<<< o >>>plant in operation 43 comments + add yours

You'll be pleased to hear that I have a straight shot to put up tomorrow, but in the meanwhile here's one more HDR image. This one is a bit more typical of the genre and demonstrates quite clearly how these images have a much more evenly distributed tonal range than normal photographs yet the local contrast (the red sign for example) is still quite pronounced. Take a look at the histogram for this image and you'll see what I mean.

Also, a few of you have asked me about the workflow for these shots: basically, I convert the RAW files in ACR, import them into Photomatix, generate the HDR file, play around with the tone mapping setting until the image looks reasonably close to what I'm after, save the tone mapped file, and finally, open this image in Photoshop for final editing (Curves, colour adjustment, noise reduction, and so on).

On another matter: John is having big problems with the domain registration for johnwashington.co.uk at the moment but you can still access his site at the following address:


Hopefully he'll be up and running at his usual address shortly.

1x1 + Blackpool Tower + HDR + piers [North pier] + fylde coast
comment by frans (the netherlands) at 09:08 PM (GMT) on 27 February, 2006

great shot again, I love the fact that you try diferent kind of things with your photo's, for example this thing with making HDR images. It keeps your work very interesting to see.

Keep up the good work! It's great to see the variety of interest you have making photo's.
I think you inspire a lot of other people, including me.

comment by frans (the netherlands) at 09:09 PM (GMT) on 27 February, 2006

p.s. sorry for the bad English

comment by Sharla at 09:16 PM (GMT) on 27 February, 2006

I've not commented on the other two but I have been most facinated with them. You've chosen excellent subjects for your experiments and the results have been spectacular.

There is the illustrator quality of them that I view favorably but would want to learn how to avoid to get more realistic shots when desired.

Today's is quite interesting but it does not have the magnitude of the two previous.

Please experiment as much as you like. I trust you to dive in and dig until you reach the corners. That could shorten my learning curve significantly! ;-)

Access probs yesterday (my side, not yours) prevented me from posting my message.

I think it interesting that the comment about getting more realistic shots seems to have been anticipated and addressed today!

A great series. Thank you.

comment by Brett Admire at 09:24 PM (GMT) on 27 February, 2006

Great HDR series... I've been doing alot of research on these types of shots... and I enjoyed yours.. nice work

comment by Brett Admire at 09:25 PM (GMT) on 27 February, 2006

one thing.. whats ACR?

comment by ryan at 09:30 PM (GMT) on 27 February, 2006

great focus, especially the sand right around the sign!

comment by Chris Yakimov at 10:23 PM (GMT) on 27 February, 2006

These HDR images have all been very cool. They have a comic book sort of feel to them that hints of things unseen. Super inspiring!

comment by Kristyn at 11:13 PM (GMT) on 27 February, 2006

Great colours and I love how the subject is on its side. DOF is great as usual.

comment by alan at 11:51 PM (GMT) on 27 February, 2006

I love the composition here... DoF, the sign, the pier under the leg of the sign...

The last few images have really got me intrigued and inspired to do some experimentation. I certainly understand some of the opinions and concerns about realism, but it seems to me a legitimate editing decision that produces dramatic and spectacular results. However, I can think of specific scenes that photogs spent hours lighting to get a specific result that could be accomplished with this technology and technique - and be done in a manner that is not quite as far out there. These images are really smashing. I'm anxious to have some time to shoot, download and experiment with some images of my own.

comment by Otto K at 11:56 PM (GMT) on 27 February, 2006

Terrific HDR images. Wonderful colors and DOF.

comment by Free Spirit at 12:22 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

I love the images you've been putting up lately - but I have to ask what HDR, RAW and ACR stand for?

comment by ojorojo at 12:51 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

I think the Photomatix effect on this photograph works better than yesterday's. Tested the software and found it amazing. I posted my first HDR picture today, not as good as your first one, of course, but I'll keep trying.

comment by RyanT at 01:14 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

While I wasn't crazy about the last one, this one I like. It seems the HDR process was used here just to enhance rather than the extent you took the last one. Or maybe not and 'm just being indecisive. Whatever the difference, I like this one better.

comment by peter cohen at 01:25 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

If you go around knocking over construction plant warning signs, you will surely go to hell when you die. Or perhaps before.

comment by Robert at 01:33 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

There's a bit of humor in it -- the sign is knocked over and footprints march right past. Maybe they were too polite in saying "please keep out."

Nice tonal range too-- what, doing something a bit different than normal with the last few?

comment by Ashish Sidapara at 01:43 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

Looks great!

comment by Andre at 02:00 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

Love the artificial DOF... Great job with the balance of colours mate!



comment by andrew at 02:36 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

More lovely colors, and a nice uppercase, punctuation-free, run-on sentence.

comment by Jason Ertel at 03:02 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

David, I really like these HDRs. However, since they don't include any of the exif info, would you mind adding/commenting on it?


comment by tbone at 03:39 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

I love it keeps geting better every time

Please look at my photoblog at http://wisconsinpics.blogspot.com

comment by Matt Greco at 03:50 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

Very nice. I love the colors and the depth.

comment by Sharla at 04:11 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

Several questions relate to these acronyms. Since David is probably snoring about now, I'll give some help.

HDR: High Dynamic Range, 32-bit/channel format (instead of 8-, 12-, or 16-bit) One article here.

ACR: Adobe Camera Raw, a program in PS CS and CS2 for processing and converting RAW images. The CS2 version has been improved over the previous version. There are a few books on Amazon here that deal just with this program. (I don't know about other cameras, but you have to be cautious with Nikon that it doesn't overwrite the file that loads ACR. Otherwise, you get a very simple version.)

