Before the Coffee

June 24, 2008

Many Thanks

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

A special thanks to all the readers of my book, you made me number 1. May you capture the full range life has to offer!

I knew that photographers would begin to see HDR as a tool that offers a wide range of looks. Many of us, including me, labeled HDR as too surreal and felt it would be a fad. Well now, photographers are learning that HDR can offer a more conventional look; HDR images can look like a single shot AND offer lower noise in the shadows with captured highlights.

Here is an email I received last week from the publisher of my book:

Just thought you might like to know that your book is #1 on BookScan, which is the data base that keeps track of all books sold in the US. Your book is outselling every other photography book in the country right now!!!


Haley Pritchard
Photography Books, Editor
Lark Books 


If you are interested in a personalized autographed copy of my book drop us a note or call:


June 16, 2008

Jordan Page

Jordan Page is a musician from Annapolis, Maryland with a title song called Pendulum. His music has been inspired by his passion for social change throughout the world. His lyrics are powerful (from Pendulum):

The pendulum swings from the left to the right and momentum increases the need for the fight
It’s a moment of blindness in a lifetime of sight
& I am lost somewhere the middle
and it became clear that putting him in front of a clock with the pendulum swinging would support the lyrics.
Working with Jordan on this project has been very uplifting, inspiring me to be more aware of how my choices in life affect the entire world, starting with my own inner world.
Here is his myspace page to hear some of his music

This image is a composite image made from one HDR and 10 single images. Here’s the breakdown:

1. The Jetty and water is a single image.
2. The grandfather clock is an HDR image.
3. Jordan’s pic was taken in the studio with a 3 light setup.
4. The sky was intended to be an HDR image but the -1EV image did the trick, tone mapped.
5. The birds were photographed from the jetty on a different day – a high shutter speed was the main objective.
6. The airplanes are models that were photographed at a local hobby store.

The jetty and water didn’t need much treatment, only curves and a color gradient was added for effect.

The grandfather clock is from a local store with a $3750 price tag. I asked the clerk if I could set up a tripod and take some shots, “no problem.” I merged 3 images (-2EV, 0EV, +2EV) in Photomatix. The clock was in perfect condition so in Photoshop I decided to mess it up. I added some cracks, broke off a corner, rotated some of the wood in the cabinet (top), broke the counter weight loose and laid it sideways in the cabinet. Then I added texture from a pic of clay I had.

The clock got some final treatment to depict the passage of time. I moved the clock hands around the face and created a swinging pendulum.

When Jordan arrived it was certain right away he had to be wearing the “Trust Me” shirt. Then he pointed out that the bottom of his shoe said “world.” So now we have a message, “Trust Me, World.”

The lighting for Jordan started out as a 6 light setup and after some testing I decided it was too much light for that shiny head of his. The final setup was a reflector back left and back right for rim lighting and a ringflash at the camera. I used a bronze background for better blending with the clock.

The sky started out as HDR from 5 images then I found I was happiest with just using the -1EV image and doing some curve adjustments on it.

The warplanes were taken with flash held near the camera at the hobby store. I took a bunch of shots and left just before I wore out my welcome. Selecting the warplanes from the background turned out to be tedious work but I finally got it.

Thank you Christina Buffington and Jordan Page for making this a successful project.

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