Sunday, October 27, 2013

Village Life Poland

Another example of 'hyper-realistic' HDR, as I blogged about yesterday. Unlike yesterday's photo though, I did not 'hyper' the sky as well. It's dangerous territory I think to apply a global effect to any post-processing technique (sharpening being another example), but of course there are pictures it will work for.

This is from a village just outside Wroclaw in Poland. My wife does not actually like me taking pictures such as this of her home country, as she thinks it represents Poland in a way (she thinks) most people think of, which is under-developed and poor. Having been several times, I can promise you it is not like that, but in fact I love these old rustic buildings, that are so hard to find in England. They lend themselves so well to HDR, as there is so much detail to capture. Therefore, another good candidate for a hyper-realistic (must stop using that word) look.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hyper-Realistic HDR

Creating 'hyper-realistic' HDR photographs has not really been a forte of mine. Hyper-realistic means going beyond creating a realistic photograph (HDR or otherwise), and taking it into something perhaps a bit more extra dimensional. Critics tend to cause this style 'over-cooked', meaning they have taken the HDR too far. This criticism is completely justified in many cases, but I think the hyper-realistic look is one of the key looks of HDR pictures, and encourages many photographers to give it a try.

I have tended to go for a look that uses HDR techniques, but still tries to give the photo a realistic look, and not providing an image that was an unrealistic representation of the scene. However, I have tried my hand at more hyper-realistic techniques recently, to give a particular scene more edge, and yes something beyond reality. In another sense, going for a bit more detail in architectural pictures. It is important to note that the hyper-realistic look is not suitable for all HDR scenes, and I will certainly stick to my usual HDR techniques for landscape scenes, away from an urban environment.

This picture was taken on the Oxford photo walk recently, and the idea as stated above, was to give it a look perhaps beyond reality (even though of course all the details were there when I took the picture). 

I hope you like it, but in any case, let me know what your thoughts are on 'hyper-realistic' HDRs.

Friday, October 25, 2013


This is undoubtedly a party I am arriving very late to, perhaps even to the point where all the other guests are leaving. However, having finally acquired an iPhone in the last month, I have added a new tool to my photographic repertoire - mobile phone photography.

When I was lured (completely willingly) into photography 3 and a half years ago, mobile phone photography was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to get the best possible images I could, meaning expensive cameras and editing software. I had been noticing though, the advances that were being made on the photo apps market, and whilst not willing to buy a phone just to have a go, now that I own an iphone, I have waded into the thick of iphoneography.

I have 3 camera apps for my iPhone - 1) Snapseed - The best, the king, the one I could not do without. It was created by Nik Software (now owned by Google), which is basically all you need to know with regards to credibility. 2) Mextures - A relatively new app I believe, based primarily on adding textures to your iphone photos. It's pretty good but only gets used occasionally in conjunction with Snapseed. 3) Camera+ - I used this app once after downloading it. I don't like it, never use it, and have no further intentions with it.

It's important to get straight, that though an iphone can take great pictures, it is not a patch on any DSLR camera (which of course it is not intended to be). I will always continue to take out my D700 for  the very best quality. What an iPhone can do though, is provide great images, whilst being a constant companion, being right there in your pocket. There has been more than 1 occasion recently (look at the black and white bridge image above for example), where I have thought 'what a shame I don't have a camera on me', only to then remember, I have a pretty good camera in my pocket.

The other good thing about iphone photos, is that once edited, they are easy to upload to Twitter, Facebook, or any other platform you wish to share them on.

Hope you like the selection of photos above and below, plenty more iphoneography to come!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Meat Specialists

I had planned to blog some pictures from the Oxford Photo Walk (part of the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk) sooner, but there has been a new addition to mine and my wife's household; a little Cockapoo Puppy called Chester. We bought the little fella a week ago, and he has given me a very exhausting week. I have never had a dog before, so this is all a new experience for me, but am thoroughly enjoying being a dog owner. Naturally, everyone who meets him falls in love with him, so we can't wait until we can take him out walking in the big wide world (in less than 2 weeks after his 2nd vaccinations).

Back to the Oxford Photo Walk though, and this easily qualifies as my first photo walk with a large group of people. It was led by Glyn Dewis, and he organised a fantastic walk and event in general, and though it is perhaps a cliché, I can honestly say I met a great bunch of people. Meeting other keen amateur photographers, plus the opportunity to visit sights in Oxford I would not have thought of myself, made the day very worthwhile. Looking forward to going on more!

One part of the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk are the competitions, and though I am not really motivated by these things, I decided to enter the picture above nonetheless (taken in the Covered Market in Oxford). Whether it is the best picture I took on the day, I don't know, but it is one of the few HDR's I took that day, and ultimately, that's what I do.

Sticking my neck out a bit now, but I have so many photos to post that are fully developed, that I do anticipate being much more active on this blog from now until the end of the year.