Friday, August 7, 2009

Featuring: Barry Chignell from FreePhotoresources.com

Barry Chignell, founder of Freephotoresources.com has been doing a phenomenal job with his site since I have been following it. I can not remember how I managed to find his site just after he began posting on it, however I am glad that I did. And for a number of reasons to. Lately, I have noticed that Barry has been doing a little bit of HDR processing with his photography. In fact, the level of work that he has been putting out made me stop and think, he may have a few good points that the Lenshare readers might find interesting. I contacted Barry and asked him a few questions about HDR photography. Below is his response as well an image that he wanted to share on Lenshare. I am very pleased to be able to have Barry as a contributor and guest on Lenshare.

“I think that HDR is playing a positive part in photography as it offers a completely different technique and style that photographers can try.  It has also caused the production of software such as PhotoMatix and features to be added to photo editing software like Photoshop.  Until the introduction of software like Photoshop and Photomatix the photo equipment and software available was of a lower dynamic range than we see with our own eyes.  With these tools we can now truly portray the scene.
HDR's debated in most photography forums on the net.  Some people love it, some hate it with a passion, because it's one of those techniques that has a fine line between 'wow, that’s amazing' and 'you've butchered that photo'.  What a lot of these people don’t realize is that it is not the technique that they love or hate but the person that has created the photo and applied the effect. The great thing is that HDR is being discussed, I am not sure if any other photography technique causes so much conversation?
I became interested in HDR photography after seeing photos by the likes of Trey Ratcliff and Dave Hill. I love the way in which the technique allows you to capture every detail within a scene.  For some shots I apply a very subtle HDR 'effect' just to bring out highlights, lowlights or mid-tones and give the sky a bit more definition.  For other shots I may go for a stronger effect (such as the St Peter's Church shots) where the process compliments the colours and textures

Lilly pad HDR
The photo that I have chosen as one of my favourites and something I wanted to share is the LillyPad, I love this shot for it's simplicity, for this reason I was very careful with the processing and I am very happy with the result.”


"A great HDR shot is one that is balanced and sympathetic to the scene that it is capturing"

HDR photography is a topic that I tend to discuss quite a bit of on Lenshare. Even though the process has been around for a little while, it is still a big topic for discussion. Especially considering the photographers that Barry has mentioned have been constantly evolving and working progressively in new directions. We are still in the beginning stages of HDR photography. It is a process that can give a dramatic feel to an image and or scene.

Below are a few examples of HDR that I have made. Each photograph is a combination of 3-7 bracketed exposures. Each photograph has its own level of tone-mapping to enhance and bring out the brilliant-saturated colors that are visible.

Hdr images (27) Hdr images (29) 295 high in HDR resized

1 toned

The next few images represent how composing an image for HDR is a very selective process. Not everything will look good using the principals and processes of HDR. This is where you (the photographer) has to choose a composition that will look outstanding in HDR. It is very important that the choice of colors and composition are a major contributor in making your HDR images. Here is an example of a poor choice in making an HDR image.

HDR 3

This image is very muted in the colors or lack of color that is present. It takes on a semi-monotone quality while still retaining the full range of highlights, mid-tones, and shadows (the elements that make up an HDR image) This is a prime example of choice of colors and composition play a vital role in the end result.

The image below is what the composition looks as a single image. It is nearly a perfect exposure for a single non-HDR photograph. Here you can see the color/temperature of the light and how it affects the end result of the processed HDR image. It is also not just about the color of the lights and or temperature, time of day makes a difference. For example, if this photograph was shot at a different time of the day where the lights were not on and natural light filled the composition, the colors would be more vivid and brilliant. Factors like these are what you should be considering when you’re thinking about making HDR images.

DSC_0153

HDR is best known for producing  brilliant, very illuminated, sometimes over saturated, and vibrant colors. The best HDR images sometimes take on a surreal and almost painterly affect. As you can well see, the colors and temperature do not give this feel at all. HDR photography is still trying to make a name for itself. As Barry mentioned, it is a subject that generates a lot of discussions. Some positive, and some not so positive. Here at Lenshare we are supportive and feel that HDR is a very positive aspect of digital photography. It is something that we do not shoot or produce exclusively, as we find ourselves consumed by many different aspects of photography. In conclusion, HDR photography is a process and technique that requires a more conscious awareness when it comes to achieving the end result. Get out and shoot some HDR images and have fun. Email us here at lenshare if you would like your HDR images featured in an article.

1 comment:

FreePhotoResources said...

Hi Jeff,
Thanks for featuring my comments and photo. It's a great article!

Keep up the good work!

Barry