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Tag Archives: photomanipulation

“When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer.”

“A Magical Sight” (Cinderella Castle with Candy Cane Holiday Projection, Disney’s Magic Kingdom) Canon SuperShot SX40 HS, 10.4mm, F/4, 1/25s, -1.7EV, ISO 1600

 “But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight –

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

~ exerpt, ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’, Clement Clark Moore

 
Much love, good health, happiness, peace and prosperity to you and yours, now, and all through the new year! 🙂

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So, we’re back from one short trip to Disney World and about to embark on another one! (Lucky us, no? 😉 ) Don’t get too jealous as this is our only real vacation each year and by the time it arrives, we soooooo need it!

“Animated Mickey” (Filmstrip Mickey Sculpture, Animation Courtyard, Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 40mm, F/14, 1/320s, +0.3EV, ISO 200, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -0.7EV, ‘Old West’ Toning Action

I didn’t take many photos this trip as I was too busy eating and drinking at the EpCoT Food & Wine Festival. (Hey, it’s a tough job, folks but someone has to do it. 😉 ) And, until the camera manufacturers develop a ‘drunk photographer’mode, I thought it best not to handle complicated equipment. 

After returning home I realized that the only time I carried my Nikon D300 was one morning’s outing to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

I really love the feeling at the studios, especially in Animation Courtyard where the focus is on what made Disney a household name in the first place – animation! Ever since the onset of computers, hand-drawn cels are becoming extremely rare but here at the studios, they keep the tradition alive.

“Celluloid Mickey” (Mickey Sculpture, Animation Courtyard, Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 90mm, F/11, 1/500s, +0.3EV, ISO 200, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Solarized Border’ Filter

This is one of the few places where they are still producing hand-painted cels and during the week, you can watch as actual Disney animators perform their craft right before your eyes. (Hmmm, I wonder how many of us would like to be ‘on display’ while we work?)

In the back right-hand corner of the courtyard stands a sculpture I’ve photographed on several occasions with only so-so results. This time I shot from a low angle, using the sky as the background and therefore, was able to eliminate all the distracting elements that have ruined the image in the past. 

Still not quite sure I’ve achieved what I ultimately want but, these two images are the closest I’ve gotten. No worries. I’m willing to go back and try as many times as it takes. 😉

I’ve seen alot of HDR (High Dynamic Range) images lately and wanted to try my hand at one.  

One of the problems inherent in photography is the camera’s incapacity to accurately reproduce scenes with high contrast. In these instances, the photographer must choose between exposing to preserve the shadows (resulting in areas of blown-out highlights), or exposing to preserve the highlights (resulting in completely dark shadows and therefore, no shadow detail). This can get frustrating since our eye discerns much more tonalities in the real world and ideally, we’d like our images to show the same.  

For those unfamiliar, HDR images represent a scene containing a wide range of light intensity levels, from the very darkest shadows to the lightest highlights. They are generally achieved by capturing multiple standard photographs, often using exposure bracketing, and then merging them via software into an HDR image. The results can vary greatly based upon how far you want to push the limits – from natural-looking to the more, let’s say, fantastical. 🙂  

While walking over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the sunset sky behind the Tower of Terror was simply breathtaking. Seemed like a perfect subject for HDR so down went the tripod and the adventure began. The camera was set for exposure bracketing (taking a series of images at different exposure values) as well as interval timer shooting (allows one click of the shutter to initiate the series since you want as little camera movement as possible). I also turned on “exposure delay mode” which delays the shutter release about 1 sec after the mirror is raised (since raising the mirror can also cause slight camera shake).

“Sunset Terror” (Tower of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, HDR) Nikon D300, 70mm, F/13, ISO 320, Six Exposure Ranges, Photomatix Pro

Back home, the real work began.  

At first, I played with the HDR processing included in Photoshop, but sadly, that was not producing the results I desired (a dark, moody scene, that is, afterall, the essence of the Tower of Terror). So, I moved on over to the trial version of Photomatix Pro, and after a short learning curve, was able to generate a pleasing HDR image from six separate exposures! Most HDR processes require some tweaking/finishing and that was easily performed back in Photoshop.  

I must say I was so impressed with the power of Photomatix Pro, that I purchased the software and, using an online code, got 20% off to boot! 🙂  

HDR is definitely a technique I look forward to using in the future!

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