<<< o >>>under the north pier 101 comments + add yours

This is a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image, created with Photomatix. HDR's are composite images that utilise several different exposures of the same scene (in this case, six exposures at f/5.6, between 1/15th and 1/500th) to create an HDR image to which you then apply a tone curve. I'm not sure I understand quite how it all works, but basically the software works to create areas of local contrast within a scene rather than applying a uniform contrast across the image.

If you're interesed in reading up about this follow some of the links from the HDR flickr pool. I intend to shoot a lot more of these so will put up more information as and when I get my head around how it works. For the time being though, I do like the result.

As for this attempt: technically, it could be better, especially since the original images are slightly out of alignment with one another (tripod on sand, windy, and so on), but I just love the surreal effect. I wish it didn't take quite so long to postprocess though – this one took around three hours from start to finish ;-)

Oh, and I first came across this sort of image on LONDONRUBBISH.

Anyway, as always, let me know what you think.

3x2 + Blackpool Tower + HDR + piers [North pier] + fylde coast [scenic]
comment by Jan at 11:06 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

Wow. Amazing! Looks like a very dramatic painting.

comment by trob at 11:07 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

Simply Incredible

comment by ojorojo at 11:07 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

Impressive! You are right about the surrealism. I'll check Photomatix. Thanks.

comment by Steve at 11:11 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

Yeah this is stunning, I adore it. Like some kind of old airbrushed novel cover.
And the composition aint half bad either ;)

comment by Richard at 11:13 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

Great first attempt. I know what you mean about time, Im still working on my first attempt. Your photo has a hand color feel to it which I like.

comment by Tanveer at 11:15 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

Fucking brilliant! The surrealism oozes from this shot like a comic book, meets a cartoon, meets the mind's eye of Tim Burton. I love it!

comment by Jonny at 11:16 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

What an awesome storybook drawing feel this one has!

comment by jbp at 11:20 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006


comment by KareM at 11:23 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

beauty, a mix of colors; mix of time.. i enjoy your works, its genial!! saludos.. ;)

comment by tamimat at 11:24 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006


comment by ps at 11:29 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

Well, quite nice effect... :)

comment by Geoff at 11:29 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

Yeah it does have a very surreal look about it, particularly under the bridge. I suppose it's good for some shots and not for others. I look forward to seeing more.

comment by john at 11:34 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

I have nothing against HDR techniques -- I've been making the occasional HDR image for quite a while (by hand). I've seen these all over the place lately and I can't say I'm a fan. Almost every image I've seen come out of this software just looks artificial. Especially the halos around foreground objects. That's an aesthetic, I suppose, but it feels awful gimmicky.

comment by adena at 11:35 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

the clouds are fantastic. the entire photograph has a bit of a creepy element to it. i love it, very nicely done.

comment by Finwe at 11:40 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

This is so fantastic! Quite like CGI generated...
I'am in awe ;)

comment by cap3316 at 11:43 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

I agree with the other posts; yes this type of HDR image does look `artificial` and over-processed but even so, I think it looks great and I really like the effect; it has a strangely dreamlike quality.

I'm really interested in finding out more about how this effect is achieved, and I would love to see more of your photos treated in this way. Another great piece of work Dave.

comment by djn1 at 11:44 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

Geoff: yep, this isn't appropriate for every shot, but where the dynamic range of the original scene exceeds the camera's ability to capture it, it's a good tool.

john: yep, if you're not overly keen on the effect then you'll probably find it gimmicky. Personally, it's the artificial feel of these shots that I find appealing, but I'm happy to conceed that they're not likely to be everyone's cup of tea.

comment by Mark [londonrubbish] at 12:04 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

I think when HDR is used like this, you're either going to love it or hate it. Personally, I really like this for it's artificial, surreal, cartoon/canvas painting feel. I'm also impressed because I know the amount of work that has to go into producing this result.

And thanks for the link.

comment by kim at 12:05 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Really odd but I like it, looks like a painting or one of those really old postcards where the colours are exaggerated.

comment by Bill Hooker at 12:10 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Ooooh! I usually prefer post-processing to be unobtrusive -- more or less a correction for "errors", that is, ways the image doesn't match what the photographer was seeing -- but I really like this effect.

