Saturday, May 10, 2014

Walt and Mickey Under the Stars

I was chatting with a friend about photography last night, and I realized that the conversation made me analyze my style.  Even within the short confines of this blog, I think my photography has undergone an evolution.  I've always been a fan of highly saturated, well contrasting shots, but early on in this blog's life, I was very much absorbed in the HDR movement.  I had already largely gone through my "color vomit" phase of HDR fascination, and by the middle of 2012, I was trying to use HDR to reproduce what the human eye saw, with its wider range of exposures and detail in shadows and highlights. 

But 2013 rolled around, and I found myself in possession of my first full frame camera.  And a gradual transition to shooting almost exclusively in RAW format brought forth the epiphany that the broader exposures I was seeking in HDR could be obtained in one shot--and often in a much cleaner rendition--than my HDR's had required.  I had stumbled upon the "secret" to what I call the "Bricker Style" of photography--so nicknamed because Tom Bricker of Disney Tourist Blog was the first photographer I knew of whose photos were this way.  The clean detail, vibrancy, smoothness, and balance of exposure were amazing, and I realized that this was what I'd always tried to capture--the quality of light, in a slightly hyper-real sense, evoking those romantic qualities of luminance.

This brings us to today, a continuation of that direction.  Since then, I've discovered numerous other fantastic photographers with similar hyper-realistic photography styles--Michael Greening, Gregg Cooper, Ryan Pastorino, Matthew Cooper, and Mark Willard--to name a few.  In my eyes, their shots are truly amazing, and they push me to extend my own photography and techniques and photographic eye as well.  We photographers all strive to show things from our unique vantagepoints, and Disney photographers have the particular benefit of having beautiful backdrops already designed for them.  But it still takes a particular skill and art to enhance these settings, and that's part of the fun.  Pushing myself and helping others is an expression of growth, and photography just happens to be medium I've chosen onto which all of this transposes!

Walt and Mickey stand under a backdrop of stars, visible as pinpoints.

In this same angle, the flowers are now in focus, and the stars become de-focused spots of bokeh.
Just a couple of notes on the two photos above... I didn't notice until I was editing the first photo on my computer that my 30 second exposure was so long that I could actually see a good amount of stars in the photo! Click to enlarge the photo to see this better, but I thought that was cool.  With the second photo, I "painted" the flowers with my LED keychain flashlight to provide a more lit exposure.  Otherwise, the bottom half of the photo would have been a lot more in shadow.  The fun things you are forced to do when you want a clean night shot but don't have a tripod with you!

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