To be honest, I thought I’d be done organizing the photos from the Utah trip by now, and ready to post the winners. I’ve come to find out, that when you take a trip like this where you have a stunning natural subject and you are often shooting at the Golden Hours, you suddenly get much more picky with what photos you choose and what ones you decide to put effort into.
One of the reasons this is taking so long (outside of the fact that the weather is nice here this weekend and I prefer to be out and about), is that many of the photos I took were bracketed for HDR. For those of you that don’t know, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range photography. In a nutshell, you take a “bracket” or series of photos across a large dynamic range, and merge those photos to get a finished product that shows greater range from shadows through highlights than you’d get in one exposure. Yes, your iPhone has HDR built into it, but it of course doesn’t give you control and does this “automagically”. The common thing to do is to take the metered exposure, and then take either 2 more photos at +/2 stops, or 4 more photos at +/- 1 stop. With my Nikon D800, I’m relegated to having to take 5 photos at a 1 stop difference (which I don’t get why it doesn’t allow 3 exposures at +/- 2 stops). Having 5 exposures ends up taking a long time to process as my computer has to merge, align, and tone map these files, each of them being 40MB in size. The resulting file is rather huge – In using Nik Software HDR Efex Pro, they tend to be around 220 MB. That’s a massive file!!
Anyway, the short story is I have a lot more processing to do. I am going to try and get some done tomorrow morning, but that depends on me getting up early and I’m not so sure that’s going to happen!
Attached here is an HDR of The Needles section of Canyonlands, around the Horse Hoof area. The light wasn’t particularly good yet (this was about an hour before sunset), but the clouds were great. I’m still working on exactly what my “HDR style” is. There is a lot of debate in landscape photography about HDR, where some people go for the pure natural look and some go for the loud (and what I feel is obnoxious) look. I’d put this somewhere in the middle – The clouds are a bit exaggerated here, but I kind of like it so I ran with it. By the way, if you want to check out some excellent HDR photography from a pro, check out Trey Ratcliff’s site at http://www.stuckincustoms.com