On and Over the Hills

"Go as far as you can see; when you get there you'll be able to see farther." ~ Thomas Carlyle

Temptation, or Digital Photography is a Cheap Hobby…Not!

I have a second-hand camera with one lens. I have a 9-year-old computer that I bought for my son when he was in university. I think my printer is a little newer, but I can’t remember, but I don’t print many photos on it because the quality is less than desirable and the ink is expensive. I have so far resisted the urge to buy Photoshop; I do my editing on Gimp, which is free. I’m still to keep this ‘hobby’ affordable.

But I am seriously tempted to spend some money right now. I have been admiring the Urbex HDR work of people like Chris Jones and Andre Govia, the landscapes of Dan Jurak and more eclectic work of Steve Rob and Chris McLoughlin among others. They are all done with a technique called HDR, or High Dynamic Range imaging. Since any camera can only record a fraction of the range of light that we see with our eyes, HDR, or image stacking has been developed to create an image that more closely resembles what our eye can see.

I’ve been tortured by blown out skies and water and solid black shadows since I started taking pictures. The forest is my muse, full of dappled sunlight and deep lush shadows, and I’ve never been successful in creating an image that shows what I see.

Inspired by the work of the above photographers and others, I’ve been attempting to do this image stacking and have had disappointing results, until now.

I spent a glorious evening yesterday watching the sun go down just north of town. I found a spot I liked and set up my tripod and took exposure after exposure, bracketing my shots manually because my camera does not have the ability to do that for me. When I got home I chose the seven shots below and plunked them into a trial version of Photomatix that I have to admit I downloaded not because I did a lot of research on HDR software, but because it was the one being used by a lot of the people whose work I like.

And this is what came out when I plunked those pictures into the software.

OK, so this image isn’t perfect, and covered with ugly watermarks, (which I could clone out, but that might be unethical), but there are a lot of adjustments I could make once I learn the software. Nevertheless, it’s damn close to the scene that I enjoyed very much. As I said: I’m tempted.

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13 comments on “Temptation, or Digital Photography is a Cheap Hobby…Not!

  1. Diane
    August 16, 2010

    Take the plunge …. get Photomatix. You won’t be sorry!
    BTW, I knew of Andre Govia but didn’t know of the other photographers you mentioned so a big THANK YOU for turning me on to their photos!!!!
    Keep up the good work 😉

  2. missusk76
    August 16, 2010

    Thanks for the encouragement Diane, and you’re very welcome!

  3. Chris Jones
    August 16, 2010

    Wonderful photo and great blog. I’m thrilled to be mentioned. I would also suggest taking the plunge and get photomatix you won’t regret it…and btw there is a new book out about urbex and featuring some great artists

    http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/romanywg/4862321597/

    • missusk76
      August 16, 2010

      Thanks Chris (I just figured out how to reply to a specific comment on here…but never mind…) I’ll check it out!

  4. rogerio granato
    August 16, 2010

    Absolutely great !
    without Photoshop I wouldn’t dare to post my photos on Flickr.
    Go ahead , there’s a world of suprises waiting for you

    • missusk76
      August 16, 2010

      Haha! Ignorance is bliss, I guess. 🙂 Thank you Rogerio.

  5. Nancy
    August 16, 2010

    You know that I understand less than nothing about photography or anything else creative. But I do know what I like and your pictures are stunning, whether they’re retouched, untouched, or whatever. You’ve always had a wonderful eye for the beautiful.

    • missusk76
      August 16, 2010

      …and you’re hardly biased! 🙂 Thanks a million for looking, Nancy. It’s great to be able to share it with you.

  6. Kia and Zeno
    August 22, 2010

    We have seen several images obtained using HDR technique. Some come out great, others have a weird look. We’ve never tried, but it’s tempting. We are not professional photographers, but we like the result you have obtained.

    • missusk76
      August 25, 2010

      Even ‘weird’ can be effective sometimes, can’t it. I really appreciate you stopping by, Kia and Zeno, and your thoughful comments.

  7. Pingback: I Sing To Scare Away the Bears | Photographs and Words About Photography from Cindy Kilpatrick

  8. photosbymartina
    September 4, 2010

    I have enjoyed looking at your great photos as much as I have enjoyed reading what you write Cindy. I’ll be back to view more later.

    • missusk76
      September 5, 2010

      Thank you very much Martina! Sharing my writing is a new experience and it’s giving me great pleasure to think that someone else enjoys reading it.

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This entry was posted on August 16, 2010 by in Processes and tagged , , , , , , , .
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