The journey along the coast of Maine (and a peak behind the HDR process)

“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.” – Dwight Moody

Not really sure what all that is about, but as I searched for motivational or inspirational quotes involving lighthouses, I came up a bit short!

So you think I might know a thing or two about this location, lighthouse, or beach but I’m drawing a bit of a blank here. I’ve been listening back to a few rambles of audio clips I created along the journey recently (its kinda strange how I like to record these clips during my explorations and listen back to them later, but I am a strange bird I guess) and you would think I would have mentioned a few pertinent details. The majority of the rants however are about bad drivers, cynical views about humanity, and brainstorming sessions about things I may or may not get to in my future. Geeez, I am really going off on a tangent here……now what was I talking about?

Oh yeah…..nothing really. Perfect. I’ll start with that then……

Permaquid….I think. Permaquid lighthouse. Sounds good. Might be wrong… fact I’m sure its wrong, but sounds perfect…..for now….(by the way, that sounds a little like my recordings!) Maybe I’ll share a few clips someday….embarrassing as they are.

So, as I have shared before, these images don’t just happen with the click of the shutter. They may soon someday as the camera sensors catch up with the dynamic range of light that the eye sees, but until then, its HDR processing to the rescue. I intend to share a few detailed tips here on the blog, or perhaps an all new blog someday. Since I mentioned it, what types of tips and tricks would interest you? That is of course if you are still here after that silly ramble earlier. If you are still here….then lets forge ahead, shall we?

It all starts with a scene. I like these mid day high contrast, extremely harsh, why are you out in this insanely bad lighting, mid day scenarios to test the system. A series of bracketed shots to collect all the lighting detail in the extreme shadows of the rock and the bright highlights of the sky and your done. Well, done in the field that is. After a few varied angles of capture whilst attempting not to fall over and get swept away by the Atlantic surf, its time to bumble a bit up the coast.

Several months go by and I decide to cook up the batch of images in Photomatix on a late evening under the warm glow of candle light……and whalla, or whaula, or woalla,    (sorry, hoping spell check was gonna bail me out here)

Enter the result from Photomatix……

I have a few base tonal mapping setting presets I like to start with to get started (a bit redundant isn’t it?) After a little experimentation, I hit process. So after the above image comes out of the cooker, I season it a bit in Photoshop to get the resulting image at the beginning of this post. A little curves adjustment, sharpening, vignetting, and Nik Filter adjustment layer, and were all set!

While we’re chatting a bit here about HDR, I’ve had pros in the biz tell me (with heated debate) that this “HDR stuff” is just a fad. Silly silly perspective I think. Kinda like calling water color or painting with acrylics a fad. Actually, that rant is a post for another day!

More to come soon, so check back. I am starting to come out of the virtual cave that I find myself in here illuminating events here in South Florida. As the season winds down, I hope to get caught up on a few ideas I have up my sleeve, so until then……remember to enjoy your artistic passion, whatever that may be!

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