Photo Excursion – Huntington Beach

Earlier last week Rebecca and I spent a stormy Friday with Shannon & Nathan. We posted a few photographs of that visit here. As is clear from the picture below it was a very rainy day.

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But we got some nice photos of our grandson and enjoyed our visit with Shannon. On the way home I couldn’t help but capture a few “stormy” photos.

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There are many beautiful homes in the area but the #1 photo opportunity we drove past was the First Christian Church located on Main St a few short blocks down from HB High School. We’ve passed it many times before but since the skies were stormy and we had our new camera (Canon 5D Mark III) I had ample reason to pull over and take a few photos.

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Truth be told – I never lack ample reason to take a few photos, as Rebecca will attest. Of course, she was very understanding (she always is). She had her iPad to keep her entertained while I traipsed about.

The Mark III makes it quite easy to shoot high dynamic range images. It will even process the three exposures “in camera”. But for the church I did the processing the “old fashion” way – using a very powerful Photoshop plug-in, HDR Efex Pro, from the team at Nik Software. The photo below has a bit of a painterly look – easily applied with HDR Efex Pro.

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There were a few very nice homes just around the corner from the church so I took liberties and photographed them. Once again, to capture the full dynamic range of the scene with the stormy skies, I bracketed three exposures and let HDR Efex Pro blend the exposures.

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HDR photos are very popular, for good reason, but they can be overdone. In the photo below I purposefully over-applied (in my opinion) the HDR effect to show what has become so very popular. While the skies were stormy they weren’t quite as dramatic as shown below.

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The 5D Mark III has the ability to do its own “in-camera” HDR image processing. I haven’t played with it much – as I said, I prefer to do things the “old school” way. But here’s that same home with the exposure blending done by the camera.

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There’s quite a difference between these two photos. One is overdone while this one is a bit “under cooked” to my taste. The Mark III has a few blending options – I haven’t experimented with them yet. This was the first option – we’ll play with the others soon.

HDR photo processing is becoming common in all levels of camera. It really does make blending of exposures easy. The “in camera” processing is done in seconds without the need for Photoshop or any other plug-in.

HDR photography is here to stay and will become more common as more cameras include in-camera processing. If you have a new camera, check the manual and start playing with HDR photography. We’ll cover it in detail in a future Tuesday Photo Tips post.

Keep an eye out for our next Photo Excursion post. In the meantime, check back for our weekly Tuesday Photo Tips. Better yet – be updated automatically when we post Road Trips or Photo Tips by “friending” our Facebook site.

You may also want to browse the resource articles on our site covering basic and more advanced photography topics. There are also tips covering topics such as preparing for family or infant/child portrait sessions. If you would like a topic covered just jot it down in a comment or send us a note.


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