Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Brilliance of Carsmas

My HDR photography has come a long way since the beginning days of this blog.  Back then, I shot in JPEG and used Photomatix to combine 3 or 5 exposures, which resulted in some pretty painterly results.  Eventually, I learned to throw the Photomatix result back into Photoshop, where I'd mask out noise and correct exposures for a more event look.  But this was still relatively time consuming and often clipped the shadows to create an overly contrasted scene.  But eventually, I figured out that I could shoot in RAW, create various even exposures focused on the shadows, midtones, and highlights, and then just blend them in Photoshop directly, without the use of any other programs.

These days, for nighttime photography, I've determined that my Nikon D610 can adequately capture the dynamic range of most scenes with two exposures bracketed three stops apart, as long as I shoot in RAW so that I can extend the range of recovery of my shadows and highlights.  These shots below are all composed of two-exposure HDR's, but I think you'll find them to be relatively photo-realistic.  Click on the Carsmas tag and compare these to early works, and hopefully, you'll agree that I've had some improvement as the years have gone by. =)

Sarge's Surplus Hut is a pyrotechnic wonderland.

The Cozy Cone Motel is full of all sorts of coned Christmas theming.

Radiator Springs Curios is home to everything holiday eclectic.

Flo's, Ramone's, and Luigi's make up an illuminated composition.

Finally, at the Courthouse stands Santa Stanley, holiday version of the founder of the town.

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