Travel Photography

Peace, Love and HDR

Final HDR Image
Here's one of my favorite HDR images, as well as one of my more peaceful images.

Title: Beautiful Buddha Reflection (We shoot here on my Croton Creative Workshop)

Location, Kent, New York

Exposures: 0, -2, -3, +2 EV

Tips:

The name of the game is to fill the frame. Notice how every inch of this frame is filled with an interesting subject.

I used my Canon 15mm full-frame fish-eye lens on my Canon 5D for this image. Without HDR, the reflection would have been very dark.

When using a fish-eye lens, make sure your camera is level. A slight tilt to the left or right can mess up your image.

Also: Shoot RAW, but to save HDR processing time, convert your HDR images to JPEGs. One technique is to use Image Processor in Photoshop.

HDR sequence.
You'll find more HDR info in my iHDR iPad app and iHDR for your Mac.

Click here to see the plug-ins I use for HDR.

Explore the light,
Rick



Good Light + Good Composition + Good Subject = A Nice Photograph


Here's my favorite image (so far) from the California Photo Festival.

Tonight I took a group of dedicated photographers on a street walk. The focus of the walk was composition and lighting. We found both, plus a great subject – my good friend and wonderful photographer Lee Varis.

I took this shot with my Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 24-105mm lens (my favorite street lens) and my brand new Really Right Stuff tripod and ball head. ISO was 6400, which say a lot about the image sensor in the camera.

To learn about lighting, see my lighting class on Kelby Training.

To learn about composition, see my composition class on Kelby Training.

Explore the light,
Rick





Composition: The Strongest Way of Seeing, or Crop My Pictures and You Are a Dead Man!


Edward Weston said: Composition is the strongest way of seeing.

I love that quote . . . and it's the title of my latest Kelby Training Class.

The photographs here, taken in Iceland two weeks ago, illustrate some important composition techniques.

Above: use a foreground element to place the viewer in the scene.


Above: The name of the game is to fill the frame.


Above: Crop my pictures and you are a dead man! Actually, that's my own quote . . . one that I used to use (lovingly) with my book publishers.

I am a nut about cropping. I shot this picture knowing that I'd crop off the boring top and bottom in Photoshop.

Be a nut about cropping, and you will get pictures with impact.

Again, for more info in composition, check out my Composition class. My Composition class goes hand-in-hand with my class on lighting: Light - the main element in every photograph.

To learn more about composition, join one of my workshops. We work hard, but we also have a ton of fun.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. All images: Canon 5D Mark III, in-camera HDR and Canon 17-40mm lens. All my gear is listed on my Gear page.


Heavy Metal in Hot'Lanta Workshop


All photographs © Glenn Taylor

My friend Glenn Taylor and I are running an HDR/Model photography workshop in and around Atlanta, GA March 1st to 3rd, 2013. Here's the basic info on the workshop. We are only taking a small group, so space is limited.

For now, Glenn, who as been to all the sites on the workshop, is today's guest blogger. Take it away Glenn.

In my work as a Creative Director for a business-to-business ad agency, I’m often contracted to shoot industrial-style photography of our client’s equipment, employees and locations all over the country. It’s not for everyone, but I love bringing these working environments to life.
In my off-time I shoot with several groups and friends in Atlanta and the surrounding area. Two of my favorite locations to shoot HDR and detail images are The Southeast Railway Museum in Duluth, GA and Old Car City in White, GA. Both locations are a treasure trove of heavy metal grunge images. The colors, textures and little details are just amazing!

Opening image: Sightseeing/cocktail car at the SE Railway Museum. I can always picture a scene from Mad Men taking place right in this car. This is a 5 exposure HDR, merged in Photamatix Pro and finished in Lightroom - taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 24-70mm L series lens. This is shot wide (around 34mm) while mounted on a Gitzo tripod with a RRS bullhead.


Rusted boxcar detail at the SE Railway Museum. I am drawn to detail and old paint textures. Here the multiple sixes and the row of rusty rivets built an interesting composition. This is a single exposure processed in Lightroom, taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 24-70mm L series lens. This was shot medium length (70mm) handheld in the outside yard area with natural light.

Kitchen car at the SE Railway Museum. The patina of the metal surfaces adds interest to all the geometric shapes in the composition. This is a 5 exposure HDR, merged in Photamatix Pro and finished in Lightroom - taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 24-70mm L series lens. This is shot wide (24mm) while mounted on a Gitzo tripod with a RRS ballhead.

Old Car City is a similar location with a completely different set of subjects: classic cars that are weathered, rusty and full of character. Just like the trains at SE Railway, HDR and details are everywhere you look.

The “office” at Old Car City. The texture around this part of the facility just jumps out at you. This is a 3 exposure HDR, merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro and finished in Lightroom - taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 24-70mm L series lens. This is shot wide (34mm) while mounted on a Gitzo tripod with a RRS bullhead.





Hood ornament detail at Old Car City. I shot this with backlighting from the morning sun that would emphasize the selective focus feature of the lens. This is a single exposure, processed in Lightroom, taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 90mm Tilt/Shift lens on a Gitzo tripod with a RRS bullhead.

Ladies in waiting at Old Car City. I liked the way this group looked like a beaten down car lot. This is a 3 exposure HDR, merged in Photomatix Pro and finished in Lightroom - taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 35mm lens. This is shot wide while mounted on a Gitzo tripod with a RRS bullhead.




Ford emblem fender detail at Old Car City. I captured this handheld at f2.8 to bring focus on just the emblem detail and let the rest of the fender fade into the background.

This is a single exposure, processed in Lightroom, taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 35mm lens.



Thanks Glenn for a great post.



Follow Glenn:

Glenn and I hope to see you on our workshop! Shoot me an email for info.

Check out my iHDR app to learn more about HDR.

Explore the light,
Rick


Are You Type A or Type B - When it comes to a tripod?


Basically, there are two types of tripods:

Type A: The type that is very affordable and very easy to carry.

Type B: The type that is a bit more expensive and a bit harder to carry.


The photographers who participate on my workshops show up with both types, but the photographers who show up with Type A leave the workshop knowing that as soon as they home they will purchase a Type B tripod. Here’s why.

Type A tripods are not as sturdy as Type B tripods. When shooting on a windy day at slow shutter speeds, Type A tripods might shake and you might get a blurry picture.

Type A tripods may actually blow over on a windy day, especially the light ones.


Type A tripods don’t offer the flexibility and height as more expensive tripods.

Type A tripods usually don’t support telephoto lenses as well as Type B tripods.


The legs of Type A tripods don’t lock as securely as the legs on Type B tripods.

Heads and release plates on Type A tripods don’t hold your camera as securely as those found on Type B tripods. Camera movement is sometimes also limited.

Type A tripods don’t hold up to weather and salt spray as well as Type B tripods.


The end of story: Spend a few extra bucks on a tripod and you will not regret your purchase.  Also, you may want to purchase two Type B tripods: one for your light lens shooting and one for your “big guns” shooting. 

If you are serious about landscape and wildlife photography, a Type B tripod is the only choice.


As an aside, the same goes for tele-converters: Go for the camera band name, and not an off-brand name.

My tripods and tele-converters, as well as well as all my camera gear, are listed on my Gear page.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. All the photographs in this post were taken on my recent Iceland Adventure with my Canon 5D Mark III.