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geek-accountant

Magic hour

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Sometimes I get so busy doing other things, I forget to actually go out and take some photos. So today as I was working on some things for the website, it hit me, Stop what you are doing and go out and shot something.

 

It happened to be around 7:30pm at the time and then another thought hit me, I have lived in the same town for many years and yet I don't know all the best places to take sunset or sunrise photos. That's really pathetic and something I need to change, but not tonight. Tonight I need to go to the one place I do know and make sure I get some images. Finding all the best locations is a project I will start very soon!

 

So, here is the shots from this afternoon.

 

 

Sunset at Suwanee Town Center Park

 

suwaneesunset1.jpg

 

suwaneesunset2.jpg

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Put away the ledgers and start snapping photos for a living. :D

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But I love creating spreadsheets also...

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But I love creating spreadsheets also...

You are 1 sick puppy ;)

 

 

BTW, very nice shots. thx. Question: those clouds were there, just like they show?

Edited by ikon

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The clouds where there, not sure if it was exactly like that, but pretty close. The images is an HDR image so some adjustments were made, but the result is fairly close to what you would have seen with the naked eye.

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But I love creating spreadsheets also...

 

Awww yes! Especially if we can throw in some Pivot tables -- life is good! :)

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Use Pivot Tables all the time, and yes I do live them. Also like the new slicers with 2010, but mainly because I was running into the 10,000 record limit for report filters before 2010.

 

Went out again last night and looked for a new location, but ultimately ended up back at Suwanee Town Center Park. I did shot from a different location and got the shots below:

 

suwaneesunset-pm3.jpg

 

and this one:

 

suwaneesunset-pm4.jpg

 

Other than a different location, I also processed these through Photomatix rather than Nik HDR Efex Pro. I think I like the Photomatix process better, it definitively is producing less noise.

 

I also went back and re-edited the ones from the other night, here they are:

 

Photomatix

suwaneesunset-pm1.jpg

 

Nik HDR Efex pro

suwaneesunset2.jpg

 

 

Photomatix

suwaneesunset-pm2.jpg

 

Nik HDR Efex pro

suwaneesunset1.jpg

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In case you are wondering, "why do you need HDR", the image below was taken based on the readings of the camera (ie 0+/- EV):

 

suwaneesunset-single.jpg

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Awww yes! Especially if we can throw in some Pivot tables -- life is good! :)

 

 

Love me some pivot tables.

 

 

Use Pivot Tables all the time, and yes I do live them. Also like the new slicers with 2010, but mainly because I was running into the 10,000 record limit for report filters before 2010.

 

Went out again last night and looked for a new location, but ultimately ended up back at Suwanee Town Center Park. I did shot from a different location and got the shots below:

 

Other than a different location, I also processed these through Photomatix rather than Nik HDR Efex Pro. I think I like the Photomatix process better, it definitively is producing less noise.

 

I also went back and re-edited the ones from the other night, here they are:

 

 

 

Not aware of slicers. I will have to investigate.

 

I like the photomatix ones better. They look more real than the others. It was neat to see the original versus the edited pictures. The edited ones are much nicer, but have a bit of an un-real look.

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Mike,

 

Those are awesome shots.

 

How many bracketed exposures are you using to create the one HDR image?

 

I'm assuming they are all shot in RAW?

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OK, so, where to start. I like all the shots. While I do feel the HDR is just a tad bit overdone in some of them, I think they're actually more real looking than the 'natural' shot. I think one of the problems people have with HDR is that they've become so used to 'natural' photos they no longer even realize that the photo doesn't really look anything like what their minds saw when they were at the location. People have just gotten used to completely unnatural looking photographs.

 

In both HDR shots of the wide expanse of lawn, I find the grass is somewhat overly tone mapped, but they still are better than the natural shot. It would be nice to see a Nik version of it — Nik seems to do grass better for some reason.

 

I find the Nik version of the city hall shot better than the photomatix one: the grass and the city hall building both look more natural.

