<<< o >>>regulation darts 45 comments + add yours

My apologies for not posting recently but things have been hectic over the last few weeks; i.e. far too much work to do, and not enough time to blog - and it's going to be much like that for the rest of this month. And in the scale of things that's a lot better than having no work, but right now I'd settle for somewhere between the two extremes :-)

Anyway, I found some time to wander down to the North pier today and decided to shoot some HDRs. Most of them probably won't work out (for one reason or another) but I like this one, not least because it's a completely over-the-top use of this technique.

As always, your thoughts and comments will be gratefully received.

Oh, and I haven't posted the EXIF data but all the shots were taken at 16mm and I used a seven shot sequence with a 1 EV spacing between them.

3x2 + HDR + piers [North pier] + fylde coast [scenic] + no print
comment by Bill at 08:22 PM (GMT) on 11 June, 2008

Reminds me of a surreal cartoon and please do not take it as negative criticism.

comment by Tim at 08:41 PM (GMT) on 11 June, 2008

I love it. The OTT HDR is completely in keeping with the subject matter. Very good indeed.

comment by E y e V i s i o n at 08:49 PM (GMT) on 11 June, 2008

Nice one with tons of details. Probably it's not even photography on this level but digital art or something. I'm looking forward to see some of the others.

comment by djn1 at 08:53 PM (GMT) on 11 June, 2008

Bill: I can't think of any reason I'd think that was a criticism.

Tim: thanks.

E y e V i s i o n: I've just finished looking through them, and two of them nearly work, but not quite. If I get some time over the next day or so I'll re-shoot them both.

comment by YETi at 08:59 PM (GMT) on 11 June, 2008

I know sometimes it works for some images and not for others but the over the top treatment you have given this image works for me.

comment by Jennifer at 09:00 PM (GMT) on 11 June, 2008

Good in a scary sorta way - not to my taste as you know, but glad to see you post again - thought some major disaster had befallen you. Glad to hear you're busy - do I smell a new lens ;-)

comment by Andrew at 09:10 PM (GMT) on 11 June, 2008

Outstanding image. I just can't stop looking at it. Great tension, color and texture.

comment by Dave Feltenberger at 09:37 PM (GMT) on 11 June, 2008

I like this image - the sky is very imposing. It's a great contrast to the stuffed animals that hang there innocently.

The only critique I might offer is the uneven luminance in some areas - parts are light and parts are dark where one would expect it to be the same (see the red sign and beach behind it and the onion dome). With Photomatix tonemapping I've seen this happen when the local contrast is set very high with a low "smoothing" value, as well as when the luminance slider is set to a relatively high value. It seems Photomatix isn't quite smart enough to apply tonemapping smoothly in certain scenarios. You, being well-versed in Photoshop, could probably figure out a better way, but one way to get around this "uneven-ness" is to tonemap a less intense version and blend it with a mask in the uneven areas.

comment by DedicatedRR at 09:45 PM (GMT) on 11 June, 2008

Wow...this photo is great piece of art!

comment by Steve at 10:18 PM (GMT) on 11 June, 2008

beautiful photos!!! Really great shots and very very nice motives!

I would like to invite you to http://www.wpdb.de and upload some of your photos, so that others can use them as wallpaper and enjoy your photo every time they look on there screen!
It would be great if you take a look. Its a complete free service for everyone! (You can also put a link in your profile, so that this link will be published next to every published photo!)

Best Regards,

comment by djn1 at 10:35 PM (GMT) on 11 June, 2008

Jennifer: no, not even a sniff of one :-)

Dave: I know what you mean about the uneven illumination, and how to avoid it, but in this instance it doesn't trouble me; i.e. the scene is already surreal so I don't think the 'lighting' detracts from the image as a whole.

comment by Minh at 11:36 PM (GMT) on 11 June, 2008

Perfect backdrop for a videogame of some sort.

comment by Mayuresh Patil at 11:49 PM (GMT) on 11 June, 2008

Hello David,

I don't if you have heard of games like Quake or Doom. When I look at this photo, which is simply stunning, I feel like I am in middle of a game and I want to take the path around this place and find something. The teddy bears have such a nice 3d look to them that I want to grab them. Did u intentionally colorize the yellow bears?

Great direction, David

comment by djn1 at 12:06 AM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

Mayuresh: I used to play Doom quite a lot, and am also familiar with Quake, so no what you mean. As for the bears: it's not so much that I colourised them, rather I partially desaturated the rest of the image. The net result is the same though.

comment by MarkDM at 01:04 AM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

I want to hate this because of the clouds, which are just too much for me. But you did such a beautiful job with the booth, the pier and the buildings in the background that I kinda love it.

comment by Lucas at 01:23 AM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

definately looks like a scene from Max Payne, however i thoroughly enjoy the subject

comment by chris at 01:55 AM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

best picture fucking ever

comment by Paul at 03:55 AM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

I'm in a minority of one here, I hate this. It's like a million other HDR monstrosities I've seen on flickr. Search for Kriss Kross and you'll see what I mean. Please lose the HDR bug soon Dave and get back to your usual great material.

comment by kate at 04:16 AM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

Oh yeaaaaaah. Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove this. In case you didn't figure it out, that was an HDR high five. :)) this scared the hell out of me and i loved that it did like i love watching spooky movies under a big blanket with a big bowl of popcorn.

comment by jkm at 05:15 AM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008


comment by Mark at 07:29 AM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

Magnificent! So overboard it works. I'm with Mayuresh here; it's like seeing a still from Quake or some other shoot 'em up.

comment by E y e V i s i o n at 07:57 AM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008


