Above the Pave

Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Fall, Flora, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Light Intensity, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Sunset
La Crete - The Pave

La Crete – The Pave

Twin Lakes - Slough

Twin Lakes – Slough

The week has presented opportunity to work with Adobe Photoshop CS6 with High Dynamic Range (HDR) images – side-lit clouds in sunset’s golden hour present colour, light and shadow in interesting ways; I’m re-editing two sets of bracketed images for High Dynamic Range work. ‘The Pave’ is a term used by La Crete Mennonites to refer to a seven mile stretch of narrow-shouldered highway that becomes the last portion of road in my October drive from High Level to La Crete. In this image clouds billow in a rhythm, catching colour above ‘the pave’ moments before the sun descends below the horizon. The work in this photo was that of tearing myself away from the impending meeting to capture this colourful image … I would be late. The second image was part of a return drive from Grande Prairie from this past fall, undulating clouds reflected within slough water. In both, I’ve been working with Adobe Bridge and then with the automated function in Adobe Photoshop CS6 to merge bracketed photos into a single HDR image.

I have also been exploring the messages of authors, Courtney Martin (her book, ‘Do It Anyway’) and Parker J. Palmer (his book, ‘The Courage To Teach’), this week. Courtney’s book looks at core elements of resilience and advocacy … sort of ‘The Freedom Writers’ meets the real world in extraordinary and exemplary ways. Parker’s book considers teaching from many facets, one being the inner teacher within the student that the teacher needs to connect with in order to bring about learning. The book is crammed with teaching truth. I am about half-way through and will be moving through it a second time.

Listening to – Dan Mangan & Jesse Zubot’s ‘Cumulonimbus (Newport, ’63),’ Nick Laird-Clowes’ ‘Golborne Road’ and Arvo Part’s ‘Speigel im Spiegel.’

Quote to Inspire – ‘Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.’ – Matt Hardy

HDR – Image Subjects, Revisited

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 50mm Lens, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Journaling, Light Intensity, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Prime Lens, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Sigma Lens - Wide Angle 10-20mm, Spring, Still Life
HDR - 1947 Ford One Tonne Tow Truck, McLure, British Columbia

HDR – 1947 Ford One Tonne Tow Truck, McLure, British Columbia

HDR - North of 60 Bus Shelter Seats, Valleyview, Alberta

HDR – North of 60 Bus Shelter Seats, Valleyview, Alberta

I have had a go at creating two High Dynamic Range (HDR) images in the last while. In landscape images my practice is to shoot with Automatic Exposure Bracketing (creating 3 images in succession -1, 0 & +1) and explore how the images will turn out in HDR. The images are of subjects I have shot before; but, they are not the original image shots included in previous posts. They are ‘also-ran’ images of the 1947 Ford One-tonne Tow Truck from McLure, British Columbia and the ‘would-be’ bus shelter seat, North of 60 style. In both the detail, lines and range of light are enhanced (or at least different).

Listening to – today it’s been the conclusion of Ken Follett’s ‘Pillars of the Earth’ on the long drive home from Edmonton to High Level. The narrative provides glimpse of Monarchy, Ecclesiastical ambition and all that was behind building cathedrals and parishes; the story moves from Life at the local/village level all the way to Thomas Beckett and King Henry and those who contested the throne.

Quote to Inspire – “Vision is that original spark that was ignited within you and made you pick up a camera to capture whatever it is you saw, that made you turn to shout “Did you see that!” only to find no one there–so you created an image to do the telling.” ― David duChemin, Vision & Voice: Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

HDR – Details, Paint & Upholstery

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Podcast, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Shuttertime with Sid and Mac, Still Life, Summer, Vehicle, Vehicle Restoration, Weather
Chevrolet Grain Truck - Edmonton, Alberta

Chevrolet Grain Truck – Edmonton, Alberta

The late forties-early fifties Chevrolet half-tonne grain truck is subject for this image and with Automatic Exposure Bracketing moving toward a final image becomes an exercise in creating a high dynamic range (HDR) shot. For me, unless shooting people within an event, my practice in creating most photos is to work with a tripod in manual (M) mode and to set the camera for the three settings of Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) – the regular or average exposure, an exposure a stop down (a darker, low key exposure) and an exposure a stop above average (a lighter, high key exposure).

Focus counts – the manual focus on my Canon EOS 60D allows me to focus upon that part of the image needing clarity, but it does so allowing me to focus upon that portion of the subject in three magnifications using the display on the back of the camera: first, what I would see through the viewfinder – normal magnification, next at 10 x optical zoom and then at 15 x optical zoom. Each level of displayed magnification allows me to adjust focus with greater and greater and greater precision. Stability also counts in focusing on the subject; the camera fixed to a tripod ensures that the camera does not move and that resulting images are tack sharp, free from blur.

