Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tech Talk Tuesday - Photo Art Using HDR

Preacher at Calico Ghost Town
(walking out of the saloon!)

Last week in Tech Talk Tuesday, (click HERE), I did a review of HDR programs and I hope what you got out of that post is that with the programs now available, anyone can produce interesting, fun and/or realistic photos and art with very little time and a short learning curve.  This week I thought I'd show you one of the ways I often use HDR.

We just got back from another quick trip to California, (my last few images were pre posted before I left), and we stopped at Calico Ghost Town, (a tourist trap), on the way.  We were sitting on a bench and this character walked out of the 'saloon', and turned around to talk to us.  My camera was in my hands, (of course), and set to bracket 3 shots at different exposures, and my 2 second timer was on.  I had no time to fiddle with any other type of settings.  In about 2 seconds I asked him if I could snap his picture.  He said yes, and with one click of the shutter button I had my three images.   (I braced my arm as best as I could to avoid movement, because I didn't have my tripod with me and I was sitting down.)

The above photo is what  I ended up with after about 5 minutes on the computer.  Here's what I did:  I exported the three images into EFex HDR Pro (which I still have in 'trial' form).  It is so fun seeing what all the presets do that I quickly tried different effects on the image.  I came across one that I think was called "Granny's Attic" which gave this old west look to it.  I knew I wanted this type of look and I usually use a Photoshop action to produce something similar, but this preset did almost the same thing.  I then fiddled with some of the sliders to add clarity and a bit more definition to make his weathered face stand out, and that was it.  Then I imported the image into Photoshop and used an action to  sharpen his eyes.  The last (and trickiest) thing I did was remove his name tag.  That all took about 5 minutes, and I like the end result.  To me it is much more fun and interesting than any of the originals.  Below are my three SOOTC shots.   What do you think?