I wonder if better image alignment and/or algorithm tweaks could remove the artificial feel, and leave just an image with a humongous dynamic range?

comment by Anthony y. at 12:11 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Wow. The colours used and perspective is absolutely fantastic.

comment by Matt at 12:26 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

A great photo... very Gotham-esque (by that I mean CGI)... I think it would be interesting to see the original(s) to see what this program actually did...

comment by Mike Dougan at 12:32 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Fantastic! I love this.

comment by Robin Betts at 12:48 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Wow Wow Wow. Makes you think ... where did the light come from? Destroys the real world as we know it, so perhaps good for revealing reality, which is the whole point of a picture..? ... But flavoursome, nonetheless.. flavour of the month? year?

comment by Robin Betts at 12:52 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Sorry, edit. Insert 'no' between 'perhaps' & 'good' above.

comment by Ryan at 01:02 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

This looks very illustrative! I must look into this postprocessing technique! =)

comment by George B at 02:13 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Brilliant! I love the hand painted feel of this. Can't wait to see more. Your dedication to this artform continues to inspire me. thank you.

comment by Zeppo at 02:27 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

I've always thought that post-processing needs to be one of two things. Either completely unobtrusive or completely over the top. It's the ones that just show enought of the processing to make it obviously "off" while seemingly trying to look like an unprocessed picture that fail the sniff test every time.

For over the top - I happen to like this effect for some scenics from time to time. But I can also understand why some people don't.

Looking forward to seeing more!

comment by Michael Sarver at 03:06 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

I like it...but it looks fake. Almost too surreal. But I like it...

comment by Parker at 03:22 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

This is amazing. I love everything about this shot. Well, almost... the halos around the legs of the pier are a bit distracting, as is the outrageous green color of the grass along the wall. But yeah, on the whole the picture is absolutely incredible. Kudos.

comment by Newton at 03:23 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

It looks like a shot right out of Half-Life 2. Which is more a testament to how awesome HL2 is more than anything else.

comment by miles at 03:33 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Holy smokes, this is awesome man, it has a real vintage feel to it, almost like a coloured b&w but in a good way. Many of the dynamic range images I see look flat in a weird way, like someone's been playing with the shadows + highlight tool, but this one's spot on perfect. I gotta check this out, how much is the plugin?

The image itself is framed beautifully.

comment by Judith Polakoff at 03:47 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

When I first saw this I was going to comment that you must have had quite a time with the post-processing to get the dynamic range you've got here. I'm just curious about why you didn't use the HDR function in Photoshop? In any event, I really like the effect, although it doesn't have quite the sharpness that most of your shots have -- probably because, as you said, your tripod wasn't secure.

comment by Ashish Sidapara at 03:48 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Almost surreal. But it looks cool.

comment by Helga at 04:01 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Love it! So colorful and fantastic!

Thanks for pointing on this Photomatix. Can't wait to try it myself. :)

comment by Amy at 04:25 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

I must say, this doesn't look like most of your other pictures, but I really like it. Have you seen Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow? The backdrops are totally CG and softened. Your image reminds me of it.
Very good art, sir.

comment by Kenny at 04:26 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Hey, Mr. Nightingale. Tried the program and its pretty hard to tune perfectly at first glance. You did a really nice job considering the fact that you made 5 exposures for this job itself! Maybe a little to light in the sky at the bottom of the boat house - in the middle of the photo. You have really found a new and wonderful spot to use for this experiment.

comment by Fellow Eskimo at 04:43 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Wow, Im going to try to get my hands on that...this looks like such a nice photo. Looks like at least two photos put together to make the underpass and the sky because of the range of the exposures. Wonderful! You have taught me somehting new today!

comment by matthew at 05:26 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

cool to see you are using HDR... its such cool technology, I think it will be the answer to making up for the limited dynamic range of current digital slrs.

