Tag Archives: HDR

Tuesday Viewsday: HDR Test Drive

As any self-respecting New Year resolution-maker knows, it’s not a real resolution unless it’s broken by mid-January. Well, I already broke one of my resolutions: adding more posts during the week for all of you to read. But, now that it’s been broken, it’s time to repair that mistake so here we go.

Test Drive

What would a “behind the scenes” blog post series by yours truly be without a HDR image? I took this photo during an urban landscape photowalk last year. When you’ve been a photographer in the Peoria area, you will find that the same locations become the standard for public photowalks. This is especially true for the Peoria riverfront and warehouse district areas.

Test Drive

Don’t get me wrong; this is by no means a bad thing, but simply an observation. This is probably true in most of the cities throughout the world; we all get stuck into ruts as photographers in a particular area, but as any good photographer will tell you, there’s a great photograph within 10 feet of you no matter where you are standing.

So, with that in mind, I always take it upon myself to explore new angles and views of locations that I’ve been to time and again; if you push or challenge yourself, you can start to see things that weren’t there before or that you  might have missed along the way.

Anyway, during this one particular urban landscape photowalk with the Peoria Flickr group, my good friend, Stacy Hanna, and I decided to explore new alleys and city blocks that we hadn’t yet been to. We were lucky as we discovered a whole load of new things to photograph and new locations for possible portrait sessions later. One of the lucky finds was the truck you see in this photograph. When I saw it, I knew a HDR image was definitely in order – there’s no better way I know of to capture the colors and textures that a rusted vehicle has.

In addition to being a HDR, I also knew I wanted to use my ultra-wide lens to really accentuate the length and height of the truck. As you can see, it really forces the perspective to “stretch” out the front of the truck. I think it also helps to distort the moving clouds near the top and the wheels near the bottom of the image.

What do you think? What works in this photograph? What doesn’t? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Tuesday Viewsday: Hanna City HDR

Uh oh… triple X… guess we’re going to be a little naughty for today’s post! No, don’t worry; nothing like that, I promise. Instead of looking at an image from the past few years, let’s take a look at one I shot this past weekend during the Hanna City Work Camp HDR workshop.

For those wondering, the workshop was a total blast and those who attended really learned a lot, even if there were some computer difficulties there near the end. In the days since our excursion to Hanna City, I’ve seen a whole load of new HDR images in the Flickr streams of attendees and have received some really great questions about the process, which always means good things; I believe that curiosity truly is the mother of creation.

As for the site, Hanna City Work Camp is an abandoned detention facility located just west of Peoria. For an HDR shooter, this place is truly heaven; even the students were begging to stay for a few more minutes when we left. I hope to return there in the spring and our faithful guide, Rick, was more than kind enough to let us come shoot and said we can come back anytime.

HCWC is now maintained by Peoria County (a special thanks to Jenny at Peoria County for all her amazing work arranging the site for me), but it has a long history; starting off as a radar station for the Air Force, it eventually became a detention center for juveniles, then for adult prison trustees with less than six months left on their sentences.

In the years since, the radar was purchased by the FAA and is still used to this day, but the funds to keep the facility open were diverted elsewhere and now the County maintains the property until such time they can look at a proper use for it in the near future.

Until then, it’s a photographer’s paradise loaded down with abandoned buildings, broken windows, peeling paint, rusty metal, and loads of litter scattered throughout; when I imagine the Rapture, this is what it looks like as if everyone just left in a hurry and didn’t care what happened when they left. Simply put… it’s awesome.

So what do you think of the shot? What do you like or not like about it? I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

HDR Workshop – September 12

Better Days

Better Days

A few months ago, I was approached by a local photography group to present a workshop on my high dynamic range (HDR) techniques and I jumped at the chance.

I love shooting and processing HDR images and I love sharing my knowledge with those around me so why not combine those two things together and help others experience the joy of photography that I do?

Well, after some initial planning, the group decided that a HDR workshop wouldn’t bring out the crowd they were really hoping for and they dropped the idea. I, however, felt like I was being challenged and became even more passionate about the idea of holding a workshop here in Peoria. I knew I wanted to do something unique especially when it came to the location so that attendees had something to remember and images they couldn’t get anywhere else.

I called in a favor with one of the many contacts I’ve made in the marketing industry and after some back-and-forth, I was able to get special access for us to shoot at the Hanna City Work Camp, a former minimum security prison and juvenile detention facility located west of Peoria that was recently sold to the county by the State of Illinois. Let’s just say that with all the rundown buildings, tall grasses, barbed wire fences, and guard towers, this is surely to make for an awesome HDR class.

Want to know how you can get in on the fun? Check out the details…


Date: September 15, 2012
Time: 4 to 8 p.m. (meet at 3:30 p.m. at Campustown in Peoria)
Location: Hanna City Work Camp & classroom TBD
Fee: $25.00 (only 8 slots open as of this writing)

Full details are available on Flickr.

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