Friday, September 23, 2011

Feeling Minnesota

It was gray with intermittent rain all week in Duluth.  Most folks were complaining, but I was happy.  The clouds were amazing.



Lake Superior

Goodwill and Good Luck Runs the Railroad
Duluth, Minnesota

Monday, September 12, 2011

Interesting Statistics and The Great HDR Debate

Last week I posted this photo of Thompson Falls in Pinkham Notch, NH.   I described how it was a high dynamic range image or HDR created by using software to combining the tonal values of five separate exposures.   I also related that I was sort of luke warm on HDR.

Thompson Falls HDR

Over the weekend, I offered up a single image of the same location shot at the same time. This photo is not an HDR. One long exposure from the camera with gentle software tweaks to color and contrast.

Thompson Falls v2.jpg This

I posted both images to the same exact Flickr group, wrote a blog post on each image and shared those blog posts on Facebook and Google+.   I hadn't planned on doing an analysis, but I realized I have some data, so here we go...
  • Both images have received just about identical numbers of views so far on Flickr and on Facebook. 
  • The HDR image has generated more comments.
  • There have been enthusiastic comments about both images
  • The Thompson Falls HDR image was favorited on Flickr and the non-HDR image was not
  • The non-HDR image has more Facebook likes than the HDR version (4 vs. 2)
What does this mean you ask?  I'm not exactly sure.  It might be a little too much Freakonomics for me to figure out.  HDR has become something of an evangelical crusade with people. Some folks love it and suddenly every image they make is hyper saturated and super high def. Other folks hate it. I mean they really hate it like the way Red Sox fans hate the Yankees.  As for me, I don't love it. Like a lot of things, there's a time and a place.  For example, I generally enjoy Cheyenne Rouse's work.  A lot of her images are of old things around the Southwest and HDR seems to suit her subject. HDR helps bring out drama, strength and intensity, so athletes and soldiers generally look great composed in HDR.  So when the time is right, you'll probably see HDR from me again.  Above all, it's clear that some folks like it and when it suits what I'm trying to express, I'll use high dynamic range as a tool.  But one thing is certain.  The controversy is overblown.  Especially in light of the even feedback on these two images.  There are much better... and cooler... topics to start a bar room fight over.  You know, stuff like Canon vs. Nikon. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Congratulations to Mountain Running World Champions Kasie Enman & Max King!

Kasie Enman of Huntington, Vermont and Max King of Bend, Oregon claimed the titles of Mountain Running World Champions at their races this morning  in Tirana, Albania.  This is the first time the US has won double gold at the World Championships.  Enman is the first US woman to ever win Gold at the World's.  Max and Kasie are also the US Champions having won the title at the US Mountain Running Championships in North Conway, NH at Cranmore Mountain.

You can see great photos from the race and get more details at the USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Facebook page and the US Mountain Running website

Congratulations to both Kasie and Max as well as all the athletes and coaches on the US team!  Here are a couple of Max and Kasie's photo highlights from the US National Championship race.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sans HDR

A couple of days ago I posted an HDR photograph of Thompson Falls in Pinkham Notch.  While I'm not convinced high dynamic range is the way to go, the voting public generally liked it based on views and comments here on the blog, Facebook, Google+ or my Flickr photostream.  I have to admit, that I like the quality of the rocks in the foreground of that image.

So I figured why not grab another photograph from that same shoot earlier this week and offer it up with no HDR and see what happens.  This is a single exposure with "normal" color correction and sharpening in Lightroom 3.  Once again... I'd love to hear  your thoughts.

Thompson Falls v2.jpg

Thompson Falls
Pinkham Notch, NH

Thursday, September 8, 2011

HDR... ehhhhh

Sooo, ahhh, this HDR thing. High Dynamic Range. For the uninitiated, and highly simplified, HDR is the combining of multiple exposures to present a dynamic range that encompasses the lightest and the darkest tones in a scene. In many ways, it brings the capability to create an image more consistent with what the human eye can see. You may have experienced this for yourself. You see a scene with detail in the shadows, but when you try to photograph it, the shadows are pure black. That's because the human eye can perceive a higher dynamic range of light than film or digital camera sensors. And that's where HDR comes in.

The thing is HDR, like any technology really, can be used for good and for evil. It can be used to make a beautiful photograph and you might not even know it's HDR. Or... HDR can create technicolor yawns that attack your eyes relentlessly like a bad science fiction movie. I don't like that style so much but people still seem fond of it. So.. I'm a bit conflicted about this HDR baloney. This evening I made a few pictures and here's my HDR debut. It was made by combining five images, each one a bit under a stop apart from the other.

Ehhh... I don't know. You be the judge.  I'd love to hear from you.

Thompson Falls.jpg
Thompson Falls
Pinkham Notch, NH
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