This image is really stunning, it's filled with a lot of drama. the only thing that breaks it for me is the harsh halo and transiton between the little red detailed building and (inside and around) it's piers and the sky. otherwise it's exceptional. -mdpny

comment by seriocomic at 05:58 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

I think the result is impressive, if not, as others have said, artificial. There is hardly anything in this shot that reveals itself as a photo, as opposed to digital art. Whether or not it's your unfamiliarity with the software, but the haloing is quite pronounced.

comment by moe darbandi [desperocity] at 05:58 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

the underside of the pier looks incredible, the colors surreal but at the same time believable. HDR, definitely something I should look into!

Of course taking the same shot 6 times requires knowing it will be a good shot. That and a tripod, I naturally assume.

comment by moe darbandi [desperocity] at 06:02 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

I also have a feeling Photomatix is going to start getting A LOT of traffic soon. You should've let them sponsor you first ;-)

comment by d at 06:36 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

love it! it's really got a surreal feel to it ... as if it came out of a CGI movie or a video game.

comment by Anchorlee at 06:44 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Thanks so much, now I know this nice digital photographic tools - Photomatix

comment by Louise at 07:01 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Wow amazing. really unique image

comment by steve deer at 07:13 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

simply amazing, you make a dreary day in Blackpool really shine... and well worth the effort!

you'll make a lot of money from this image from the local tourism board



comment by peter at 07:22 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

My fist thought was that this was over processed - everything evened out nicely and a bit too unreal for my liking. Five minutes later it's beginning to win me over, although I must admit that I'm still not sure. But that is a good thing, it's always good to be challenged. I think I'll sit and study it a bit more.

comment by Ahamed at 07:42 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

You really took advantage of the benefits of HDR here. The end result is a storybook like image. Really dynamic and unreal looking.

comment by Kev Rosie at 08:21 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Fantastic 1930's feel to the colours. Great shot.

comment by Dean Sherwood at 09:11 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Ok, I see a little debate starting between a few who like/dislike HDR images...Isn't that what this is all about? I mean the whole photography thing! Debate, like/dislike etc. I think this is a very surreal looking shot and it just adds another boe to David's awesome talents. I'm looking at it and not comparing it to any other photos on this site, otherwise you'll find yourself debating with yourself! Seperate yourselves from the other shots and you'll notice this is an amazing piece of work. David, brilliant.

comment by RichS at 09:42 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Love it. I've been meaning to try the HDR trchnique for a while. I think this image has spurred me on to try it sooner rather than later. I look forward to seeing more of these from you.

comment by nuno f at 10:13 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

So colorful! It's a great work worth of the time spent. :-)

And have you heard of HDTR (High Dynamic Time Range)? You can find more information in... http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/fun/hdtr/

comment by Matteo at 11:31 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Ogni volta che vengo qui trovo delle foto davvero bellissime

comment by joanium at 11:44 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

I like it -- it looks exactly like a computer game scene, maybe out of the Final Fantasy series.

comment by joanium at 11:59 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

For the us people who have never met HDR before and are wondering what the point is, I've found a clear and interesting article about HDR on Cybergrain. It's a little old now but still a good discussion of the potential advantages.

comment by JD at 12:49 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

I'm pretty new to the photoblog and DSLR world and I was totally unaware that this was a technique (sounds stupid I suppose) but I have done it manually in photoshop [link: The (Old) Pearl Works]. I'm deffo gonna try the plugin and possibly the app.

Anyway I like the subject and the processing (obviosly). But the saturation isn't to my liking. I'd prefer it in black and white and probs with a touch more overall contrast?

Looking forward to seeing more tho. Cheers

comment by James at 12:52 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Very Surreal.

comment by tristan forward at 01:23 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

your excellent new software does what the brain does and adjusts to local lighting levels really beautifully ... well done !

comment by mikelangelo at 02:23 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

It looks like a matte painting from a big budget movie. It's beautiful!!

comment by Lee at 02:43 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Your best photo for a long time. I dont like the glowing in the middle of the picture though.

comment by Josh Powers at 02:52 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

I can offer no criticisms - simply, this is gorgeous! I'm going to have to check out that software and that flickr group and find out more about this technique.

comment by Jarama at 03:52 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Holy hot damn... I love the HDR effect (very 1920's, Fitzgerald Jazz Age vibe), but I think what really makes this shot is the composition. It's a great shot on it's own, but the post-processing elevates it to amazing. If it were a relative straight forward capture of the boardwalk, it wouldn't have nearly the same impact, HDR or not. Face it, you're effing brilliant mate...

comment by SB at 04:13 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Fantastic colours and atmosphere. I get a great feeling of warmth and protection from what could be an incoming storm. Just a personal thing.

