Writing with Light

Posts tagged “tonemapping

Zoom Zoom

Back to a couple of “somewhat” abstract images that I took last weekend while attempting some in-camera effects. Both of these images were taken while zooming during the exposure. This first image was taken with an exposure time of 0.4…

…while this second image had an exposure of 1/2. Both are single exposure. the top on is straight out of the camera. I only slightly adjusted levels in Photoshop. The image below was tonemapped first in Photmatix Pro as a single exposure. What do you think?

As always you can click on the image to see a larger version.


Toronto Brickworks

Project 52 Entry #17

I went exploring last weekend. It’s funny how sometimes we forget that there are great places to photograph in your own city.

The Don Valley Brick Works company was established in 1889 near the Don River in Toronto. This quarry & brick making plant operated for nearly 100 years producing high quality brick that was used in the construction of many famous Toronto landmarks including the Ontario Legislature and Casa Loma. By the mid-1980’s most of the usable clay had been quarried and the company decided to sell the land to the government for conservation purposes.

Today the space has been readapted by Evergreen, a Canadian non-profit organization that works to make cities greener and more environmentally friendly. Restoration to the main building which houses the kilns included structural reinforcements and preserving the building original red brick masonry.

Click on the image to make it larger.

Venice Morning

Project 52 – Entry #12

Venice in July is a busy place…well actually Italy in July is a busy place. The country gets pretty crowded with tourists and it seems that long line ups are standard. A word of advice for anyone traveling to Italy in the summer…by tickets to museums online before you leave. Seriously, we avoided 2 hours line-ups by doing that. But I digress.

Venice is an extraordinarily  beautiful city. It seems that everywhere you look there’s something worth admiring…and photographing. On our first morning in Venice I decided to get up before sunrise to go out and do some shooting. There’s a calmness to the city at 5am and as I was walking to San Marco square  (before even having a cup of coffee…where’s a Starbucks when you need one) the only thing I could hear was the cooing of the pigeons. It truly felt like I was alone in this beautiful city.  I was walking hurriedly through the narrow streets and over bridges to get to my destination and then  I realized that was I wasn’t in “the big city” any longer. There was no reason to hurry. I had Venice all to myself, even if it was just for a little while.

We had been in  San Marco Square in the evening but on this morning, with the absence of the crowds, I realized how large and just how beautiful it really was.

Canon XTi, Sigma 18 - 200mm, f/4.5, 1/30

Canon XTi, Sigma 10 - 22mm, f/22, 1/6, 13mm

The gondolas are lined up in their slips in the morning just bobbing up and down in the lagoon. In the image below I tried to convey the soft movement of the gondolas. I did take 3 brackets for this shot but I didn’t like the way the ghosting looked once I put it through Photomatix. This was tonemapped from a single exposure. I then brought it into Photoshop and slightly adjusted levels.

Canon XTi, Sigma 10 - 22mm, f/22, 1 sec exposure

To HDR or Not To HDR

Project 52 – Entry #7

Last week I posted a sunset picture that I made reference too as being a HDR image and I thought I should probably get into that a little bit more this week. Now there’s a lot of debate out there as to whether HDR photography is realistic or not. Well that depends on the picture and who you ask. Some HDR images are processed in such a way as to have a very “grungy” look and that works in certain situations and for specific subjects. HDR  is also used in difficult lighting conditions where metering for one area may leave another either underexposed or overexposed (such as my 3rd photo below where the interior was quite dark but outside it was a bright sunny day).

So what is HDR?

Distillery District, TorontoCanon Xti, Sigma 10 – 20mm, f/14, 1/200, 14mm                                                                                                                   

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range imaging. It’s a technique that gives a photograph a greater dynamic range of shadows, midtones and highlights or the darker and lighter part of an image. In some instances what the eye actually sees is not interpreted in the same way through the lens. DSLRs will pick up a lot of detail in a scene but not the full dynamic range.

I’m not going to write a whole tutorial on the subject but I did want to give you some insight to what HDR is all about.

A HDR image is made up of anywhere from 3 to 9 bracketed exposures (yes I’ve seen some photographers use 9 but let’s stick with the low-end of the spectrum for now). By the way “bracketed exposures” are a sequence of images taken at different exposures that are then merged in post-production using software such as Photoshop or HDRsoft’s Photomatix Pro.

A few key things to remember when shooting your brackets:

  1. always use a tripod (although I’m bad because I’ve found myself in situations where I didn’t have my tripod with me. It’s amazing how one learns to hold one’s

    Canon Xti, Sigma 18 - 200mm, f/5.6, 18mm

    breath in these situations.)

  2. Use a consistent aperture, ISO & focus. I always stick with 100 ISO so   I don’t have a lot of noise in my final image.
  3. If you can, use a remote shutter release to avoid even the slightest camera shake

Now that you’ve taken your shots, downloaded and merged your brackets you’re now ready for tonemapping. What you thought you were finished? This is where the hard work comes in but I’ll tackle that in another post.

If you’re interested in learning more about HDR Photography then you need to check out Trey Ratcliff from who just released a new HDR Video Tutorial which is awesome!  Click here to see Stuck In Customs.

Canon Xti, Sigma 18 - 200mm, f/9, 1/125, 28mm