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PhotoWalk 2 - Gosport Sea-Shore- 24rd April 2008

This Is Better - A Lot More Usable Images, And Better Descriptions!

Photowalk2Welcome to my second Photowalk Article - where you can download a file containing the path I took and the images I shot - and then read about how I edited some of them, examining before and after shots.

Ok, you'll need to make sure you've got a copy of Google Earth installed (its free), then just download my kmz track file Photowalk - and once downloaded it should open automatically in Google Earth. I find its best to switch to Full Screen mode so you don't have to scroll around the images. In the Google Earth, click "View" at the top of the screen, then "Full Screen".

I really enjoyed this walk - the tide was out so I could stroll along the edge of the harbor and get some interesting shots of the various debris and flotsam lying about. This area is the back of Portsmouth Harbour, so it doesn't see the big waves of the open sea, so there's lots of "rubbish" washed up all over the place.

The sky was not too bad too - it was lunchtime, so it was too bright for really nice shots, but with the help of an ND Grad Cokin A filter and a Polariser I think some of the skies look quite nice.

I was a bit naughty and didn't use my tripod as much as I should have. I tend to rush around a bit too much, so I've got to force myself to slow down, frame the shot, set up the tripod and shoot. That way my images will be a lot sharper.

I HDR's a few of the shots, but I try to keep them quite natural looking, mainly to bring out detail or allow for the different exposures between the land and sky. Lets have a look at a few shots.

Hanging Around
Hanging Around

 

Update: Below Is My First Attempt At A Screencast....

 

I'm not sure if this is an interesting shot or just a technical exercise in creating a short depth of field. I saw this rope hanging from a dead tree,opened up to f3.5 (the max on my camera) went to macro mode, zoomed in a little, lined the rope up along a rule of thirds line, moved to avoid the edge of the trees creeping into the frame, and shot. The area of blown-out highlights right by the knot is distracting, I should have taken another step to the right to avoid this.

Post processing in Photoshop started with a little more contrast and sorting out the white balance, pumping the colours with a lab application, using a high pass sharpening layer just on the rope, then adding an off-center vignette to focus attention on the rope and add a bit of atmosphere.

Corkscrew Tree
Corkscrew Tree
The Evil, Twisted, Wicked Corkscrew Tree

As you can see, this is a HDR shot worked from 3 images using Photomatix and Tone Mapping. I decided to do this so I could bring out the detail in the bark of the trunk, yet prevent the rest of the picture becoming too overexposed. It would have been nice to get one more shot where the detail in the sky could have been pulled out, but I was shooting handheld, and my S5700 only auto-bracketed + - 1 ev, so I was stuck with them.

After bringing the photo into Photoshop I wanted to make the picture look sinister, so I increased the contrast, de saturated the colour, and lighted the bright parts of the trunk. I added a vignette with Flaming Pears Melancholytron, but in hindsight I chose a setting that was too weak - it needed more atmosphere.

Trees vs Barbed Wire
Trees vs Barbed Wire
Barbed Wire vs Trees

In this last picture we'll be looking at I've done something different. The "before" picture, the higher one, is not the original I took from the camera, but rather a composite of two, blended in Photoshop using conventional masks and adjustment layers. The bottom image is a HDR, made up from 3 images.

Comparing these two images really makes me think about what HDR can bring to the table, and what it takes away. The HDR image has tons of detail, is sharper, the sky is more dramatic, there's more to see, but it's just not as natural.

Which is the better photo? If I spent more time with the top image to increase the sharpness ( or had used a tripod) then it would compare - but there's something about the HDR that still intrigues me.

I think HDR are a great option for those of us with cheaper cameras shooting at less than a perfect time of day - what do you think?

See you on Flickr!

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