking photos.

Then, years later along came HDR.  Although the process is many years old, it wasn’t until recently (I think) that HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography had come into professional acceptance and public demand.  I had stumbled on to Trey Ratcliff’s site and had my mind blown away.  For the first time, I saw correct representational photography of our world.   I read his “How To” on HDR, and found myself with a new project to embark on.  A week later I was in Kiruna, Sweden at the ICEHOTEL snapping away, learning about the process, and  enjoying the results 100%.  Finally, my joy of photography and post-shoot development had been rekindled.

If you’ve been around me within the last 3 months you’ve heard enough about my new hobby.  Understandingly, everyone pokes fun at the process by mocking me, “Okay, guys now I need you to stand really still.  There’s gonna be 3 photos…”  But, when they see the results they understand the difference.  So, here’s another chance to understand.  Above, is the final product of a total of 30 minutes of relaxed photo development.  The process, which uses an application called Photomatix, takes 3 differently exposed images, perfectly exposed, over-exposed, and under-exposed, and stacks them together.  Below, I have taken the three images (right half of picture) and bled them through for you to see the differences. 

Each photo explains some of my earlier frustrations.  The  first stripe is over-exposed, and has lost the details in the sky.  The middle stripe is perfectly exposed, but has lost a slight degree of color. Finally, the last stripe is under-exposed revealing the details in the clouds, but has lost all color in the trash-can.  In short, each photo brings it’s respective cards the table, and is then stacked together via Photomatix to get the above image–the closest representation of Råslätt that day.  We see the colors on the building. The grass is a vibrant green.  The clouds in the sky are seen. It is as vivid as I had seen it.  True photographic representation. The bar has been raised, has it not? Do you see the difference? 

Group1 Example


May 4, 2009

Bench Relaxing

Filed under: Malmö, Sweden — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — charlieprator @ 1:31 AM


Have you ever been walking along, talking to your friends, only to catch a glimpse of something extraordinary? Something photographic? Something you can put a frame around? Only to have it  escape your eye when you venture to look back at it.  Minutes later, you regret not enjoying it? 

Well, this picture was one of those occasions where that didn’t happen.

It was Easter weekend, and I was bike riding with the Wendts (see the blurb about them from my last post).  We had been through Malmö’s beach, enjoying the perfect weather.  Then, on our bike ride back home, in a somewhat bland neighborhood (void of any photo opportunities), in the corner of my eye I saw this shot flash by.

Now, in my more amateur days of photography, I would have started a mental-battle questioning whether I should stop the caravan to take the picture. Probably, second guess the quality of the photo.  Then, decide to just move on, and lose a potential opportunity.   But, I said, “No! Not this time.”  I stopped our moving caravan, and set up shop taking many many pictures of this single scene.  All the while, pleading in my mind that this old lady stay put in her spot.  Fortunately, she never did as I moved all around the trees, walkway, and grass behind her.  Like a sneaky paparazzi I snapped photos unbeknownst to her. 

This picture was among the best.  And, a reaffirming lesson in photography. Never ever second guess yourself on a shot.  It may be spectacular, and it may never happen again.

Just as a teaser for future stories,  I got a hold of a camera in Valborg, and took pictures of the many vackra flickorna (beautiful girls) around.  Why, you ask?  To prove to you that, Sweden, has by far the most gorgeous women in the world. Stay tuned if you don’t believe me.

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