Tag Archives: HDR

Hiking in the Dolomites, Part 3

The next day, we took the bus to the end of the road, and went for an approximately 7-mile hike near Santa Magdalena at around 2000 meters elevation.  Here’s the trail we took, hiking from east to west:

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As I mentioned in my last post, the weather turned overcast with a low ceiling, and a nearly constant threat of rain.  The good news is that it didn’t actually rain much—a couple of passing showers that lasted only minutes.  The bad news is that we had to imagine what the scenery looked like:

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(Click on any image to enlarge.)

Once again, I turned to my infrared Nikon D300 to find elements of drama in the larger scene.  On this trip, I used the versatile Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens for all of my infrared photos.  This shot is using a focal length of 65mm (35mm equivalent of 100mm) at f/5.

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Another approach to photographing with uncooperative weather is to focus on details, such as this flower.

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I believe this is a Phyteuma orbiculare.
Common name: Round-headed Rampion

The weather improved marginally as we neared the end of our hike, descending to Santa Magdalena to catch the bus back to the hotel.  The mountains were still in the clouds, but we could at least appreciate more of the scenery.

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The next day, we hiked again for about five miles in the same area, heading more east:

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The weather was slightly improved from the day before—the ceiling had lifted ever so slightly, and we saw some blue sky as the day progressed.

Here’s my favorite infrared photo from the day, with the brooding clouds hanging just at the top of the peaks.

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As long as the sky was cloudy, we could switch our focus to scenes that don’t include it.  I photographed these waterfalls with a 1/3 second exposure at f/22.

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The photo below is a 1/10 second exposure, also at f/22.

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If you haven’t figured it out by now, one of the themes of this week was to find different ways to photograph something interesting while having challenging weather conditions.  This led us to time-lapse photography.

Here’s a very short video of sixty time-lapse frames.  Each frame was taken 3 seconds apart, and the video below speeds it up by 36x.  I’ll have a few more examples like this in later blog posts.

Next up, an afternoon in Ortisei, on our way up to our first mountain hut, the Rifugio Resciesa.

Hunt’s Mesa, and back to Monument Valley for a Lunar Eclipse

Monday morning, we awoke at 5:30 AM to subdued winds and temperatures in the high 30’s.  It wasn’t calm, but it was less windy than the evening before.  The sky was almost clear.  We drove about 2/3 of a mile east of our campsite for a good view.

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(Click to enlarge.)

The image above and the next image are (lightly processed) HDR images, where I combined a couple of different exposures to get a little more highlight and shadow detail.  In the image below, you can see the formation called the Totem Pole on the right center of the frame.  It’s about 420 feet tall.

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In the next image below, I’ve highlighted the view back towards The View hotel.  This was taken with my Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 lens at 200mm.

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Here’s the shot in Photo Transit, which says that the hotel is about 6.7 miles away, with Utah in the distance beyond.

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As the sun rose higher in the sky, we packed up our photo gear and drove back to our campsite for breakfast, then packed up the camp for the long drive back to Monument Valley.  We enjoyed hot showers and a nap when we got back to the hotel.

Early Tuesday morning was another event we were looking forward to: a full lunar eclipse.  I thought about going out late to do some light painting, but couldn’t really scout out a good location for it.  (I learned light painting technique from Michael Frye in Yosemite.  He wrote a blog post about his eclipse photography.)  I ended up staying at my hotel and shooting from the balcony.

First, a shot of the full moon rising beyond Merrick Butte.

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I also tried a 10-second exposure at ISO 6400 to try to capture the Mittens with the stars.  There’s a little too much light pollution for this to be effective.

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I didn’t bring my big lens on this trip; the longest I had was a 200mm.  Still, I did manage to capture this image of the “blood moon” during the eclipse.  Mars is to the lower right of the moon.

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The landscape lost light as more of the moon was obscured, so I decided to try to capture a video of the stars in motion.  Each of these images was a 5-second exposure at ISO 6400, and they were made about 20 seconds apart.  For best viewing, watch it on YouTube in full screen with the highest (1080p) resolution.

Stars

I have to admit I just started the intervalometer with the camera on a tripod and went back to bed for a while.  In the video, you’ll notice a couple of airplanes fly by.  I was lucky enough to have a meteor show up in one of the frames, seen below.

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The next day, we traveled to Canyon de Chelly.  More on that in the next blog post.

Hawaii, Day Three

We had a tough day today.  The weather didn’t cooperate; only a bit of rain, but a lot of clouds that socked in some of the canyons all day.

Today’s word is “wonder”, which is what you feel all along a hike we did to the top of Waipo’o Falls, in Waimea Canyon.  The canyon is up to 3000 feet deep in places.

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This is an HDR (high dynamic range) image, created from three exposures with a one stop difference between each.

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Christmas at San Xavier del Bac

While in Tucson last week, I visited Mission San Xavier del Bac, south of the city.  The beautiful church was decorated for Christmas.

This was another challenging exposure, so I took three different exposures and combined them into a single high dynamic range (HDR) photograph.  (Click to enlarge.)

Interior of San Xavier del Bac Mission

Devil’s Bridge, Sedona

While traveling last week, I consulted Volume 2 (Arizona) of Laurent Martrès’ book series, Photographing the Southwest.

As their name implies, the books describe a variety of locations for photography in the southwest, including directions and good times of day to photograph.  I’ve learned of places I probably never would have found on my own.

One place recommended by the book was Devil’s Bridge, a stone arch in the Coconino National Forest, near Sedona.  I drove a mile and a half down a rough 4WD road, and then hiked about one mile to get to the arch.  (I wasn’t going to let my injured leg dissuade me.)

When I arrived at the arch, it was still in morning shadow, but the rest of the valley was in full sun.  There was too much contrast to render the scene with a single image in my camera.  So, I tried my hand at some high-dynamic range (HDR) photography.  I’ve tried HDR in the past, without much success.  But I recently met Trey Ratcliff, an HDR expert and author of the blog http://www.stuckincustoms.com/.  I decided to try again.

So here’s a merged set of three different exposures of Devil’s Bridge.  (Click the image to enlarge.)

Devil's Bridge

I plan to post a couple more HDR photos in the next few days.