Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Home in the Valley

This is a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image.  It doesn't look like a lot of HDR work you see out there.  It doesn't have that grunge look that many photographers produce and has been fairly popular for awhile now.  After a pretty short time that look gets a bit old for me, though it depends on how well the artist uses it and to what end, I guess.  I work in TV and video production and have for over 25 years.  HDR reminds me of what sometimes happens in TV when a producer falls in love with effects.  Like this:  One of my business partners was producing a marketing video and pretty much lost the audience because attention was lost to the anticipation of the next effect.  Wow!  What a ride!  What was that about, again? Some HDR work seems overcooked and I lose the subject, comp, colors (literally, sometimes), etc., to the effect.  I don't mind a little cooking, mind you, but I think many times a little goes a long way. 

In this image I was going with a more natural look from the HDR process, pulling in some of the shadows and highlights.  As a bonus I got that sky, though I did a bit of work on it to optimize the gradation.  I've shot this scene several times at different times of day with varying success.  For me, this version works.  The little valley and house are located just outside the town of Graeagle, Calif., in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 
Just so happens I have a home in Graeagle (actually a townhome in a mountain vacation-type development overlooking a beautiful valley near these mountains).  The place is lousey with photo ops, I just have to remember to get up earlier or party later, if you know what I mean.

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