I am not a fan of most HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos. It can be an interesting effect, but it's too often overdone. The resulting photo just doesn't look real to me. Thankfully, the growing trend now is to use HDR to get a more realistic looking photo, avoiding the over processed look that is usually associated with the technique.
Guitar Player, Waynesville, NC - 2015
(Click on photo to enlarge.)
The above photo was taken at dusk in very dim light. The original photo was not only a little under-exposed, but also a little soft due to both camera and subject movement at a slower shutter speed. While experimenting with different techniques to come up with a decent photo, I came up with this HDR looking effect. My initial reaction to this version was, "Way overdone!", but then it began to grow on me. The fact that it is obviously over-processed seemed to work with the subject in this case. Another example of "There are no rules in photography".
One of my photos made the cover of the Smoky Mountain News this week. A photo I made back in 2013 of local Civil War reenactor Jule Morrow was selected for the feature article on the last days of the Confederacy in Haywood County. The article was based on an interview with Morrow, who is quite knowledgeable about local Civil War history. I have photographed a few battle reenactments involving Morrow's unit over the past few years, and I was asked by his wife, Stephanie, if I had any photos that might be suitable for the article. I submitted three, and two were chosen to use with the article, including this one on the cover.
Pick up a free copy before they're all gone, and read an interesting slice of local history. It's a good article, and the photography ain't too bad either. It's been fun walking by Smoky Mountain News boxes around town this week and seeing one of my photos peeking through the window. (Click on photo to enlarge.)
I still experiment from time to time with the style of photography popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries often referred to as pictorialism. These photos had a softness to them, while still managing to preserve the details. It's frustratingly hard to reproduce with software. Just using a blur or soft filter doesn't work without much tweaking. I don't often get exactly what I'm striving for, but it's fun experimenting.
You have to get down low to get a photo of these low growing, tiny flowers. Since bluets usually grow in very moist areas, I was glad for live view, and a tilting LCD to compose this one. I used to have to lay on my belly and look through the viewfinder to get shots like this. Photography is quite a bit cleaner nowadays.
We're finally getting a real and lasting spring in the western North Carolina mountains. For the past couple of years, it seemed like we went from winter cold to summer heat in about two weeks. Although a bit rainy, this spring has been really nice temperature-wise.
We had a Sunday afternoon without any rain yesterday, and I didn't let it got to waste. I took a hike along the East Fork of the Pigeon River in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area. It was great weather for hiking, and the time spent along the roaring river was very relaxing after a rough week at work. There's just something about the sound of rushing water that does wonders for a man's soul.
I saw a variety of early wild flowers, including trillium, showy orchus, and bluets. It was the dogwoods, however, that are stealing the show at present. Their white blossoms against the bright green of springtime foliage is a real head-turner in our forests right now.
Dogwood In Bloom, Shining Rock Wilderness, NC - 2015