Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Interior Challenges

I've managed to get out twice in the last week with my camera, which is quite rare for me at the moment. As I wrote about on Thursday, I shot some pictures at the Bear Hotel in Hungerford last Wednesday, and yesterday I waltzed on down to Basing House in Basingstoke, to take some pictures of the Sealed Knot Civil War reenactment there. It's been a few years since the last pictures I took of a civil war battle, and this year through up some new challenges and opportunities. I'll speak more about that on Thursday though!

For today, I have another picture from the interior shoot at The Bear last week. I am far from finishing these pictures, but am pleased with the way they are starting to turn out. Doing these interior shoots is all still a learning experience for me at the moment. One of the key challenges I come across is what to do when you have a very bright scene outside coming through a window. One option of course is to frame it so you don't include the window, but this may ruin the chance of a great angle or perspective. People may think it is no problem if you use HDR and therefore bracketed shots, but I don't think it is as easy as that. For instance, if the room is bright enough that you only have to go to a  +2 exposure to cover the dark shadow areas, your finished HDR image will look odd if you have to also go to -4 or less to cover the highlight areas, which could easily be the case with a blown out window.

Long time interior design photographers could get round this problem with lighting the main area to balance it out with the window, or leaving the window area as blurry and burn out, which is actually quite common. Masking in the original RAW file is very difficult when you have a heavily framed window such as this one, and may not 'fit' with the tone of the rest of the picture. Therefore, I went for a little blown out, mixed with some detail. The important thing for me is to include into the picture, so that it doesn't take your eye away from the main focus, which is the main room area. Whether I have succeeded with that at the moment I can't tell, but it is certainly a challenge for me to ponder and work more on in future.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Bear Hotel Hungerford 2014

Whilst the sunshine in the UK was surprisingly pleasant yesterday, I was up at the historic Bear Hotel in Hungerford, capturing their recently furbished interiors. Perhaps not the best day to pick to do an interior shoot, but it was fine with me. The excellent light outside gave me excellent light to work with inside.

I have many photos to go through and process but here is an early result from my shoot yesterday. I was inspired to capture the main restaurant from this angle, as I saw a sepia photograph hanging on the wall in the restaurant, which had obviously been taken decades ago. The room looked slightly different then, there used to be a bar where the blackboard area of the photo above is, but the picture itself was all the inspiration I needed to produce a 2014 'update'.

This is an HDR image taken from 3 exposures, post-processed in Lightroom, Photomatix and Photoshop.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sherborne Cottage

Every now and then I do something a little different on this blog, and I'm sure today's picture qualifies as that. It is always my objective to add a little artistic flair to my pictures, and this is normally achieved using HDR techniques, which I am very fond of. Today I have gone for a watercolour presentation of an English cottage, which I created in Topaz Simplify 4. There was also a lot of additional work done in Photoshop to 'fix' issues created in Simplify.

I have had the original photo on my hard drive for a little while now, but was inspired to create a watercolour version of this photo after seeing various paintings of summer cottage scenes. Though it was actually February when I captured this picture, it was taken on a bright sunny morning, so was able to give it that summer look (albeit the bare tree on the right).