Before the Coffee

March 21, 2008

Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography

Filed under: HDR — Tags: , , , , , , , , — beforethecoffee @ 10:34 am


It’s an exciting time for me as the culmination of 2 years of HDR field testing and processing is released in my new book: “Complete Guide to HDR Digital Photography.” The book is written for photographers who want to learn HDR and then progress to advanced techniques in the field and computer processing. Categories of scenes are explained to help the photographer recognize when a single image will suffice verses the need for an expanded image set to capture an extremely high dynamic range.

Many HDR topics are explained in detail including camera setup, HDR software comparison, advanced image analysis, post-processing HDR and single-image tone mapping. Sections of the book also include HDR for architecture and panorama photography. The HDR book also includes a newly introduced technique of using flash with HDR, called Flash Merging.

“Complete Guide to HDR Digital Photography” also includes 5 contributing HDR artists’. The artists are internationally recognized for their work in HDR and can be seen on the Flickr photo site. They include the international traveler Trey Ratcliff, Asmundur Thorkelsson from Iceland, Valerio Pandolfi from Italy, John Adams from Florida, and Domingo Leiva from Spain.

For those that are interested, Flash Merging is done with a single camera strobe used off camera. I use the Nikon SB800 and move around the scene taking exposures with the strobe held in a different position. The image set is then blended using “Exposure Blending” in Photomatix. Of course the book goes into all the details on Flash Merging but you can at least start experimenting with Photomatix. You are welcome to use my coupon code for a 15% discount on the Photomatix site, “beforethecoffee”

March 16, 2008


Filed under: Model, people — beforethecoffee @ 3:26 pm


March 11, 2008

Carlin is WOW

Filed under: Model, people, Studio — beforethecoffee @ 4:56 pm

This is Carlin’s first shoot and I must say I am thoroughly impressed. She knows how to bring it! Her poses are spot on, her expressions are perfect and intensity is amazing. I will be helping Carlin as much as I can but if you know anyone or have contacts that will help Carlin launch her modeling career then drop me a note.

I am hosting a flickr meetup group at the studio the end of March. Carlin will be there and if you are coming you won’t be disappointed.



March 8, 2008

HDR and Realism

Filed under: HDR — Tags: , , , — beforethecoffee @ 11:02 am

It’s pretty obvious from a quick glance at HDR the “look” is quite different from a conventional single shot. But what’s going on, why is it different? The issue is that HDR images (specifically tone mapped images) are capable of showing tone reversals. Areas of the image that we perceive in the real world as the brightest are no longer the brightest in the tone mapped image.

The HDR tone reversal look is most evident when the image includes the sky. Tone reversals are not so obvious in scenes that do not include the sky and are usually more successful when tone mapped to extreme levels. If you are not quite enamored by the full blown HDR look there is an answer. Blend the single shot image with the HDR image. It allows you to have the best of both worlds – realistic lighting (single shot), low noise, open shadows and controlled highlights (HDR).

Here are three version of an image: Single Shot 0EV, HDR image and 50-50% blend of the two.




March 1, 2008

Got Milk!

Filed under: HDR — beforethecoffee @ 9:58 pm

No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk but you do have to make that call home….

Uh honey, ya know how I drive that truck for a job? Well I won’t be doing that anymore.


Isn’t it annoying when you go around a turn to fast and your milk truck flips over. Not only do you spill thousands of gallons of milk but you piss off hundreds of drivers, cause the cows to have to work overtime, and have to stand around for hours while they figure how to upright your truck.

This happened in one of those traffic circles just outside the neighborhood where we live. To see my other pics click on the small thumbs on the right, it takes you to my flickr page. Also, my email is ferrellmc [at]

Think about how much you would charge to upright this truck, then triple it. What’s the number? 4 guys, 2 trucks, 1 hour = $9000.00.  I know what you’re thinking……..we’re both in the wrong business.


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