 

On the other hand, I find the photomatix version of the portrait sidewalk shot more natural, especially the sky. The Nik version doesn't look as natural.

 

And thanks for posting the natural shot; it really shows why someone would use HDR.

 

Suggestion: give each shot a name or number so we can refer to them easier :)

 

Keep it up; I'm really enjoying your shots. One of these days I'm going to have to do some of my own :rolleyes:

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We haven't seen any HDR's of your server :)

 

Enjoy the pic's!

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For these, I was shooting a 5 set bracket at +1 stop. So you get the following:

0EV

-1EV

-2EV

+1EV

+2EV

 

 

And yes, always in RAW!

 

 

 

Mike,

 

Those are awesome shots.

 

How many bracketed exposures are you using to create the one HDR image?

 

I'm assuming they are all shot in RAW?

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You see, this is why photography is an art and not a science. In both examples, I like the Photomatix version better. They have better tonal transition, the color is a little closer to what I actually saw and there is less noise. Yes, the grass is a little over processed, but that has more to do with my processing skills, although I actually like it that way better.

 

One thing I liked better about the Nik images was how it handled the details in the brick wall. Look at the vertical image and you will see the difference.

 

As you mentioned, the HDR shots are actually closer to what I really saw, although many people think it looks like a painting. The single exposure image looks nothing like what I saw.

 

Also, did anyone notice some of the things I removed? It's hard to see because the single image is so dark, but there are a few things. I should post the single image from the vertical shot, there are a LOT of things I removed from that one.

 

Some may feel that removing things is cheating, but remember this is art and not a news story. Post processing is nearly as important as taking the actual image. Even Ansel Adams did tons of post processing, well what he could do in his day.

 

 

 

 

OK, so, where to start. I like all the shots. While I do feel the HDR is just a tad bit overdone in some of them, I think they're actually more real looking than the 'natural' shot. I think one of the problems people have with HDR is that they've become so used to 'natural' photos they no longer even realize that the photo doesn't really look anything like what their minds saw when they were at the location. People have just gotten used to completely unnatural looking photographs.

 

In both HDR shots of the wide expanse of lawn, I find the grass is somewhat overly tone mapped, but they still are better than the natural shot. It would be nice to see a Nik version of it — Nik seems to do grass better for some reason.

 

I find the Nik version of the city hall shot better than the photomatix one: the grass and the city hall building both look more natural.

 

On the other hand, I find the photomatix version of the portrait sidewalk shot more natural, especially the sky. The Nik version doesn't look as natural.

 

And thanks for posting the natural shot; it really shows why someone would use HDR.

 

Suggestion: give each shot a name or number so we can refer to them easier :)

 

Keep it up; I'm really enjoying your shots. One of these days I'm going to have to do some of my own :rolleyes:

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And yes, always in RAW!

Honestly, the nerve of some people, asking a question like that! :)

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LOL. I know, asking me, Mr. jpeg2RAW guy himself if I shot those in RAW. But vinylfreak is kind of crazy like that. Heck, I heard he had a pretty wild after the meet-up party. :)

 

 

Honestly, the nerve of some people, asking a question like that! :)

 

Here is the single image from the vertical shot. This is at 0 EV and is straight out of the camera, so you can see all the things I removed.

 

suwaneesunset-single2.jpg

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You see, this is why photography is an art and not a science. In both examples, I like the Photomatix version better. They have better tonal transition, the color is a little closer to what I actually saw and there is less noise. Yes, the grass is a little over processed, but that has more to do with my processing skills, although I actually like it that way better.

 

One thing I liked better about the Nik images was how it handled the details in the brick wall. Look at the vertical image and you will see the difference.

 

As you mentioned, the HDR shots are actually closer to what I really saw, although many people think it looks like a painting. The single exposure image looks nothing like what I saw.

 

Also, did anyone notice some of the things I removed? It's hard to see because the single image is so dark, but there are a few things. I should post the single image from the vertical shot, there are a LOT of things I removed from that one.

