After taking a little time away from the computer, I’d like to go back to the Oregon Coast and share some images from my workshop with Rick Sammon, Alex Morley and some good friends.

Lighthouses were on the menu from the start and we headed out to Yaquina Head to see the lighthouse out there. It’s pretty nice, sitting high on a cliff, warning sailors away from the rocks and rough water. The lighthouse was interesting, but the light, not so much. I won’t call it bad light, because as Jay Maisel in his book, Light, Gesture & Color says, “There is no bad light. There is spectacular light and difficult light.” This was definitely difficult light, leaving everything kind of flat and evenly lit. Photographers don’t like harsh light that gives extreme highlights and black shadows, but we like something between that and flat.

As digital photography came into its own, some technologists came up with a way to manage difficult light: High Dynamic Range or HDR. HDR has been the subject of controversy and arguments for a long time. The conflict has finally settled down and most photographers now use HDR software to combine several images into one. The idea is that we expose for the harsh highlights to get detail there, then expose for the dark shadows to get some information in those images. We generally take anywhere from three to seven images and combine them with the HDR software. So I took one image.

Luckily my Nik HDR Efx Pro software has a solution for that: It does tone mapping on one exposure. I took these two images through HDR Efx and here are the results. The big complaint about HDR in the early days was that the contrast was over the top and the color saturation was extreme. I didn’t like that too much, but when the software developers started finding ways to control the contrast and allow the photographer to adjust saturation, we could start getting some pretty ‘natural’ looking HDRs.

Because these images are single-shot tone mapping, they have some of the high contrast that early HDRs had. But in these images, I don’t mind it so much. In fact, I kind of like them. See what you think. (Click on the images to see them full size and in the right color space.)

 

Yaquina Head Lighthouse Reflection.

 

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

 

 

Yaquina Head Panorama.

 

Yaquina Head LH pano

Yaquina Head LH pano

 

More to follow,

Bob