Tonemapping in Central Park


The best thing (for me) that came out of the hdr experiments, was the tonemapping tool in Photomatix.  I have created a monochrome preset that seems to work very well for converting raw images to b&w.  The shot above is an old one – done with the Rebel something or other in 2004.  If I were making corrections in Lightroom, there would be a bunch of gradients, and other techniques for dodge / burning areas.

This comes straight out of the tonemapping program.  Yes, you could then use it as a starting point and fine-tune this and that in Lightroom or Photoshop.  But essentially, the tonemapping (and I did two prints for customers today using it) gives this excellent control over both overall contrast and tonality, as well as “micro” areas of the image.

You can setup presets to give different effects depending on the source image and what you want to do with it.

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Original “flat” version “zeroed out”


Default Settings in Tonemap (Photomatix)

Let me try this again because I wasn’t clear about the whole workflow to do this shot.

1. In Lightroom, I have a preset.  It sets the curve to linear.  It zeros out all the attributes.  And it uses the calibration that I like, which is faithful.  This produces a very flat image.  Next to no contrast.  Nothing dropping off the edges of the histogram.

2. Then I created a preset for this type of input image in Tonemapping.  It brings up different areas at different contrast levels etc.  I call it Monochrome 1.  I have two other presets, one for images that are coming in too contrasty, and one for images that are just too flat.  But I am not fusing three images together, though the preset will work as well with them.  And I am not creating two virtual images.  It is one image.

The problem that I have with multiple images is that if anything is moving – tree branches, ducks, etc. the result is not pleasing to me, i.e. not the normal blur you get from using one image.  On the other hand – if the initial scene really is contrasty, and nothing much is moving, or your shutter speed is fast enough, then fine – combine them and then tonemap them.

Here are the tonemapping settings for this monochrome image.


I’m not saying that this will work for all images, or that I will always use it as is, but it is a good start for both my 5d raw images that I want to go to monochrome with, and my 40D and whatever the early Rebel was called.  The idea is to try and give the tonemapping program all the data you can.  You may be able to make all the changes you need with tonemapping, or it may be an intermediate step and you’ll import it back into Lightroom or Photoshop.  But the point is, it surprised me how well the program works for dealing with both flat, and high contrast images.  And of course – it’s another reason why you always want to shoot raw if you care about what you’re shooting.  It’s just that you never know what piece of software is in the pipeline, or how a new converter may be able to pull more detail from the highlights than your current one.

Anyway, I don’t mean to do a commercial for Photomatix.  I haven’t compared it with other programs as it works.  And you can download it and like most software try it for free.  Tonemapping is just one part of the program.  Obviously the main parts are for creating HDR images.


Photoblogger society

Well there was a big flourish of applications when I first made the announcement but so far I only have 12. Photobloggers lined up.

This is not surrprising because it is something new. It is a bit confusing as to what is going to happen, you are asking bloggers to give up one post to another photographer and as I stated photographers are by nature self absorbed and not joiners.

Of course I share these faults.

It is also possible that I haven’t done enough yet to publicize the idea.

On the other hand 15 is enough to start with.

I just thought that given the benefit there would have been more interest

I have had steve r. Test it with blogspot. Works fine, though even with his proging background he was surprised by the results.

I suppose it would help to be seen, and to remember that Rome she was not built on a day.

Become Your Dream


Someday I’ll put all my ‘Become Your Dream’ shots together.  De La Vega lives nearby.  I’m not sure that this one is his… no fish.  Of course the guy, who was making a delivery to a nearby bar sees me.  Not everyone did.  In fact he was the only one that noticed me shooting through the hole.  28mm f11.  I was just a few inches away from the board.  Generally the 28mm is too short for me, but I always have it with me and here it comes in handy.

I also did some shooting at H (3200).  I don’t know if it’s this particular camera, or if my eyes are going, but in a well-lit spot where I tested, I didn’t think noise / grain whatever you call it was bad at all on the 5d.  To my eye, better than 1600 on the 40D.  In other words – you can use it, as opposed to the higher end ASAs on other cameras I’ve had that I would never use.

The Other Side of the Dream


Keepin' Up With Weber

What follows is an example of how the Photobloggers Society can pull posts from another photoblogger and have them appear in your photoblog. In this case, it is the worst scenario in that Matt Weber’s pictures are huge! But still, nothing that terrible happens. Code can also be supplied so that you just see links and text and the images aren’t there, but that sort of ruins the effect.

For more on the Photobloggers Society read this post:

I could pick other sites to do as well except that the ones I know are doing well (which is how I know them).

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i love ny


“Behind every beautiful thing,
There’s been some kind of pain.”

The more pain, the more images are filled with loving sentiments.  The poorer the community, the more churches.  And the lower the person is on the economic scales of the big city, the happier they are to be the center of attention for a few minutes.  Nobody here is going to tell me that this mural is private property.  Unless you are unlucky enough to point your camera at drug runners and lookouts, you will generally find the same sort of welcome you’d find if you wandered into a Mexican village.

It was close enough to lunchtime for me to buy two burritos from her (they are in the big pot that she pushes around in the shopping wagon) with some white rice and leaned against a rusted car enjoying the meal and exchanging smiles with her.