 

Some may feel that removing things is cheating, but remember this is art and not a news story. Post processing is nearly as important as taking the actual image. Even Ansel Adams did tons of post processing, well what he could do in his day.

 

 

 

I originally noticed that you had removed the trashcan. Going back and looking at it, I notice a lot more that is added than removed. Some of the people are ghosted. I also notice you removed a leaf or something by the light pole.

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You see, this is why photography is an art and not a science. In both examples, I like the Photomatix version better. They have better tonal transition, the color is a little closer to what I actually saw and there is less noise. Yes, the grass is a little over processed, but that has more to do with my processing skills, although I actually like it that way better.

 

One thing I liked better about the Nik images was how it handled the details in the brick wall. Look at the vertical image and you will see the difference.

 

As you mentioned, the HDR shots are actually closer to what I really saw, although many people think it looks like a painting. The single exposure image looks nothing like what I saw.

 

Also, did anyone notice some of the things I removed? It's hard to see because the single image is so dark, but there are a few things. I should post the single image from the vertical shot, there are a LOT of things I removed from that one.

 

Some may feel that removing things is cheating, but remember this is art and not a news story. Post processing is nearly as important as taking the actual image. Even Ansel Adams did tons of post processing, well what he could do in his day.

 

 

 

 

 

I noticed the garbage can was gone ;)

 

And there's nothing wrong with adding, removing, combining, enhancing, or any other mod. The aim is to get a great result. With the advent of digital photography, and the incredicle software tools available now, I would even argue that post processing is more important that the original shot. It's amazing what you can rescue or tease out or enhance in photos today.

 

And you're right; Ansel spent days or even weeks working out the exact darkroom recipe for a specific photograph so that he could then print many copies exactly the same. He left a treasure trove of them for his decendants to sell. It was their inheritance really.

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I would even argue that post processing is more important that the original shot.

 

 

But without the original, there is nothing to "post process".

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I don't think I added anything. The ghosting is due to people moving and the blending of the images. Photomatix does a decent job of removing some ghosting but not all of it. I debating on spending more time with the photo and removing the worst of the ghosting (they are in a difficult spot to clone out), but decided to leave them in for now.

 

As of right now, both the vertical and the one with City Hall will be included in my 5 shot submission to our towns annual photo contest. But since the submission deadline is December 31st, I will be waiting until the last day to see if I can get anything better.

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But without the original, there is nothing to "post process".

Of course, but the final result could come from several originals; I'm thinking more of the idea that many have that you have to spend an inordinate amount of time getting the original shot just perfect before pressing the shutter button. At one time that was pretty true, and for a lot of pro photography it still is really (cause they don't have time for much post processing), but today a heck of a lot can be fixed just fine in post. For example, it's almost not worth bothering with white balance in the camera anymore, at least if you shoot raw.

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I know it sounds funny, but Ikon is right. Yes you need a decent image to start out with and the better you can get it in camera the less work later, but post processing is SO important. In fact, you should, at least in the back of your mind, be thinking of the post processing while you take the photo.

 

Funny you should mention WB ikon. I normally set mine to 5600k so I have a consitant color and then change it in post later. Now under different light I may change that and use a grey card, but normally when shooting under sunlight, I stick with 5600k.

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I don't think I added anything. The ghosting is due to people moving and the blending of the images. Photomatix does a decent job of removing some ghosting but not all of it. I debating on spending more time with the photo and removing the worst of the ghosting (they are in a difficult spot to clone out), but decided to leave them in for now.

 

As of right now, both the vertical and the one with City Hall will be included in my 5 shot submission to our towns annual photo contest. But since the submission deadline is December 31st, I will be waiting until the last day to see if I can get anything better.

I have a theory that it should be possible to take a single shot and have the camera do the +/- 2 f/stops in the camera. I think the algorithms can be tweaked to do it, but I could be wrong. If true, it would eliminate the ghosting altogether and be a lot faster too.

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