Sometimes, they look cool, at other times, a bit over-saturated and fake. But when a High Dynamic Range image is done “properly,” I think they look really cool.
To make things a touch more challenging, I went on a hike and shoot in difficult lighting conditions. I headed over to Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham, Wash., to see what I could find.
As we’ve had some really good rain the last few days, and warm temperatures in the high country, the rivers and streams have been really roaring.
Whatcom Falls was really tumultuous. It reminded me of the Roaring Fork River in the Colorado high country, though I wouldn’t want to kayak in this turmoil.
Walking through the park, I happened upon some railroad tracks. They crossed over the river, but they were ancient and falling apart. Remnants of the disappearing age of rail.
Using my D300s and 80-200 f/2.8, I threw on my ND64 and Polarizing filters. This gave me exposure ranges in the seconds. And from what I’ve read, using a tripos was paramount as it made merging the bracketed exposures easiest.
After taking various exposures and differing compositions, I moved on towards some of the falls.
One part of the water was in sunlight and the rest was in shadow. Difficult light to capture a well exposed image.
The churning waters of the falls was light by the sun. So white lit by direct sunlight is pretty much at the top of the exposure scale. What was in shadow were the darker rocks and mosses. Extreme indeed.
With camera on tripod, I experimented with 15 sec to 1 sec exposures. I hoped the moving water would add to the effect.
If not, It would make an interesting image. So I climbed on some boulders to get a better angle. Nothing like being a few feet from rapidly gushing water.
The thunderous vibrations of the rushing waters traveled through the boulder I stood on. It was amazing.
I had a few weird looks as I stood there taking photos. Especially since you had to climb on top, and over a lot of mud.
After downloading them, I simply used Photoshop’s HDR imaging plug-in. The automate > HDR Pro.
I used the raw NEF files in 16 bit mode to merge. After some adjusting in the HDR Pro plug in, the images opened in Photoshop. From there I did some final toning, mainly curves, and a touch of sharpening.
The end results of the two attempts are what you see here.
Thanks for reading