Creating the exposure, creates not one, but, the three AEB exposures in succession ( – , 0 , + ) when the shutter button is pressed. After the exposures are brought into Adobe Lightroom, I am able to use HDR Efex to combine the three exposures into one image that allows the combined exposure to become an image accommodating greater range of light – more similar to what the human eye can see. I like the way Photomatix does HDR; but, NiK Software’s HDR Efex is a more stable and flexible program.

So, today’s image is an HDR shot. In the next few days my intention will be to try an HDR image that combines a larger number of exposures and to see what happens along the way. I’m reminded that the Shutter Time with Sid and Mac podcast has a couple of excellent pointers for HDR shots (somewhere between episodes 15 and 23). Mac and his wife Kasia would most likely have me using HDR for shots combining landscape, cloud-work and sunsets/sunrises. As well, Trey Ratcliff is the photographer who seems to have done most with HDR or at least has written most substantially (perhaps most helpfully) about HDR; two weeks ago he was in Vancouver and aiming to take on someone as protégé for an evening photographing the city, the water, the landscape and the sky from the top of a well-situated, tall skyscraper. It would definitely have been fun to hang out together for an evening creating HDR images – watch out for him on Twitter at @TreyRatcliff .

Listening to – Peter Himmelmann’s ‘Mission of My Soul.’

Quotes to Inspire – (1) “[…] That’s what HDR does. It adds details, paint, and upholstery to the Photograph. It’s still a photograph, but now enhanced [….] — GusDoeMatik (2) “To me, it is better to “guess” at how something works, experiment, fail, guess again, fail, and keep repeating that process over and over again until you either figure it out or you discover a multiplicity of other cool tricks along the way.” ― Trey Ratcliff

Painterly Farm Shed – Canada’s

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Farm, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Light Intensity, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Winter

Canada Flag - Shed

On the drive northward to Peace River from Edmonton, a few kilometres past the turnoff east to MacLennan and High Prairie you’ll find these grain bins and shed on the west side of the road, something unexpected, something to cause you to look into your surroundings, something that could perhaps have been a Canada day project – painting a farm shed with the Canadian flag … for all to see. The shed and grain bins serve as landmark along this road, visually positioning people who travel on it in terms of hours north towards Peace River and minutes before you’ll reach the valley of the Little Smoky River as you head south toward Valleyview.

This image is a High Dynamic Range (HDR) shot created using the camera’s Automatic Exposure Bracketing to fuse three exposures (one darker, one average and one lighter image) of the same shot together into a single image; the intent in creating the shot is to produce greater accuracy and to expose a broader range of what the eye sees naturally in terms of light and shadow. The image is toned mapped, yielding a moody, painterly feel to its rendering. Beyond this, the image seems to emphasize true geometric angles and does not really show much for backdrop but the sky  … it sort of seems like you’re on top of the world … but that’s a few miles north, up where I live.

Listening to – Coming Down from Martyn Joseph’s Vegas album; there’s been U2’s Fez – Being Born and David Gray’s We’re Not Right from the White Ladder album.  Then it’s been Minor Swing from the Chocolat soundtrack.

Quotes to Inspire – (1) “I can look at a fine art photograph and sometimes I can hear music.” – Ansel Adams.  (2) “When people ask what equipment I use – I tell them, my eyes.” – Anonymous.

Sifting Photographs and A Drizzled Day

Canon 30D, Canon Camera, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, Weather

Plymouth Savoy - McNaught Homestead

I’m sifting photographs on my computer, tonight, aiming to locate photographs taken of the road among mountains between Grande Prairie and Banff, Alberta, a trip taken this fall in early October. To refer to them will allow future planning of High Dynamic Range (HDR) shots; but, photographs have been shifted between my C: drive and L: drive within the past three months and am having no luck, tonight. Sifting at a later date will yield them.

A photograph has caught my eye, a reward for my look-back – a photo of an early fifties Plymouth Savoy dragged into the woods behind the McNaught homestead, home to Alberta artist, Euphemia McNaught. She’s had some intention in dragging the vehicle to where it sits among Aspen willows spaced with what appears to be regular rhythm as you look across the car from front to back and diagonally from driver’s side to passenger rear. This back drop changes in colour with the seasons – whites and blacks in winter, greens in summer and the reds of leaves in fall.

Those who discover and view the vehicle orient themselves to still life juxtaposition, a car oxidizes among the regular cycle of life and death of plants and greenery; the scene is a treasure in terms of colour, shape, context, season, light and themes of still life. The day amidst its drizzle did get cold but not before two hours had gone by looking through my camera lens at the car, its situation and the play of light.

Listening to U2’s One, tonight from the U218 Singles album.

Quote to Inspire – “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” ~ Ansel Adams.