May 12, 2010

Blog Header - May 9, 2010

I took this photo when we lived in Lynchburg, Virginia, at a Lynchburg Hillcats Minor League baseball game. These games were tremendous fun at a great price. So it made family outings affordable and enjoyable. The two girls in this picture are sitting with the Hillcat’s mascot Southpaw—a delightfully offbeat mascot who regularly led the crowd in cheers and dancing. He did a great worm, believe it or not.

I processed the photo in Photoshop using a technique described by Deke McLelland for faking HDR photography with one exposure. I love the contrast, detail, and overly saturated colors common to HDR photography, so I have been experimenting with this relatively simple technique for the past few days. For the most part, I have chosen photographs that were low in contrast and had poor lighting. It’s amazing how much improvement results from applying this fake HDR technique.

Here are a few examples:

Kim and David in Disney’s Rainforest Café

From Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this photo was so underexposed that it was essentially unusable. I had tried to take a picture without using flash so I could capture the unique lighting of the aquariums, but it was just too dark. I finally managed to capture this picture with no blur by raising the ISO level to 1800, but to keep the shutter speed high enough to eliminate motion blur I had to tremendously underexpose the picture.

The face HDR technique allowed me to pull detail out of the photo and show the beautiful lighting and the beautiful fish in the aquarium (along with my beautiful wife and my son back in the shadows behind her).

Kim on the train at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

I love how this one turned out. This is Kim riding the train that encircles Disney’s Magic Kingdom. We rode the train quite a few times—both to get a break from walking and because our son loves trains.

Model A at Natural Bridge, VA – Sepia toning

I wanted to try the fake HDR technique on a black & white photograph, so I pulled up this photo of an old car that I took when we visited Natural Bridge, Virginia, about four years ago. It was a very foggy morning, which I think contributes nicely to the old-time photograph effect. But with the post-processing of the photograph a giveaway showed up in the reflection on the side door. I don’t think they had minivans when this Model A was brand new.

A spectator at a Lynchburg Hillcats game

I took this photo at a Lynchburg Hillcats game. The color was dull; the photo had very low contrast. It was an altogether lifeless and unpleasing photograph. So I applied the fake HDR technique and ended up with this arresting photograph. I love the captivating quality of the young lady’s eyes in this photo.

One of my friends from work

After displaying some of the photos I had processed, one of my friends at work asked if I could apply the same technique to her Facebook profile picture. This is the result of that request. I blurred the background to make her stand out more from the brick wall.

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