Amber is not only beautiful, playful, and creative, she also has a talented fashion designer to boot. Cheers!
Off To A Great Start…I Think
Have you ever jumped into a project nonchalantly, only to discover your little project has become a beast that will test your tenacity all the way to the bitter end? That’s when you know you’re off to a great start. Just a little over two weeks ago I started compiling images for a book project I’ve been meaning to get off the ground. I didn’t foresee how fast this small idea would gather momentum and get away from me. After a few days of hunting for the pin-up and boudoir sessions I wanted to showcase in the book and wrangling them all into a single location, I hunkered down to the task of refining the images for print, and possibly electronic distribution in the form of an Ebook. I haven’t figured out all the nuts and bolts for the latter just yet.
The real task is going to be the overall layout and design of the book, and figuring out which tools I can use to give it a nice clean and elegant feel. This project is still in it’s infancy, and it is taking on a life of it’s own quickly. I needed to take a break from processing, and organizing my images, so I figured I’d give you a sneak peak…or two.
Thank you for dropping by. While you’re here, take a moment or two to leave a comment, or share this post with your friends and family.
While processing some images I took earlier this week, and going through some of the bracket sets I captured for HDR purposes, a question popped into my head that made me stop and think, and then write…
How Much Of A Difference Is There Between A Three Frame and Five Frame HDR?
Well, naturally, that depends largely on what software you use to process your HDR images. For this exercise, I used Lightroom, HDR Efex Pro, and DFine2.0. I was curious to see the difference between a 3 shot, and 5 shot HDR image, and which one ‘looked’ better. So lets dig a little deeper into the workflow from capture to final image.
Capturing The Raw Data
Bay View Park on Coronado Island is where I captured the San Diego Skyline just after sunset, when the blues in the sky were at their peak. I set the camera to bracket at full stop increments, the three brackets were set to -2, -1, and 0. The five bracket set was -2, -1, 0, +1, and +2. At the time, I don’t know why I decided to do a 5 frame bracket, but I’m glad I did.
Cooling Off Period and Post Processing
Letting a full day’s worth of shooting cool down for about 48 hours is a recent addition to my workflow. This cooling off period lets my mind rest, and kind of marinate a bit on how I’ll process the images later. I’ve also found that when I go back to review the images, I’m much more efficient throughout the entire post processing session. I also try to remember to take breaks more often than I’ve done in the past. There aren’t any deadlines to worry about and taking a leisurely pace (for me) produces better results. The same is true while capturing images in camera also, slow down, compose, and shoot will often yield better images.
Once I got my images imported into Lightroom, I then exported the three image set into HDR Efex Pro, where I processed them to get the look and feel I wanted, then saved the settings so that I could apply the exact settings to the 5 image set. Once both sets were processed, I dragged them into Dfine 2.0 for noise reduction.
Comparing The Results
I did a side by side comparison, at first glance, they were pretty subtle. A closer look at the histograms gave a better indication of what was going on. The first thing I found was the blue channel in the three frame bracket shows a definitive spike compared to the five frame image. Overall, the profiles have fairly different characteristics. Histograms are one thing, but what do the final images look like side by side? I’m so glad you asked.
Below is a side by side screenshot of the two images, the three frame HDR is on the left, and the five frame HDR on the right. The darks are softer, and gentler in the five shot version, and the range of color gradation from the horizon to the sky is more appealing (to me anyhow).
This fun little experiment is not by any means a definitive answer to the question of how many frames should one use to create an HDR image. To answer that question, I’ll simply say take as many as you need to that make sense, and fit your own workflow. Whether you are using a single image, or a baker’s dozen, or more, it all comes down to the final image. Speaking of which, here is my final image for this post…enjoy.
What is your HDR workflow like? How many frames is too many? Feel free to comment and share your techniques.
Born October 8, 2012 at 10:20am, and weighing in at six pounds three ounces, Kaleb Keoni is already giving us a run for our money, luckily, he’s not camera shy. As I took the first shots of him, his frail voice echoed throughout the operating room, tears welled up in my eyes as I tried to focus. Kaleb is lucky to have five sisters, Khrystina, Karina, Kilyne, Kaetlyne, and Kayleigh, who all adore him to bits. Being the only boy is sure to bring new and exciting challenges raising him. Thankfully, all of his sisters are sure to steer him straight, teaching him the do’s and dont’s when it comes to things like treating girls right.
These are the first few images of him, and you could bet there will be a lot more. The added bonus is I can really sink my teeth into newborn and baby photography, and I’ll be able to expand my vision as his story unfolds through the lens.
While planning to visit my grandparents in Landers, California with my girlfriend Kim, and her two wonderful daughters Kilyne, and Kaetlyne, I was trying to figure out a way to fire up their imagination, and make the trip not too boring for them. Then that little light in my head came on, and dang near burst due to my sudden excitement.
While on the road, and still at least an hour away from Yucca Valley where we planned to stay for the night, I mentioned my plan to do some light painting to the ‘heathens’ as Kim would say. Not quite grasping the concept, or the technical mumbo jumbo to make it happened, Kim showed them a few pictures of what I was talking about. They responded with a tentative, but curious “Okay.”
Once we were all fed, and rested, we headed out to Landers to find a patch of desert and solitude so we could play around, and exercise that creative muscle encased in our skulls. My original plan was to drive out to Giant Rock Airport, but after seeing a few too many washed out dirt roads, I settled on a road near the Integratron. It was secluded enough, and late enough for us not to be disturbed.
I set the camera on a tripod, ran a couple test exposures, using the full moon as a back light, and did a quick demonstration to show what could be done with a little time and imagination with a flashlight. Seeing the results of the demo on the back of the camera was all it took to peak their curiosity. The next hour or so was spent creating a few dozen images, marveling at the results, and making a few tweaks here and there.
I like to think we all had a good time, and hope that maybe we can explore different paths of creativity from time to time in the future.
The Treasure Hunt – How It Started
When our family gets together, there is one activity that has become somewhat of a tradition over the years, especially when they take place out near Twenty-nine Palms where my grandparents live. It all started because when I was just a lad, I had a propensity for digging holes in the yard. These holes were big enough for me to jump into them armed with my repeating rubber band gun where I would lie in wait for an unsuspecting victim…usually my dog. I took this strange habit with me to the desert, where I had a ‘designated digging spot.’
On one occasion, I was happily digging away, when I “found” a crudely drawn out map on a piece of paper. The edges of the map were burned, no doubt to make it look authentic…to my surprise, I recognized it to be a treasure map. I studied the map, quickly found the ‘x’ and realized I was already digging in the correct spot. Excited, I showed my dad what I found, and he calmly instructed that I should dig deeper. After what seemed like forever, I finally hit something hard. Clearing the sand away, I found a container the size of a shoebox wrapped in duct tape. With my dad’s help, we opened the box, I spilled the contents onto a table. There was about $20 in change before me, no small sum for a 7 or 8 year old.
Years later, we passed on the treasure hunt experience to my oldest daughters, then about 4 and 5 years old. We had more sophisticated maps and drawings, and treasure to match their particular tastes. They loved treasure hunting so much, we did several more throughout their younger years.
Fast Forward to Present Day
My niece, Jadyn is about 2 1/2 years old, and it was her turn last week-end to take center stage, with a map and shovel in hand. Of course, being such a young treasure hunter, she had ample help from her grandma, the ‘pirate’ that hide the treasure for this get together. She is beautiful, and too smart for her mom’s own good. This pictorial is of the latest chapter in this family tradition. It never fails to bring us together, and sharing the excitement, joy, and laughter with Jadyn was a treasure in and of itself.