What To Do With Mid Afternoon Light?

What do you do with mid afternoon light that is just very uninteresting and a bit boring? Why, make an HDR out of it of course!

I took this photo during lunch today. Just to get out and make some photographs.

Drainage DitchIt’s a bit boring but I still liked it. It makes sense to me what it is but it’s really not all that interesting. So, I exported 3 versions of the image at and exposure of -2, 0 and +2 and created an HDR from that.

Drainage Ditch - HDRMuch better! Interesting color and detail. There we go. Mid day lighting issue solved.

Chris.

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What To Do With Mid Afternoon Light?

What do you do with mid afternoon light that is just very uninteresting and a bit boring? Why, make an HDR out of it of course!

I took this photo during lunch today. Just to get out and make some photographs.

Drainage DitchIt’s a bit boring but I still liked it. It makes sense to me what it is but it’s really not all that interesting. So, I exported 3 versions of the image at and exposure of -2, 0 and +2 and created an HDR from that.

Drainage Ditch - HDRMuch better! Interesting color and detail. There we go. Mid day lighting issue solved.

Chris.

How To Photograph Your Own Kids.

Sounds simple enough. They are my kids, they will do what I say right. Well every parent know just how wrong that is. Oh, how wrong. It’s a rare child who will do what the parent asks without a fight. They just have such a mind of their own. Especially when the get to be 4 years old and older. Forget about it.

So what are we to do? There are many different things you can do I suppose but here is my approach. I just let them do what they are going to do. They are happier, I’m less stressed out and usually I get photos that are much better than I had planned on.

Now, that said, I’m pretty lucky. My kids have had a camera in their faces since the day they were born. They are used to me and my cameras. My daughter is destined to be a model I’m sure. She loves to pose. But, if they are not in the mood for my antics they will not cooperate at all.

Here’s some of the attitude I get…..

338.365 Barely A SmileWont even look at me. Barely a smile.

291.365 Are You Gone Yet?The ‘are you gone yet’ look. Although it was cute. Still it took 5 minutes for her to look my way.

Now, once I decided to stop directing them my photos of them got better. No forced smiles, no stiff posture, just a much more relaxed look and feel to them.

57.365 Out In The YardAll I said to him here was ‘Hey look at me’ then he turned to me and gave me such a nice natural smile.

Here Come The Freckles.For this one we were outside doing homework with my son. He was reading to us. I had my camera up and she just looked at me with such a happy smile. Snap, there it is.

Quite often, I just follow them around when they are playing. I get some great candid stuff when they are just being themselves. I much prefer to see photos of kids as they are. Not sitting at Sears or Walmart. Those are not my kids, those are the ones who are mad at us and have decided not to cooperate. Here are some following around candid shots…

156.365 Assembly
Setting up his Hotwheels track not paying any attention to me at all.

04222011 _MG_1586 50D
On the swing. Saw me at the last second.

Desert Mountians
Climbing a boulder in the desert mountains of southern California. I was waiting for him when he looked up to see where I was.

That’s my approach to taking photos of my kids. Simple. Just be where they are and keep the camera up and ready to go all the time! But keep in mind, sometimes it’s nice to just sit and be with your kids. If you are addicted to photography as I am this will be tough.

Chris.

How To Photograph Your Own Kids.

Sounds simple enough. They are my kids, they will do what I say right. Well every parent know just how wrong that is. Oh, how wrong. It’s a rare child who will do what the parent asks without a fight. They just have such a mind of their own. Especially when the get to be 4 years old and older. Forget about it.

So what are we to do? There are many different things you can do I suppose but here is my approach. I just let them do what they are going to do. They are happier, I’m less stressed out and usually I get photos that are much better than I had planned on.

Now, that said, I’m pretty lucky. My kids have had a camera in their faces since the day they were born. They are used to me and my cameras. My daughter is destined to be a model I’m sure. She loves to pose. But, if they are not in the mood for my antics they will not cooperate at all.

Here’s some of the attitude I get…..

338.365 Barely A SmileWont even look at me. Barely a smile.

291.365 Are You Gone Yet?The ‘are you gone yet’ look. Although it was cute. Still it took 5 minutes for her to look my way.

Now, once I decided to stop directing them my photos of them got better. No forced smiles, no stiff posture, just a much more relaxed look and feel to them.

57.365 Out In The YardAll I said to him here was ‘Hey look at me’ then he turned to me and gave me such a nice natural smile.

Here Come The Freckles.For this one we were outside doing homework with my son. He was reading to us. I had my camera up and she just looked at me with such a happy smile. Snap, there it is.

Quite often, I just follow them around when they are playing. I get some great candid stuff when they are just being themselves. I much prefer to see photos of kids as they are. Not sitting at Sears or Walmart. Those are not my kids, those are the ones who are mad at us and have decided not to cooperate. Here are some following around candid shots…

156.365 Assembly
Setting up his Hotwheels track not paying any attention to me at all.

04222011 _MG_1586 50D
On the swing. Saw me at the last second.

