More Beauty to Photograph
The first snowfall of the season dropped approximately 4-6 inches of white stuff on our beloved Lewisville, providing a myriad of subjects to photograph. As the sun began to break through parting clouds, the best direction to point my camera toward was typically westward. Snow-covered yards and homes facing east were bathed in poignant morning light. The scenes were a delight to my eyes — and visual food for my hungry camera!
After arriving at snow-draped Shallowford Square and photographing it from various viewpoints (see Serenity at the Square), I continued making my way through downtown Lewisville.
Residents were beginning to emerge from their homes to experience the beautiful snow for themselves. Couples were walking together, and individuals were out with their dogs. I found them all to be just as intriguing and beautiful to photograph as the stately snow-covered homes I’d been photographing.
Check out a few select photos of Lewisville homes and residents in the Lewisville Snow photo gallery.
What’s the Verdict?
Here are the two images in close proximity — before and after applying HDR.
It’s good to hear opinions on this matter. This seems like a subjective issue to me, plus I think the choice of whether to use HDR depends on how the image is being used, and for what purpose.
For instance, if you’re aiming for a more artistic rendering, the HDR definitely goes more in that direction than the non-HDR image.
Now that you’ve seen both images together, any additional thoughts?
This resolute walker was rapidly moving along Lewisville’s main thoroughfare. All the components of the image came together: the lighting, the background, the colors, the movement and the expression. I liked the photo and decided it would be a good candidate for moving along with my HDR experiments
I first mentioned using the HDR technique on the photo of this old car, and I’ve since applied the HDR technique to several other photos. (If you click on the “HDR” tag at the end of this post, you can see other photos to which this technique was applied.)
What is HDR? It stands for High Dynamic Range. Some experts also refer to it as HDRI, or High Dynamic Range Imaging. Here’s a short definition, taken from The HDRI Handbook, by Christian Bloch:
High dynamic range imaging is a method to digitally capture, store, and edit the full luminosity range of a scene.
The key phrase in the definition is “full luminosity.” What you get with HDR is an image that contains all (or at least most) of the tones that actually existed in a scene, ranging from light to dark. Ordinarily, when the tones in a scene range from very bright to very dark, the resulting photograph ends up with compressed tones — not a good thing — because the camera sensor (or film) is incapable of capturing the complete range of tones within a single exposure. But HDR allows you to achieve a much greater range of tones in a scene, and therefore yields more detail and can sometimes look surreal.
In addition to using HDR on this photo, I also applied other Photoshop techniques to it. The resulting image has a very dynamic and energetic look to it that really appeals to me.
What do you think about HDR? Do you like it, or is it too exaggerated for you? I’d be interested in hearing from you.
Although they live in Winston-Salem, you can often see Betsy McNichols and her father, Col. Robert F. Steidtmann, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), age 92, walking around Shallowford Square. Betsy says the short drive to the Square and the fairly level terrain there make it an ideal walking location for them. The “1938″ emblem on the Colonel’s hat commemorates the year he graduated from Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.
Update on 4/23/10: Earlier this week, I spotted Betsy McNichols walking by herself at Shallowford Square and learned that her father passed away on September 11, 2009 at age 93. Col. Steidtmann was buried in a family plot in an old cemetery in Lexington, Virginia. (General Stonewall Jackson is buried just up the hill from the Colonel’s grave.)
Col. Steidtmann served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II at Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Guam — and later fought in the Korean War, earning the Legion of Merit with valor for “Exceptionally Meritorious Conduct.”
The weather was beautiful the day the Colonel was buried. And, Betsy said, just as beautiful was the sight of more than 10 U.S. Marines in full-dress uniform standing at attention near the gravesite. Betsy knows her father would have been proud of the service, which included a 21 Gun Salute, with Taps played by a sailor in dress whites.
Betsy still lives in Winston-Salem, but she continues to walk around Shallowford Square regularly as a tribute to her father.