Thursday, August 07, 2008

Dioramas and the surreal capbilities of HDR

Museums love their diorama's recreating some era in history more than elementary school teachers do at California history lessons when they require a Mission be built.

They are always too neat and clean versions of how things were. Key period elements are usually neatly in place. Sometimes they go as far as to include paintings or photo's in the "windows" to give that added bit of "realism". It is very surreal, certainly more imaginary like the world of Wally and the Beaver than it ever was back in the day.

This week I ventured out to the Autry National Center and Western Heritage Museum in LA's Griffith Park. After checking out the newer rotating exhibits I took a meander through the permanent exhibits. To my surprise it was more than just the wild wild west, it included discussions and diorama's documenting how the western states developed right up to the post war era. Key feature was the Mrs See's home where her kitchen and den were recreated. Very clean and sterile, more romantic memory than it probably looked in real life, but interesting none the less.

It begged for a surreal rupture in the time warp. HDR helped me get there.

Once an HDR file is generated with photomatix you can use the tone mapping portion to take that file and adjust how your highlights/shadows are blended to preserve detail. Do you want more or less micro contrast? More or less luminosity to the entire image? How about blending between the two, coarse or fine? In the end you have a lot of control over the final images real or surreal qualities. Of course I gave the final image a post processing cleaning with Virtual Photographer to enhance those qualities.

Enjoy "Davy Crockett Bedroom" and "Mrs See's Kitchen".

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