Tag Archives: HDR

Snowmass Village Ski Resort

Snowmass Village

Sometimes, the best images are right under your nose. While visiting Snowmass Village, Colorado recently, I was anxiously anticipating getting out on the mountain for my first day of skiing this year. But, on a whim, I grabbed my camera and headed out on the balcony in the blue hour after sunset, and this is what I saw. A beautiful sunset, and the warmth of Snowmass Village radiating against the cold of the surrounding peaks.

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Photographic Banquet

Last Friday evening, Carol and I joined my granddaughter Ava at her school for “Trunk or Treat,” a pre-Halloween event in which the kids got to do a little trick-or-treating in the school parking lot, where a great number of parents had parked their decorated cars, trucks and other vehicles. Candy was available for the kids, but for me, the decorated trunks of the cars were the points of interest.

There were some creative panoramas set up, and since everything was small scale, trunk-sized if you will, it made for a veritable smorgasbord of photo opportunities. As we made our way around the circuit of cars, I had the camera out and snapped a bunch of photos of the decorations – close up. By getting in close, and taking the displays out of the context of the parking lot, I captured some interesting shots.

Here’s one that captures the “spirit” of the season.


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Drive-In Nightmares

Drive-In Horrors

Yesterday early, +Michael White and I headed to what we thought was an abandoned drive-in theater for some blue-hour pre-dawn shots. What we found was a moderate sized crowd of people setting up for a flea market!

The blue hour sky was compelling, however, and we both managed to get some pretty interesting shots. My photo of the large screen framed against the coming sunrise seemed to be lacking, though. Given the people milling around in the viewing area, the blank screen wasn’t doing it for me. So, I added a late-night thriller to the screen! Now, the patrons might be thinking, “where’s that flashlight? Keep the windows rolled up!” 🙂

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Taking your HDR Work Beyond the Ordinary

In a series of posts originally published on TipSquirrel, I presented the following series of videos covering a comprehensive approach to HDR processing. I’ve tried to steer away from HDR as an end in itself; instead, I look at HDR and tonemapping as just another tool in the toolbox.

These tutorials don’t cover how to capture an image in HDR – the bracketing process and the merging in the HDR software is well covered elsewhere. I’ve focused more on the overall thought process, and attention to details that get overlooked when you tonemap your images.

The process begins with the raw images, preparing them for the best possible results in the merge process. And, the process continues after the tonemapping – again, the HDR/tonemapping process is just a step on the way to taking your images beyond the ordinary. Enjoy!


Part 1 – What happens before the HDR merging starts

HDR – Beyond The Ordinary (Pt. 1) from Mike Hoffman on Vimeo.

Part 2 – What happens after the HDR merging is over – you’re not done yet.

HDR – Beyond The Ordinary (Pt. 2) from Mike Hoffman on Vimeo.

Part 3 – Post-processing and cleaning up your images is a major part of making the results extraordinary.

HDR – Beyond The Ordinary (Pt. 3) from Mike Hoffman on Vimeo.


Thanks, and I hope you find these tutorials useful!

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Extreme Camera Technology

Over the past few days, I’ve noticed some rather extreme photographic technologies brought to light. Will we ever see these in our own camera bags? Probably not (except maybe in the last example), but it’s fun to dream:

Highly porous carbon nanotube batteries that store five times as much energy as capacitors, and deliver their power up to 10 times as rapidly as lithium ion batteries. I’d love to have some of these for my SpeedLites! (via Slashdot)

Canon 5200mm (yes, 5200!) F14 EF Prime lens. From a Canon Flyer:
"This is the only ultra-telephoto lens in the world capable of taking photographs of objects 18 to 32 miles away (30km to 52kms away). Having a focal length of 5200mm, Canon Mirror Lens 5200mm can obtain one hundred times as large an object image as that of a 50mm lens."

Canon patent application for in-camera HDR. Done right, this could open a whole new door in photographic capture, saving a whole lot of time in “merge to HDR.” Some cameras boast in-camera HDR, but if this ever becomes a reality, that’s one camera I’d love to have!

Now, if they could bundle all that technology into my smartphone, I’d be good to go!

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Tarpon Springs – An HDR Adventure

I’ve been wanting to get back to Tarpon Springs for quite some time now… it has been several years since my last visit. It isn’t all that far away, but with traffic it amounts to a good hour’s drive. Finally, last weekend, Carol & I decided to make the run up there. We would have dinner, and walk the Sponge Docks, allowing my to take lots of pictures in the golden hour before sunset!

Nature didn’t cooperate, however; as we drove north we could see the clouds rolling in, east to west, and before we got there the entire sky was a gloomy grey. Rain was threatening, and sure enough, just as we arrived, the drizzle began. But an hour’s drive is an investment, and we decided to go ahead and have dinner anyway, and see what we could find worth photographing.


Being indoors, in the scenic Greek restaurant (The Parthenon, 751 Dodecanese Blvd; excellent food!), gave me a chance to try some high ISO images with my new Canon 7D. At ISO 12800, the images came out a bit on the noisy side, but Photoshop CS5’s Camera Raw features made quick work of it.

But the best was yet to come…

Continue reading »

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