Posts Tagged ‘Photomatix’

Wednesday, February 17th 2010

My Three Best Photos 2009

I was leafing through my photos in Lightroom, rating all the ones I hadn’t rated during the last year.

Rating photos is really hard! Well, that’s food for a whole post on its own.

Anyway, this gave me the idea to try and find my three very best shots from 2009. Having gone through all the photos and starred them from 1 to 5, I had at least narrowed down the choice to 44 five star photos.

My three favourites are all composites of several exposures. They were all taken using a tripod. Two were shot in very familiar surroundings.

Eiffel Tower panorama

This panorama of the Eiffel Tower is, in my eyes, easily the winner. Even though it is quite probably the worlds’ most photographed object.

Panorama of the Eiffel Tower

The Flickr 1024 pixel size doesn’t really do it justice, so if you have a large screen you can see it 1800 pixels wide here.

It might even be my best photo ever. I really like the blue light in the sky and how it mixes with the orange glow of the city. I guess part of it is also being happy that my planning and lugging around my tripod actually paid off. 🙂

I took the panorama from the top of Tour Montparnasse, which I highly recommend if you’re visiting Paris. You get an arguably better view than from the Eiffel Tower itself, and only have to battle a fraction of the number of people.

This is a slight crop from a panorama made of nine vertical shots stitched together using Autostitch. I have bumped the colours and contrast slightly.

Dandelions at sundown

The second shot is this tonemapped image from a field by Kronskogen here in Eskilstuna.

HDR dandelion in sunset

I really like the green colour of the grass and the glow from the sun. The out of focus oak in the background also adds to the score.

I took this using my Gorillapod, which is great for getting low angle views like this.

Vaksala Church/Jan Jansson’s family grave

This third shot, of Vaksala church and churchyard in Uppsala, has a lot similarities with the previous one even though it is taken in the middle of winter. This is also tonemapped, and taken from a low angle using my Gorillapod. It also has a low sun in the background.

HDR of Vaksala Church, Jan Janssons family grave

Here I like the bare trees, the grave stone, the cold blue sky and the low sun rays on the frost.

Conclusion

This was really fun! If you like taking photos, I really encourage you to have a go at finding your three/five/ten best photos from last year. It really gives your ego a boost! 🙂

Do post a link in the comments if you do!

Runners up

Here are some more shots I considered:

24723-24725 - HDR

23046 - 2009-05-13 kl 20.03

22560-22562 - HDR

24154-24160 - Panorama

Tuesday, September 1st 2009

Summer photos from Söderhamn

We spent one week at my parents’ summer cottage in Söderhamn. Plenty of stuff to take photos of.

24972 - 2009-08-06 kl 19.50

24975 - 2009-08-06 kl 19.53

24999 - 2009-08-06 kl 21.52

25087 - 2009-08-07 kl 19.31

24759-24761 - HDR

24822 - 2009-08-04 kl 14.54

24697 - 2009-08-03 kl 17.41

24711-24714 - HDR

24723-24725 - HDR

24682 - 2009-08-03 kl 17.20

24771 - 2009-08-03 kl 22.47

Wednesday, August 19th 2009

Summer photos from Jämtland

I’m finally back from a long and great summer holiday. I’ve had close to seven weeks off work. One week was spent in Jämtland with Jenny’s mum, visiting the places she grew up.

Jämtland turned out to be quite a pretty place. We did a few hikes, two of which took us to the tops of some mountains. (1100-1200 meters high, so nothing very extreme.)

Here are some of the photos from our Jämtland visit:

23971 - 2009-07-27 kl 14.47

24004-24006 - HDR

Sunne kyrkoruin.(Triple exposure, handheld HDR.)

24115 - 2009-07-28 kl 13.07

View of lake Storsjön from mountain Drommen.

24372-24374 - HDR

Pool of water near the top of Österfjället. It looks smaller than it really is. Can you spot my brother-in-law? (Triple exposure HDR, using my Gorillapod.)

24359-24361 - HDR

1200 meters above sea level. Apparently you’re supposed to bring a rock from the bottom of the mountain to put on top of this stone … thing. (Used my Gorillapod for this one too.)

24154 - 2009-07-28 kl 13.49

No shortage of trees in Jämtland. I took this photo as part of the panorama below:

24154-24160 - Panorama

24189 - 2009-07-28 kl 15.02

While the tops of the mountains were very bare, they could be quite green and lush further down.

24306 - 2009-07-29 kl 17.44

We went fishing one day and caught a small brown trout in this small forest lake.

24381-24383 - HDR

This was also on Österfjället … these photos seem to have ended up a bit jumbled.

24615-24620 - Panorama

This was … somewhere. No idea. Five vertical shots stitched together using Autostitch.

Saturday, May 30th 2009

Kronskogen, Eskilstuna

Felt a sudden creative urge yesterday and headed out to Kronskogen. Nice light and some nice dandelions.

23396-23398 - HDR

And a slug.

