Friday, July 29, 2011

Going To The Dark Side With HDR

Portaue Cove. Shot taken merging 5 images with HDR. 1/20 @ F8

These are the high light shots for my HDR day view. Turning to the dark side can be fun and exciting! Read full story below.
False Creek "the stoop". Shot taken merging 7 images with HDR. 4 @ F11

Squamish River blind channel. Shot Taken with 5 images merged with HDR. 1/30 @ F9

Green Tree at Totem Beach. Taken with 3 images merged with HDR. 2.5 @ F7

Take a visual journey through my first day with HDR! Read the story below!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One of the many great look outs on the Sea to Sky Highway. Shot taken using 3 images merged with HDR. 1/125 @ F9

So here's the story, I am (or should I say was feeling) a little burnt out creatively, I guess you could say that working all day and then running out for the last magic hour in search of great sun set light was catching up to me and yes I was feeling lazy! Know don't get me wrong I was and still am doing this every day because we all know that the one night we stay home will be the banger, super pink! And we or me especially does not want to miss it, dedication can be misery at times. LOL. So what do I do to get my self up and out of a creative funk? Of course grab some cameras and a fly rod, get in the truck and get the hell out of the city. And yes even try and learn something new.
The Look Out, Sea to Sky Hwy. 3 images merged using HDR. 1/250 @ F9

In fly fishing we would call using a lure on the end cheating. (GOING TO THE DARK SIDE) In photography I have often herd HDR called the dark side. Why you might ask? The lure increases your odds to success and merging multiple photographs together will make the imposable possible when it comes to exposure and highlight/shadow detail in photos that can't be captured in just one image. The purest would say well "you get what you get, don't cheat". But lets face it, cheating can be fun! I am feeling a little un pure these days any way so lets try out this HDR on some photos. A one day road trip begins from Vancouver to Tim Horton's in Squamish, up to Brandywine Falls and back to Van.
Upper Cheakamuse River. Shot taken using 5 images merged with HDR. 1/15 @ F9

Now I am totally new to this HDR thing so as a disclaimer I will only attempt to explain what it is and how it works. First HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, so basically what happens in very high contrast scenes is the cameras sensor will not pick up all the light and detail as your eye sees in only one exposure. This usually leaves that nice blue sky or the bright areas washed out or the dark shadowy areas black. For me I like to be able to see the finished image as I saw it at the time not the bland one on the back of the camera but I also believe in getting the best exposure in camera so I don't have to do a lot of editing in the computer. HDR is a great option, I can merge 3 to 7 shots together and by varying the exposures I can capture the entire range of light and contrast in one image. Pretty cool right! And also super fun! All those bright middle of the day super contrasty times look out, I have a new tool and I am creatively back in the game!
The walking bridge over Brandywine Creek. Shot taken with 3 images merged with HDR. 1/30 @ F9

I relies this all may seem intimidating and advanced and believe me it was for me and that is also one of the reason I have not tried HDR sooner. I actually found it to be very easy to use but you will need a special program to run the images through the HDR process. I chose Photomatix Pro and it works great. You will also need to shoot on a tri-pod as the images must line up. I found great info at
Brandywine Falls. Shot taken with 3 images merged with HDR. 1/20 @ F8
All shots taken with Nikon d300s and Nikon 10-24 DX lens, Tri-pod and Remote Release.

These are the first ever HDR images I have made and so far I am very satisfied with the results. There are allot of looks out there and some photos I have seen look very HDR'y a little out there for my liking. I wanted to stay to my real looking images and capture the light as I saw it and HDR helped immensely with that. So give it a try and also I strongly recommend going for the drive out of town if your feeling stressed!
Have fun and enjoy the images.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Check out this little promo video below. Hot new landscape shots from AGP all shot within half an hour of Vancouver in the last 3 months.

See Through My Eye 2011.m4v

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Get That Silky Look

Cypress Beach, North Vancouver. Shot with Nikon d300s, Nikon 10-24mm DX lens, Lee 3 stop hard step Grad ND filter and Polarizing filter. Tripod and remote release. F14 @ 1.4 seconds.

One of the questions I get asked the most is how do you get the water to look all silky like it's moving. The answer is easy, a slow shutter speed. Here are a few quick tips that will help you show some movement in your water scape's.

First you will need a tripod and if you have one a remote release, due to the slow shutter speed you will need to remove any chance of shaking the camera.

Set your camera to aperture priority and choose a smaller F-Stop say F13 - F22 by doing this the camera will automatically reduce the shutter speed.

If in bright light light set you ISO to 100 or 200 this will also make the camera reduce the shutter speed.

Avoid bright days or shoot early in the morning or late in the evening, by doing this you will automatically have less available light to work with and this also will force the camera to set a slower shutter speed.

Nothing beets trial and error so get out their and point at some moving water, most likely you will be happy with the results.