This Morning

I actually got out of the house before dawn and headed towards the east river.  The biggest problem was that the darned cat wants to follow me wherever I go and I can’t leave my front door open for that long – after all it is New York.  I usually let him hang out in the hallway at the top of the stairs, but to get out of the house without him following me is a chore.  I finally ended up doing something horrible – spritzing water at him to drive him back into the house but it took a while.  And by the time I made it to the river the sun hadn’t quite gotten above the horizon but the lights on the bridges were off.  Bummer.

Nevertheless, this was my first chance to shoot something with a high dynamic range, and bracket it properly.  We’ll see if I got anything out of it.

Now the fascinating thing was that by the time I got home, maybe an hour and a half later, the cat had forgotten all about his spritzing experience, and greeted me as if it had never happened – whereas I was still feeling guilty about it.  He comes up to the frozen tripod to sniff it, then rubs up against my leg, and when I sit down on the bed to turn on the news, he jumps up on my lap and purrs happily.

I don’t think dogs are like that.

Well, you might not care about that – so hang on a bit and I’ll post some pictures if I got anything good this morning…  But it was sort of funny, since it was fairly overcast, and I was just walking around looking for stuff with shadows or highlights, and everything was just flat, flat, flat.  It’s definitely a different head.  It’s a similar feeling to walking around with the infrared camera – i.e. you really are looking for specific tonal qualities and if you’re lucky, you may even get an interesting composition.  But these techniques, both force you back into trying to imagine what shots are going to look like, which is what I like about both techniques.  You’re shooting digital, but you’re thinking like there’s film in the camera.

Oh yeah, and if you are going to be shooting 3 or 6 shots of one subject at a time – uhm – better have a fair amount of digi-space with you (remember, I lost most of my CF cards, and only have one 4 GB CF card right now).  And if you are going to do this with 18 or 21mp – uhm – well you see where I’m going.


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

2 thoughts on “This Morning”

  1. Dave,

    I think HDR is just another tool which is fine as long as it’s not taken too far. I’ve posted a few pics here that were greatly improved with a little HDR. HDR shots from a distance can look more like paintings than photographs as they share the same dynamic range. I mean, when was the last time a painter tried to record the world the way a digital sensor normally sees it?

  2. Yep. Absolutely true. You’re watching me as a put my big toe in the water. Right now, to go with the metaphor, I can see the HDR water has a strong undertow, and you can easily be pulled out to sea if you aren’t careful 🙂

    It definitely helped when I needed to do the very large high contrast shot for a client. It’s one of those things, where if I were to post the client image (of a street sign) I’m not sure that anyone would know it was HDR, just that it all looks pretty sharp and has a good tonal range. But it doesn’t have HDR written on it.

    At the same time – I am into crossing the line – just so that I can look back at the work later and see where I went too far. So hang on for the ride.

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