23442-23444 - HDR

23427-23429 - HDR

And some Lilacs in the garden.

23360 - 2009-05-29 kl 19.59

Friday, May 15th 2009

Eskilstuna shots

Some more shots from my last photo hunt.

Nybyggda hus på Hamngatan i Eskilstuna

Fairly new buildings on Hamngatan.

Tulpaner i Fors kyrkopark, HDR

Pretty Tulips in Fors kyrkopark.

Eskilstunaån, HDR

Eskilstunaån, or Eskilstuna river if you wish, with the local heat plant in the background.

The first shot was made from three bracketed exposures using my Gorillapod. The last two were done the same way but hand-held. Slight movements between the three shots don’t matter because Photomatix can align the features of the photos when making the HDR image.

Friday, January 2nd 2009

More HDR shots of Uppsala

A few more HDR shots from the same photo walk as the previous ones.

This is the big cinema in Uppsala, Filmstaden. I only needed three bracketed shots to get the dynamic range here, since the sky wasn’t that bright above the houses.

SF Filmstaden, Uppsala (HDR)

And here five shots, taken about two hours after the photo above.

SF Filmstaden, Uppsala (HDR)

This is Islandsfallet, from which the river is deep enough for boats to sail south to lake Mälaren.

Islandsfallet, Uppsala

Thursday, January 1st 2009

Kvarnfallet, again

It’s beginning to feel like I’m repeating myself … Couldn’t resist to take a few more pictures of Kvarnfallet last time I went shooting in Uppsala.

Kvarnfallet, Uppsala

I used my Gorillapod to fasten my camera to the iron fence that runs along the river, keeping the shoulder strap around my neck as extra security. Didn’t feel like loosing the camera to the ice-cold water below.

I probably looked weird to the people passing by … but hey, that’s photography.

Upplandsmuseet vid Kvarnfallet, Uppsala

For this last shot (which really was the first) I used the grey (ND) filter I was given for Christmas. Very useful for this kind of stuff to get nice long exposures.

Kvarnfallet och Upplandsmuseet, Uppsala

Thursday, December 4th 2008

Musikens hus i Uppsala

Två HDR-bilder jag tog i helgen på Musikens hus, eller som det egentligen heter, Uppsala Konsert och Kongress.

Musikens hus i Uppsala

Musikens hus i Uppsala

Wednesday, November 26th 2008

Tjuvstart

Friday, November 21st 2008

Köpmangatan

I was off work today, so I went out at dusk to grab some more HDR photos. I had a few ideas of what to try. They’ve put up the Christmas lights all over town, so I thought I would see how they looked tonemapped.

I went into town at about two pm, thinking I would be there just before they switch the lights on. (It starts going dark at around 2.30.) It turned out I was a bit early and stood freezing for almost an hour.

Köpmangatan, Eskilstuna, tonemapped

While I was waiting I took some shots when the sun went down. The sky was rather dull so I didn’t think they would be very interesting. But I’d say they turned out at least as nice as the shots I got with the Christmas lights later on.

Köpmangatan, Eskilstuna, tonemapped

When my toes were about to fall off and I couldn’t cope with waiting any longer, I went to the paper where I work to get my core temperature back up to normal.

Just as I was about to head off again, they switched the lights on. So I set up my tripod in the middle of the cycle path (why are the best places for tripods always in someone’s way?) and got a shot of Nybrogatan.

Nybrogatan, Klosters kyrka

I also got a few of the main shopping street, Kungsgatan.

Kungsgatan, Eskilstuna

I finished off back at Köpmangatan where I started. I tried making them as saturated as the first ones, but that didn’t really look good. So I went with fairly muted colours instead.

Köpmangatan Eskilstuna, HDR

Tuesday, November 18th 2008

Playing with Photomatix

Klosters kyrka i HDR

During the weekend I got my hands on Photomatix and have started experimenting with it.

For those who didn’t know, Photomatix is software for combining over- and underexposed shots into artistic-looking HDR images.

In the Flickr community, there seem to be basically two camps. Those who love Photomatix and those who hate it. I’ve always been somewhere in between.

The program allows you to create really eye-catching images, but they will look nothing like real life. If you just accept this fact and see these overcooked HDR images as an artform slightly beyond photography, then you can have loads of fun making them, as I’ve now discovered.

Also in defense of Photomatix (not that it needs it) is the fact that far from all photos treated in Photoshop look real either.

Bostadshus i solnedgången i Eskilstuna i HDR

Yesterday I went into town just before sundown with my tripod to see if there was anything worth pointing the camera at. The photos above and below are a couple I came away with.

I’m slowly beginning to learn what all the sliders in Photomatix do. There are a few more than I had reckoned and they don’t all do what you expect them to. The key ones seem to be strength (obviously), luminosity and light smoothing as well as the tone settings (gamma, white point and black point).

Eskilstunaån och Fors kyrka i solnedgången, HDR

Seeing how much fun it is to make these images, you’ll no doubt see more here in the future…