I need a better telephoto lens. Sigh. Even at it's closest point to us in 18 years, the moon is still too far away. So I'm thankful for modern cropping technology.
Better, but not perfect. Zooming in only increases the size, not the quality of course. There are a jillion better moon pictures out there, but I'm trying to take opportunities to practice night photography whenever I can.
Plus, I need something to post every once in a while. Here's a filtered moon shot I took that kinda looks like the BP logo. Bad moon!
So not having any real exciting trips to remote locations coming up, I of course had to hit my back yard and house to practice my new HDR technique. My neighbor's barn is the closest structure to my house. The best time for multi-exposure shots 'round these parts is during the evening.
Not very spectacular shots in and of themselves, but grading out the light produces some beautiful effects huh?
My cat wandered into one of the shots, wondering what the hell I was doing and stared at me long enough to get in two out of three AEB shots in low light. Cats have scary concentration.
Tone mapping in Black & White has its advantages too. I couldn't decide which one I liked better.
Reflections are easy and fun, and proper tone mapping makes them even more-so. That little statuette is a replica of those giant statues in Afghanistan that the Taliban blew up. Jerkwads. I got it at a yard sale for a buck; figured that was a good way to make up for not getting the chance to see the originals, ever.
Puppy! She protects our house from squirrels and runs from bears. (Monster! She yelps as she pounds on the door to be let back in) That path of ice is my route to the woodpile.
February was a slow month. This time of year usually is. The only trip of note I went on was to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Just off the highway between Fort Leonard and St. Louis in Fanning, MO on route 66, is the world's Largest rocker. Wheee-hoooo.
I didn't go into the taxidermy studio. If I'd had that kind of time, I would have gone back to the St. Louis Gateway Arch again. Oh well, next time.
However I have some exciting photo geek news. I've discovered how to merge shots of different exposures. I've known it was possible for a while, so very occasionally in the past I'd take Auto Exposure Bracketed shots (AEB) in the hopes I could figure out how to merge them one day. I never really did until recently, and sad to say I never did have the forethought to take very many AEB shots. No idea what I'm talking about? Let me explain. These next three shots of a scene in Death Valley National Park were taken as AEB; three shots of the same frame at different exposures:
And with the correct software, they are merged together to look like this!
It takes the best light from each object in the photo and puts 'em together for what is called a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image. This is an especially useful tool for instances where the light on the subject that you're photographing is just too disparate. As you see in the first three photos, when I exposed for the detail of the basalt rock, the sky and background get washed out, but when I tried to expose for the background, the basalt gets blacked out. One such common occurrence in photography are indoor shots with windows during the daytime. If you want to see what's outside as well as what's inside, HDR rules. My Den:
You'll notice that the HDR images don't look quite as sharp as a regular photo; they almost look painterly. That's just a detailing option you can use in the software. It can render the image more normal looking as well, it's just a preference. Here's my HDR Den, more normal:
I like the painterly look. It makes my less interesting photos look more interesting. Someday I hope to take an AEB photo that is interesting in and of itself. I'm excited about the software, so hopefully it will happen. In the meantime, here's another AEB shot I took way back on a Sacramento California trip.