To HDR or Not to HDR? That is the question

Yesterday, I announced a Mac version of my best-selling iHDR how-to app.

Sure, I enjoy creating HDR images, and I suggest to all my workshops students that they master HDR imaging.

However, I always stress that as good and as powerful and as much fun as HDR can be, there is a time and a place for HDR. Here's why: HDR can ruin the mood of a scene. And after all, the mood or feeling, is the most important part of an image.

I took the photograph that opens this post at Mt. Rainier last week. I could have used HDR to open up the shadows, but I feel as though the shadows create the mood of this peaceful and beautiful setting.

Shadows are the soul of a photograph.
Shadows add a sense of depth and dimension to a photograph.
Shadows can be your friend.

So embrace HDR technology, but always keep the mood of the image in mind - first and foremost.

I teach HDR on almost all of my workshops.

Explore the light,

P.S. I'll be talking more about the mood of a photograph in my creativeLive class in October. Register today for this free class.

Got a Mac? Get Ready for My iHDR App Mac Attack

What? Run an iPad App on Your Macintosh? Yes!

Well, sort of. You can't actually run an iPad app, like my iHDR iPad app, on a Mac, so Dr. Dave Wilson, the app developer, converted my iHDR iPad app - which is a how-to app and does not create HDR images -  into a true Macintosh application.

How cool is that!

It took many weeks of detailed, gut-wrenching, exhaustive work, sometimes without food or water (locked in a hatch*), but the results are awesome.

With this technology, you can download iHDR from the Mac App Store and run it on any Mac computer from MacBook Air to a giant Mac Pro.  Cost is $9.99.

You can only get the OSX app in the Mac App Store on your Mac. So be sure to open this App Store icon on your Mac.

You buy the iPad version of iHDR  in the iPhone/iPad App Store, or in iTunes. See link below.

Get the iPad edition, $4.99, from iTunes or your iPad App Store. Click here for more info and to order.

To see all my apps, click here.

If you like HDR photography, I join one of my workshops. We shoot and process HDR - even if you have a PC :-)

Explore the light,

* If you saw the TV series Lost, you got the "hatch" joke.

Friday's Fab Photographer: Morgana Creely

This week's Friday's Fab Photographer is Morgana Creely.

Thank you for this great opportunity. :)

This image was the most challenging to create in that I wanted the shot to look like it was lit entirely with the ambient light in the room and from the window. In fact it is a mixture of ambient and Speedlight [small flash].

The unmodified Speedlight was positioned fairly low to the ground, pointing from the right of room towards the model to mimic light from the window. This allowed me to light the model’s face [which otherwise would have been in darkness] without throwing additional shadows on the back wall.

One of my favourite images, this was shot very early one morning in a local cemetery. We had permission from the caretaker to shoot within the premises and in a location like this are always respectful of the location.

The model is lit by a single unmodified Speedlite which is placed on the outside of the fence railing to create the shadows.

The outfits for these shoots were sourced from my props wardrobe or the models with the exception of the colour “bus stop” outfit which was rented for less than $100.  Whilst I am very fortunate to have studio lights, when I’m on location I rely entirely on my Speedlights.

The old adage is true; it’s not what you got, it’s what you do with it.

A big thank you to Rick Sammon for the guest blog.



Sunrise Wonders and Wonderful Waterfalls in Mt. Rainier

Day one of the Mt.Rainier workshop that I am co-leading with DPE podcast co-host Juan Pons was spectacular. Here are a few of my shots - and a few tips.

Above: Expose for the highlights. Move the histogram to the right - but make sure you don't have spike on the right. Also, get up super early to capture the sunrise. You can rest when you are dead. :-)

Above: Use slow shutter speeds to blur moving water. Start with a 1 second exposure and then try 2, 3 and 4 second exposures.

Above: Compose with different lenses. Here I used a Canon 14mm lens on my Canon 5 D Mark II to capture an extremely wide-angle view of the this beautiful waterfall. The lens is actually "seeing" ahead and down at the same time.

Above: Look for texture. The moss surrounding this waterfall adds a nice texture to the flowing water.

Explore the light,

P.S. Want to have more fun with your photography? Come on one of my photo workshops.

My Latest Dumb Luck Shot

It's day 1 of the Mt. Rainier workshop that I am co-leading with my friend/DPE podcast co-host Juan Pons. 

After a fun pizza party with the group, we saw this amazing scene behind our hotel. 

We ran back to our rooms, grabbed our cameras and tripods and took a few quick shots. I used my Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 24-105mm IS lens for this capture.

Talk about dumb luck shots.

The color image is below. Because the scene was monochromatic, I played around with filters in Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro - and really liked the High Structure filter.

FYI: You can save 15% on Silver Efex Pro (and all Nik Plug-ins) if you use this code - RSAMMON - upon check-out on the Nik web site.

I hope you can join me on a workshop some day. We have lots of fun.

Explore the light,