Lately I’m working not only on my actual camera ability, but also on better understanding the technology of processing images. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours in the DaVinci Machines Exhibit in Denver working on both composition and technical skills (shooting in lower light, for instance) and doing so with an eye toward how I’d be outputting the images later. Interesting results.
I bracketed everything I shot (three exposures: -3, 0 and +3) to enable composite High Dynamic Range processing. Here’s one series that emerged. This is obviously several different versions of the same raw shot. First, the basic image, fine tuned a bit in Photoshop.
Next I began playing in Photomatix. Here I began with one of the “Painterly” presets and worked the image back toward the raw one a little.
Here I used the much cooler (temperature-wise, not hip-wise) Creative preset as a starting point, again dialing it back a touch.
This time started with Creative again, but switched to the Surreal lighting settings and left more of the reds in. Cooler, very contrasty.
Finally, black and white.
I’m obviously having a lot of fun here, but I’m also climbing a damned-near vertical learning curve. In one sense, I’m developing some technical capability with my tools, but more importantly, these sorts of exercises are helping me explore who I want to be as a shooter. As a developing writer I had to find my voice, and that involved a lot of experimentation and even a good bit of imitation – I’d see something I liked, so I’d try and do it myself, along the way internalizing lessons and skills and over time making them my own. Tradition and the individual talent, as it were.
Let me know if you have a favorite here, if there are things that resonate for you, and of course, what you absolutely hate and hope I’ll never do again. I have a suspicion I know which ones people are going to dislike and why, and viewer reax are part of what I need to improve, so feel free to hammer away.