Friday, March 02, 2007

New toys are a good way to start the month

I did spend some time at Santa Monica Pier yesterday after the visit with my tax lady who also is in Santa Monica. I figure I deserve some fun after that grueling drive. So a few block detour and voila there I am.

I did some shooting sorta on the fly not sure what I was looking for and kept mulling about the "High Dynamic Range" effects available in Photoshop CS2 which I found out about last year. High Dynamic Range aka HDR is an interesting tool where a subject is shot 3 times once at average exposure, once to expose shadows for maximum detail, then once for the highlight details. The program uses a variety of filters and brings the 3 images together in such a way that you still have great contrast but have complete detail in your shadow, highlight and mid-tones that you can't do even with the best silver based films. Really cool, but Photoshop CS2 is off my radar this year as it is more of an expense than I want to tackle right now.

Low and behold, the BloggingLA site that I check into frequently for the more off beat happenings in LA had a really cool entry by Dave Bullock with an image he shot and used HDR to bring in all the sky and shadow detail. (Recall that skies are a theme I've been exploring in recent weeks). His 6th street Bridge image is startling in how well it is a done technically and artistically.

What I found particularly stunning about his image is that it looked natural. So many working with HDR haven't produced much that had a natural feel. HDR is a tool that can be very surreal but I haven't seen that side exploited as much as it being more miss than hitting the mark happy accidents. (My opinion based on the limited HDR examples I have seen, love the surreal but it can't look like it was an accident).

The nice thing is that Dave also included a link to Photomatix program he used for his HDR. Wahoo its a price point I can afford and as of this morning its mine. Now to go out and purposely shoot avec tripod so I can put this program to use. Stay tuned a powerful tool and a free wandering mind can be a fun combo!

Anyway...enjoy the pics of the demented toys from the Beach and stay tuned for more fun stuff with HDR very soon

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