Desert Mountians
Climbing a boulder in the desert mountains of southern California. I was waiting for him when he looked up to see where I was.

That’s my approach to taking photos of my kids. Simple. Just be where they are and keep the camera up and ready to go all the time! But keep in mind, sometimes it’s nice to just sit and be with your kids. If you are addicted to photography as I am this will be tough.

Chris.

Should You Purchase That Gear Or Travel To That Place?

I’ve been thinking about gear and travel lately and exactly what I need/want.

There is a pile of gear that I want…..really want. Like the new Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II. Oh man, would I like that. But it’s expensive. The last price I saw here in Edmonton was $2600.00CA. That would pay for my family’s return flight to California! Add to that the price of the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS at $1500.00CA and that pays for our hotel rooms. And the Canon 1D Mark IV at $5100.00CA, well that purchase alone would pay for the whole trip.

What is more important a couple of lenses that will still be available when my kids are older, or that family vacation while the kids still want to do those kinds of things? Sorry gear heads, I must go with the family vacation. The gear I have is more than enough. A Canon 50D, the Nifty Fifty and a Tamron 18-270mm are perfect for any photography I plan to do for the near future. My kids will only be kids for a short time.

It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about this the last few days and today I read a post from the Digital Photography School about this very thing. It’s entitled Buy Less Gear: Travel and Experience More. Funny how karma works isn’t it. Photography isn’t about gear it’s about vision. Sure the gear is part of it but seeing the light and visualizing the photograph you want to make is much more important that the gear. Knowing your existing gear inside and out and knowing the basic techniques of photography will go a lot farther by far than any new camera body and lenses will ever take you.

Sorry Canon, I won’t be getting those 2 lenses or the 1D Mark IV just yet but one day I just may. Of course if you would like to donate them too me I would do my best to use them to their full potential. 🙂

Chris.

Should You Purchase That Gear Or Travel To That Place?

I’ve been thinking about gear and travel lately and exactly what I need/want.

There is a pile of gear that I want…..really want. Like the new Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II. Oh man, would I like that. But it’s expensive. The last price I saw here in Edmonton was $2600.00CA. That would pay for my family’s return flight to California! Add to that the price of the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS at $1500.00CA and that pays for our hotel rooms. And the Canon 1D Mark IV at $5100.00CA, well that purchase alone would pay for the whole trip.

What is more important a couple of lenses that will still be available when my kids are older, or that family vacation while the kids still want to do those kinds of things? Sorry gear heads, I must go with the family vacation. The gear I have is more than enough. A Canon 50D, the Nifty Fifty and a Tamron 18-270mm are perfect for any photography I plan to do for the near future. My kids will only be kids for a short time.

It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about this the last few days and today I read a post from the Digital Photography School about this very thing. It’s entitled Buy Less Gear: Travel and Experience More. Funny how karma works isn’t it. Photography isn’t about gear it’s about vision. Sure the gear is part of it but seeing the light and visualizing the photograph you want to make is much more important that the gear. Knowing your existing gear inside and out and knowing the basic techniques of photography will go a lot farther by far than any new camera body and lenses will ever take you.

Sorry Canon, I won’t be getting those 2 lenses or the 1D Mark IV just yet but one day I just may. Of course if you would like to donate them too me I would do my best to use them to their full potential. 🙂

Chris.

To HDR Or Not To HDR? That Is The Question.

I’ve been noticing a huge increase in the number of HDR images showing up lately. Some are very surreal and some are much more natural looking. I’ve been thinking about trying it and have been convinced that I need to by my Flickr friend The Bruce. Bruce has been dabbling in the HDR world lately and I’ve really liked the images he has produced. So I thought I’d give it a go. Why not.

So, I downloaded a trial of Photomatix and started to experiment. I used a single photo and outputted a normal exposure, -2 and +2 to simulate the bracketing. Hard to bracket when the wind is blowing so hard.

I took this photo of my kids on Canada Day and I like it but it’s missing so much of the contrast that was there for my eyes to see. I’d like you to see more of what I saw.

182.365 Happy Birthday Canada

The first one I completed was this one but the white flags went to gray. I love all the detail in the clouds, leaves, and the kids clothing but the flags really turned me off.

First Tone Mapped Image Attempt

I opened it up in Lightroom and used the adjustment brush to increase the exposure on the white areas being very careful to use the auto mask feature and not bleed into the surrounding areas too much.

First Tone Mapped Image Attempt - Whitened Flags

This one I really like. Look at the detail in their clothes. All that was lost in the original even though I used my flash. The range just was not there.

I think you can expect to see more HDR work in my Flickr stream from now on. I really like how this turned out.

Chris.