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Local Snapshots
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Local Snapshots

Crossing Baltimore’s Key Bridge

Key Bridge

Industrial Baltimore

Kris and I went northwest of Baltimore – a part of the state we don’t get to very often – to do some exploring over the weekend.  We found a lovely hiking spot (Gunpowder Falls State Park) and a photogenic pre-Revolutionary War historic village (Jerusalem).  The pristine weather and the free time gave me the chance to try some photographic techniques that I have wanted to try for awhile…

Jersualem Village Mill

This kind of shot is called HDR – High Dynamic Range.  I had seen hundreds of HDR shots on Flickr, and recently Kris and I decided to give it a try.  (His first HDR photographs were done in Alaska – and they are stunning.  See his shot of the Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls, and his other shot of the Treadwell Mines on Sandy Beach).  The process is relatively simple; for the photograph, I used my tripod and our 5D Mark II camera.  You shoot three shots at the exact same spot – one at a lower light, one at standard, and then a higher light exposure.  Using PhotoMatix software (specifically designed for HDR shots), you layer the three photos on top of each other and the result is this multi-tonal image – the highlights and the lowlights.

Jerusalem Village Ruins

It has an otherworldly look to it because it picks up on all of the colors – unique and “hyper-real”.  For that reason, there are several critics who say it is too much processing. Of course, like anything, there is a *right* time for HDR, and a *wrong* time.  I figured that Jerusalem Village was a nice chance to try it out.

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16 Responses

  1. Mandy

    Very cool! I think in my mind, I prefer a picture that has had less processing. But sometimes my heart just loves the hdr shots. I read a professional photographer’s take on it once – you must do what the client wants, and often the client just loves the look of hdr! I agree with you, there is a right and wrong time for it. Your shots look really great!

  2. Sweet Shoppe Kitty

    Beautiful pics! So jealous… do you have a program that allows you to modify pics?

  3. rj

    Oh yes. Jerusalem is a lot of fun. I’ve been there quite a few times. Most of the times I’ve either been lost getting there, or I get lost trying to get home.

    Your photo shots are different from mine, since mine were mostly of the flowers that I saw on my walk.

  4. carolyn

    i think these shots look pretty great and a very light HDR touch. :)

  5. Josiane

    You’re right, there’s an otherworldly feel to these pictures, and it makes for very interesting shots. I love it! These and the ones you linked in Kris’ photostream are gorgeous.

  6. Liz

    I had no idea what HDR meant… thanks for explaining. Your shots (and Kris’s) are absolutely amazing.

  7. Jenn

    Very interesting…do you have any links to a tutorial that you could recommend? I can’t wait to get out and start exploring again, but it’s been so humid for the last month that I haven’t really felt like it.

  8. Shaye

    I used to live right by Gunpowder!

    Either way, have you guys been out to Deep Creek Lake/Swallow Falls? If not, you should definitely take a trip up there. I just got back last week from a (too short) vacation and I’m already ready to go back!

  9. Emilee

    Those photos are beautiful! The colors are so vivid.

  10. Christina

    Beautiful. I lived in Baltimore for the first…3 months of my life! :) – I want to go back and see those places. The last shot is cool – I understand what people mean by over processing but in this case – just a cool look. The photo looks like a painting.

  11. kala

    I love that first pic of the bridge!

  12. Jenna

    Oh, so THAT’S how people get those shots! It all makes sense now. I think my cousin used that technique in a few of the shots of me in Israel. It’s a very cool technique and, really, what’s too much processing? You think Ansel Adams didn’t change things in his darkroom? It gives a very cool effect, so why not try it out? I’m glad you guys got to explore somewhere new to you! xoxo.

  13. Chandler

    I love what you’ve done with the barn photos, and Kris’s photos are just breathtaking. I still tend to think in terms of film photography (old habits die hard), but I like the idea of taking all of the shots you bracketed and layering them—especially in a subtle way. Super interesting!

    I also love the bridge and cranes photos, and you know how I feel about old architecture! Fun stuff.

  14. Mom

    The layers are beautiful. They capture the many blues of the rolling clouds, especialy in the pic of the barn, is it? the contrast of red with the blues are lovely! I’d love to go there sometime. Mom

  15. lisa

    Wow! These photos are stunning. I really love this technique and how the colors just pop. Of course, I think all your photos are great! Love to see your adventures.

  16. Alli

    I am so intrigued by this HDR stuff. A friend of mine was using it for a Color & Design class that we took. You can really get some interesting shots! I think what you mentioned about the possibility of “over-processing” is interesting. Personally, I really like the HDR stuff for sky and water pictures. My friend did a really cool picture in I think low-light or black and white? Anyway it was a mostly monochrome shot and it really brought out the added textures from the HDR. So cool.

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