Steve Deer commented you would make a lot of money from the local tourism board with this one.

I would also add you might shift a few as a jigsaw puzzle (as you probably could with a lot of your other shots).

comment by PlasticTV at 04:14 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

This looks like a painted illustration from a fairy tale picture book! The three hours were definitely worth it. Indeed the slight misalignment and what technical flaws there were actually gave the picture a soft-focus look - very surreal...

comment by Sebastian at 04:50 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

I like the image. I'd like to direct everyone over to another site as well http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/fun/hdtr/ where my brother should have some code up for blending images of HIGH DYNAMIC TIME RANGES versus contrast like this one. Its a very interesting concept. Check it out.

comment by sil at 05:15 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Great contrast and tones. It has an unreal mood I like. Great.

comment by Notnad at 05:55 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Easily one of my favorites. I'm not usually someone who loves extensively-altered pictures, but the old-timey, dreamy quality of this shot won me over immediately.

comment by prasoon at 05:57 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

no wonder so many comments - looks like it has been ripped off some 1960's classic..
wonderful image..

comment by Jesse at 06:58 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

This is beautiful. I can't wait to start making HDR images.

comment by Jon at 07:53 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Wow this is so weird… The lack of deep shadows has really made this very surreal, it reminds me of a hand coloured postcard. Can’t this be done directly in Photoshop CS2 “Merge to HDR” or did you find Photomatix better ?

comment by Jaap at 09:09 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006


comment by djn1 at 09:23 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

Thanks :-)))))))

comment by Ellie at 09:58 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

MW LOVE THIS! ITS SO DREAM LIKE! this is THE best photograph on Chromasia. wow!

comment by Paul Woolrich at 10:26 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

David, This HDR photo is stunning the best I have seen with this software. I downloaded the software a few weeks back, however I am also still working out how to use it. The end result with this photo looks so good, it's like a painting.

comment by Joe at 10:38 PM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

"HDR" has been out for a while now - I'm glad that someone with your talent is finally putting it to good use! Amazing shot. Getting a HDR tack sharp can be difficult though - my experiments have convinced me I really need to invest in a cable release.

comment by Gary at 12:59 AM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

awesome hdr

comment by Tim at 02:40 AM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

This is just great. As other people have commented, it reminds me very much of holiday photographs that you used to buy in the times before cameras were more accessable. They were usually hand coloured and that consistant detail across the image. I had a look at the website of the people selling the software package and really it is just a method of massively extending the dynamic range of the image then selectively compressing that image back to maintain a more uniform contrast ratio (if that makes any sense). The company I worked for in the 90s tried doing something similar with airborne imaging systems.

comment by Duane at 07:12 AM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

Great colours once again. I especially like the sky. Looks like a storm is coming!

comment by KPK at 09:31 AM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

Most excellent colors and lighting!

comment by qui-bon at 09:49 AM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

Truly amazing! Well done.

comment by Ioannis at 11:28 AM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

It's fairly simple, how HDR works.

BUT, I keep seeing photoblogs utilising this technique over the past week. I think after portraits, this might be the next fashion and will just get boring...

comment by Conor at 01:43 PM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

The result of the finished work (and how real/artificial) it looks seems to be balanced on what exactly the software's dynamic range is?
I mean, cameras have a certain range. Less than the human eye, as we see whenever skies come out overexposed in most shots. But the shots here seem to encompass a range far higher than the human high, giving that unreal quality to them.
I haven't used the program at all, but it would be interesting to experiment with different ranges, limiting to camera-types, human perception, various other animals perceptions, etc.