How do you decide if a series of 7 or 9 photos work as an HDR image or not? Do you process them all or you know what to see on the raw files? I'm just curious...

comment by Mad.Photo.World at 08:59 AM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

Im guessing high contrast, low smoothing and luminosity cranked up ... just a guess :)
Im not really a high speaker of these types of HDRI, but sometimes they work - think this is one of those that works. At least as art.
Im not happy with the dome part of the building, i think it blends in too much with the sky. I like the smile on the teddy bear with boxing gloves on and also i took me a while to realize theres a person in there. My Polorrose plugin does not pick up his face, but it tells me theres a face in the sky ....

comment by yue at 09:40 AM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

it's overly done and not even pleasant to look at, can't understand why so many people love it.

comment by Jesse Moscoe at 04:26 PM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

Looks like a dream I had. Very powerful image. Amazing!

comment by Ramyar at 04:48 PM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

somtimes I hate HDR ... It's not cool !!

comment by djn1 at 07:47 PM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

Thanks all.

Mad.Photo.World: mid smoothing and luminosity cranked up, so you're not far off :-)

E y e V i s i o n: I tend to shoot seven frames using auto-bracketing and then use enough of them to make sure that I've covered the dynamic range of the original scene; i.e. no blocked shadows in the lightest shot and no clipped highlights in the darkest.

yue: the great thing about photography (or any other art form) is that it's subjective; i.e. people like it because they do, or not.

Ramyar: not cool? Why not?

Oh, and I do have one more to put up from the same trip, but doubt I'll manage to get it finished this evening. If I don't I'll post it tomorrow.

comment by fabrizio26265 at 09:43 PM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

awesome and surreal. I simply adore this hdr shot!

comment by Brian at 10:57 PM (GMT) on 12 June, 2008

Very dynamic scene you have there, the HDR makes it so surreal! Great work.

comment by Roy at 07:33 AM (GMT) on 13 June, 2008

This gives a great impression of the unseasonal north winds we've been getting this week - send it in to the BBC weather blog!
Good use of the saturation tool in Photomatix also; without that faded look it wouldn't work as well, IMO.

comment by tony at 08:52 AM (GMT) on 13 June, 2008

Ugh - very garish. 'Ordinary Beauty' is the way to go!!

comment by andy tuba at 03:13 PM (GMT) on 13 June, 2008

@minh I looked at this and immediately thought "American McGee's Alice."

It really does look computer-generated (not just processed), especially the safety belt thinger on the left.

comment by iwan at 03:19 PM (GMT) on 13 June, 2008

I personally find that this is taking hdr too far, and always do once a photo has lost touch with reality, no matter if there were abstract intentions. I'd rather see this effect created with paint than pixels.

Always easier to critise than complement so I apolgise for not offering my opinion each time I've been blown away by your shots...
...this I can imagine seeing with my eyes but could never capture with a lens.

comment by Dis Course at 05:57 PM (GMT) on 13 June, 2008

[...] Unmanipulated "straight" photography can hardly be claimed to dominate the modern uses of photography. Consider, for instance, the following photographic practices. One is Soviet photography of the Stalinist era. All published photographs
were not only staged but also retouched so heavily that they can hardly be called photographs at all.

[...] The logic of the digital photograph is one of historical
continuity and discontinuity. The digital image tears apart the net of semiotic codes, [...] modes of display, and patterns of spectatorship in modern visual culture -- and, at the same time, weaves this net even stronger. The digital image annihilates photography while solidifying, glorifying and immortalizing the photographic. In short, this logic is that of photography after photography. (Manovich)


*Personally, HDR images do not work for me. I've tried them myself and concluded that they don't speak my visual language. That said, the future may well make us more accepting.

comment by Claus at 06:25 PM (GMT) on 13 June, 2008

Wonderful processing, you have really made a nice thing look very evil!! :-)

comment by djn1 at 09:15 PM (GMT) on 13 June, 2008

Thanks all.

comment by cako at 01:32 AM (GMT) on 14 June, 2008

Beautiful colors and processing. Great work !

comment by Matt at 08:08 PM (GMT) on 15 June, 2008

Sorry David but I find HDR like this awful. I think it utterly destroys the shot. I generally love your work but this I don't. Sorry.

comment by djn1 at 08:14 PM (GMT) on 15 June, 2008

Matt: there's no need to apologise, these aren't to everyone's taste. What I could add though, is that without this technique there wouldn't have been a shot - all you would have been either a well illuminated kiosk and a blown out sky, or a correctly exposed sky and a mass of shadow in the foreground.

comment by Raina at 06:00 PM (GMT) on 17 June, 2008

very cool! Love the color treatment.

comment by Steve at 10:41 PM (GMT) on 17 June, 2008

this has been taken too far for my liking.

comment by Mike at 01:25 AM (GMT) on 21 June, 2008

Another fantastic image. Well done! Looks like half illustration and half photo. Love it.

comment by Jason Dale at 08:17 PM (GMT) on 1 July, 2008

Hi Dave, I don't comment too often but I visit regularly however when I see a shot that stands out above the rest of your work (which can't be easy as it's all superb) I tend to let you know and I just love this shot. Yes it is HDR'd to death but it just looks fab! I think the subject and location add to the shot and those bright colours against such a terrifying sky really adds some mood like a good horror film.

comment by Timothy West at 01:51 AM (GMT) on 7 November, 2008

kidof sinister and scary... great emotion.... i need to learn how to do this..

comment by Suzanne at 10:16 PM (GMT) on 4 March, 2010

wow, amazing image! its whimsical meets dramatic ... love it!