This is the first article in a occasional series I’ll be running looking at some of my early attempts at various photographic techniques. In September 2005 Kim & I were at one of our favourite photo locations, England’s north east coast (the bit between north Newcastle and the Scottish border).

The image below (Canon 300D, ISO100, 32mm, 1/6s, f29) is a shot of one of the old fishing boats on Holy Island with Lindisfarne Castle in the background. There are several in this harbour in various states of disrepair. I was quite close to the boat when I took the shot so even at f29 the immediate foreground and background are not in focus. These are aren’t the only technical failings either I’m sure you’ll agree!

Boat on Holy Island - Original

Boat on Holy Island - Original

But, even though it had plenty of technical issues I still quite liked the shot, so I decided to post-process it using an HDR technique, using Photomatix. I’d not set out with this intention so I didn’t have multiple actual exposures to play with so I created -1 and +1 stop virtual images in Lightroom and used these for the HDR image.

Boat on Holy Island - HDR

Boat on Holy Island - HDR

The processing has had a noticeable effect to:

  • deepened the blue (unrealistically) in the sky and bringing out some of the faint cloud structure
  • increase the local contrast to give certain areas more definition, eg on the water and around the flowers
  • increase brightness in the shadow areas of the boat and shaded grass

Looking back now I think I over-processed the image. It suffers from banding and quite serious halo effects. Also, it’s getting to the point of looking quite artificial, almost like painting. At the time though it did leave me impressed with the possibilities that HDR offered and what could be achieved with practise and more attention to detail.


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