Perhaps it has this, but if not, it would be an interesting additions.

comment by Deb at 05:18 PM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

This technique is visually unnerving.....everything appears menacing....like it's too near. Approaching. (See how the visual system knows best in accommodating / acknowledging dynamic contrasts to facilitate depth perception? God, I love vision science) :) But I love this technique too.....scares the bejaybus outta me...it's like "what we would see if we weren't perceptually buffered from reality". A cacophany of salience in extremis....visual chaos.

comment by Simon C at 05:24 PM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

This is perhaps one of the most striking images I've seen on a photoblog. It's a strong composition, but it's the HDR aspect of this that really makes it stand out.

I think many photobloggers have been using HDR techniques for quite some time - I'm no exception.

This is a really fine example of the technique, but for me personally, when it's used as explicitly as this, although part of me finds the end result attractive, another part just isn't comfortable with it.

However, I'm certainly looking forward to seeing where you go with this approach.

comment by SteveO at 06:45 PM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

This is very nice, looks like you put quite a bit more time into yours than i did :-) I love the framing though, something you could never achieve properly with a normal shot.

comment by pooyan at 07:00 PM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

nice shot

comment by Eleanor at 07:10 PM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

This is a stunning shot. The detail and colour make it. Excellent work.

comment by djn1 at 10:16 PM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

Thanks again. It's great to get such a warm response to my first effort with this approach :-)

comment by Rob at 02:12 PM (GMT) on 27 February, 2006

Phenomenal shot, to me this seems to have a slight "painting" feel to it, the texture and colours of the the shot are so rich, superb scene

comment by Jorge at 03:06 PM (GMT) on 27 February, 2006

Awesome shot!

comment by Mike at 08:02 PM (GMT) on 27 February, 2006

This is absolutely great... the, as you said, "surreal" feel is amazing - like something out of a movie. i love your work, visit almost every day for a bit of inspiration : )

comment by arvin at 12:19 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

this is amazing!

comment by critcal matt at 05:05 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

Quite well done! I'd love to see a 'darker' image with this processing - somthing like a run down old Victorian haunted house. The hdr coloring gives you that wierd feeling like something isn't quite with the photo. I think it'd be great with a spooky image.

comment by Cy Starkman at 07:57 AM (GMT) on 4 March, 2006

There are two types of art (as in painted etc) I really like.

The first is totally abstract and the other is super-realistic. I got into doing super-realism stuff with 3D when I was doing that.

I like the effect though I can see the addictive quality of it also, you know almost becoming the lens flare effect or such that new Photoshoppers get hooked on.

My first thought when I saw this and the Photomatix website was that I want to see a film made using the technique. I really really want to see a film made using this method. That would be awesome.

Love the super-realism of it.

comment by Poornima at 02:01 PM (GMT) on 4 March, 2006

whatever this HDR technology is it sure is amazing, and so are ur pics.

comment by Mike at 04:59 AM (GMT) on 5 March, 2006

this is definitely one of my favorite chromasia pics... *sigh* tis lovely

comment by evpatoriya at 11:45 AM (GMT) on 9 March, 2006

Wow Wow Wow. Very nice. Thanks for this work

comment by xen at 05:20 PM (GMT) on 11 March, 2006

I find this technique reminiscent of hand painted 19th century daguerreotypes. It's an interesting experiment but could very quickly become stale and clichéd. The exemplar shown here however is already a compelling capture, the application of HDR rendering the look of a vintage postcard bought in a local antique shop - fun but not particularly daring and somewhat derivative as a result. Perhaps with subsequent attempts you'll find more imaginative uses...

comment by Mitch at 11:32 PM (GMT) on 16 April, 2006

Hello, I've worked with HDR in the past and achieved excellent dynamic range but, if you don't mind me asking what other workflow techniques did you use for the surreal, cartoon/canvas painting feel?

comment by Azhar at 09:10 AM (GMT) on 25 June, 2006

Let me have the 100th comment!
Absolutely stunning!

comment by Phillius at 08:01 PM (GMT) on 16 August, 2006

after an hour and a half of browsing and reading this has to be my favourite shot, breathtaking!