RAW: Sometimes called the negative of digital photography, it's literally all the raw data that the camera stores about the pic: every pixel, everything. David always shoots in RAW. Different algorithms can interpret that information differently, akin to sending your negatives to a processor - who knows what may come back. Using the algorithm in your camera to produce a JPG allows the camera to choose what your photo will look like. In a program that handles RAW, like ACR or C1, you can adjust the exposure, choose a different dynamic range, adjust color and many other aspects without losing near as much data/channel when the pic is imported to PS comparted to importing a JPG. The data per channel is important so you have a lot more "room" for editing.

Hope I said all that right. This information seemed necessary for some to follow the discussion so please excuse my "use" of someone else's site, especially someone that I respect greatly. You'll have to use these basics for your own research. I won't answer anymore questions - promise.

comment by Duane at 04:52 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

You really start to wonder.... where did that sign come from??!

comment by 蒋磊 at 05:03 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006


comment by Carter Rose at 05:03 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

this is a great subject mater for an HDR image. I think this one is leaning more towards using it to enhance an image rather than creating one, and for that I prefer it to the ones you had posted before. I have nothing against the heavy manipulation but I feel this type of image has more long term workability. Nice work.

comment by Ahamed at 05:27 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

This one is interesting because it doesn't immediately appear to be HDR. The detail in the scratches on the sign really contrast well with the softness in the background.

comment by Fellow Eskimo at 06:05 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

Did you actually buy the HDR softwear, or are you just using the trial functions? Also...doesnt Adobe CS2 do the same thing? (almost?) I liked the first shot the best, then this one...not very partial to yesterdays. Keep up the good work dave!

comment by PlasticTV at 07:52 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

Well Dave, let me save you the trouble of looking to Babelfish, what 蒋磊 said above was:

Advice: Honestly speaking, i've been seeing your work for months. i feel that your style is rather monotonous, i.e. placing an object before the lens and blurring out the background. There are many similar works.
Hope: More imagination and more works of even higher quality.

Now for my own comments: i love the dreamy look your HDR images always have. But i still prefer your people portraits. They are more involved and emotional. :)

comment by Ellie at 08:30 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

I love this, its more 'you' with the DoF making the tower out of focus. I like the irony of the sign too! This really shows how HDR can add to an image rather than change it.

comment by SteveO at 09:48 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

This is really nice Dave, the HDR effect looks a lot more natural here even though it is clearly visible (especially from the histogram). Cracking shot.

comment by sil at 10:16 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

I like how the sign really stands out of the backgound. The punching red is also very attractive. Well done .)

comment by nuno f at 11:30 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

Thank you for the workflow on how to achieve this kind of images. It's funny how this photo differs from the last ones. You've used the HDR technique but it seems that it only affected the background. In the foreground, The HDR technique was used to enhance the colors of the sign.

By the way, was the sign in that position or did you put it that way?

comment by pierre at 11:53 AM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

I like this a lot, very in line with your style

comment by smo at 01:14 PM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

This HDR series of yours is totally great and inspired me to do some experimenting with it as well. I especially like the colors in HDRs. And you choose fabulous locations for your images.

Keep up the good work.

comment by Rob at 01:37 PM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

Very pleasant scene, great DoF and composition - this one looks considerably more like a "normal" photo than yesterdays HDR

comment by Darren at 01:45 PM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

Interesting results. I like the end result images even if they do look slightly unreal. The effect is pleasing to the eye (well to my eyes anyway).

comment by Annabel at 02:21 PM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

That's some plant. It's grown well hasn't it!?!

comment by JELIEL³ at 03:13 PM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

How many objects can there be on a beach?

No Matter those pictures are great.

comment by Patrick at 06:09 PM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

Well I'm not happy you'll have a "normal" shot tommorrow, I'm quite enjoying this series. Just one question: On average how many exposures make up one HDR image?

comment by Gonzalo at 07:23 PM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

Great Blog. I found it today and now is in my bookmarks! Nice pics and compositions. Congratulations.

comment by djn1 at 07:55 PM (GMT) on 28 February, 2006

Thanks everyone.

Jason: I haven't put up the exif info as it's not entirely relevant, Suffice to say that the four shots that went into producing this one were all at the same aperture with the shutter varied by one stop for each exposure. That said I've been re-reading the photomatix user manual and it suggests a spacing of between 1.5 and 2 stops per exposure so I'll probably go with that next time I shoot some.

Sharla: thanks for the definitions of HDR, ACR and RAW.

Fellow Eskimo: yes, I bought it. And you're right, CS2 does do much the same, but I don't have a copy - I have CS.

PlasticTV: thanks for the translation, and I'll get back to some people shots soon.

nuno: the sign was in that position by the time I got to it ;-)

JELIEL³: a lot of stuff washes up on our beaches. Normally the council are pretty good at getting it removed, but there's often something worth photographing, especially around the piers.

Patrick: it depends. As many as it takes to cover the full dynamic range of a scene.

Gonzalo: welcome :-)

comment by Gary at 02:37 AM (GMT) on 1 March, 2006

excellent series on HDR

comment by oz at 05:29 AM (GMT) on 1 March, 2006

Viewing this as a photograph commenting on environmental damage, the image doesn't evoke sympathy. for me anyways. But I do like the close up of the sign-- and the background makes me think of a 'Disneyland'esque industrial world