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Posts tagged ‘Montsalvat’

Up for Discussion – HDR Photography

Love it, or hate it, it seems to be everywhere at the moment, and has been for the last couple of years.  I did my first HDR image back in December 2011.  I believe this was the first HDR image I put on the blog.

schealesville_hdr1It would have been done with Photoshop, I didn’t get software for doing HDR until later.  I look at it now, as I do most of my early attempts at HDR and just cringe.  The colours are over saturated, they have a very surreal effect to them.  I am not sure that it is what I was after at all.

These, as I said, HDR is everywhere, some are good, some are bad.  I’m not saying which, but I thought we could talk about it here.

So what is HDR?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range.  The idea of it, well my understanding, is that it will take the bright areas of an image and the dark areas and make an image that looks more like what we see with our eyes.  If you have an image, that has a very bright sky in it, behind a building or something like that, and when you take the photo the sky just takes over and everything else, like the building end up black, or a silhouette the an image like that is perfect for HDR.  You would take a series of bracketed images, so all taken at different exposures.  Then software like Photomatix Pro would take all those images, and make the best possible image.  I don’t know how it does it, but the dark areas will have detail and the light areas won’t be so blown out.

Let me show you in pictures.

This is the main dining hall at Montsalvat.  It is a very dark room.  You can see that looking at it now you can see what is out the window, but you can’t see what is inside.

This is the last photo of the bracketed shots, you can see a lot more detail inside the image now, but everything out the window is all blown out.

This is what the HDR software did to the images.  You can see both inside and out now.

When I first started doing HDR, I would make every image one.  I don’t do it anymore, and actually hardly seem to do it much now.  I find myself using single images, or if I do do a HDR I will only use part of the image.

When I look at images these days, I can nearly always tell if they are HDR, there are little things that give them away.  There is often a grayness to them, I’m told by Victor that is a lack of contrast.  There are often Halos, though halos can come from other things, but most often it is with HDR.

Victor Rakmil has written a post just recently on HDR Photography which you might like too.  He goes into the technical aspects of it more than me and gives more detail about what HDR is.

We were discussing it the other day, and something came up that I think is very true.  We think processes first and subject second, rather than trying to work out what is the best way to process an image to show the subject as its best.  It is something we can get bogged down with.  Rather than looking at a subject and asking if it would be better as a HDR, it is easier to just do it, regardless, which is where I used to be.  Now days, I’m more likely to still do the HDR, but then I compare it with just one image that I think is exposed correctly and ask myself which I think is better.  Often the HDR image is deleted.  The subject in the image always has to come first and then what is the best way to process it so the subject looks its best.

I’m coming down with a cold, so my brain is a bit scattered and I hope you can understand this post.  I just wanted to give you my views on HDR and explain it a bit better for people who don’t understand what it is.

Do you do HDR images?  What software do you use?  Do you do it for every image?  If you don’t do HDR then why?  Do you do HDR and then combine it with other images?

These posts are a great way to share knowledge, so please contribute.

I will approve them, as long as they are nice and not nasty in any way.  I am travelling home today, so I won’t be able to respond today, but I will try and get to them when I get home. I will approve them from my phone.

Feel free to respond or reply to other comments.  It would be good to generate some discussion.

The Evolving Continues

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how I wanted to start doing some new work, compositing images.  I have slowly started planning some work and experimenting with that.  Then last week I showed you a wedding photo that I had done a composite with, changing the background.  So this week I finally got around to going to Montsalvat in Eltham to take some photos that I could use for compositing.

I have to be careful with these photos, I had to pay $22 an hour to be allowed to take photos and I am only allowed to use them here. So I took some photos and will try experimenting with them, but I am still deciding if I would ever use Montsalvat again.

LeanneCole-thea-montsalvat_1666The background was taken at Montsalvat in the big room above the Great hall.  These windows are so gorgeous and the light coming through was lovely.  I have some plans for the images, but I need to photograph my model first.  I really wanted to try compositing one, so I got one of the images I took of Thea in my class last Saturday and tried to composite her into the image.

I am not sure the image really works.  It was a difficult one to do.  Thea was sitting on some steps outside and the light was quite bright.  I had to work a lot to tone that down.  I did take a quick image of one of the girls sitting on the lounge and used that for reference with the light.  I like the idea of it, but if I was going to do one for real, I think I would dress her differently and plan the shoot with the background image in mind. I am reasonably happy with how the actual compositing went and I did learn a lot doing it.

LeanneCole-briony-1710I asked my daughter to kneel down and pretend she was praying.  I like the composition, couldn’t resist doing this image.  I took other images of this without her so if I want to try and get someone in it that is more appropriate I can.

I thought I would show some of the images that I got to try compositing with.  I am not sure if I will use some or all or none, but this is what I got while I was there yesterday.  I will include the above images as well.

ReWorking the Great Hall

The Long Tables - OriginalThis image was first done May on a trip to Montsalvat at an Artist Retreat in Eltham, not far from me.  This is the Great Hall.  This image isn’t bad, but I was never really happy with the greyness in the window.  I do like the setting and thought I would use it today to redo.

The Long Tables - ReworkedThe view out the window is certainly much better in this.  I did reprocess the HDR in Photomatix Pro. I have gotten very used to how that software works and what I can do with it.  I then did some processing with Topaz Adjust 5, really just added some detail, which has made the image more textural. Well, I think it has.  This image was a lot more saturated so I desaturated it a bit.  The image was darkened and the table and floor were lightened so your eye would be drawn to the window and outside.

There are aspects of both that I like.  The first one shows more of the room, whereas the second one has more atmosphere.  One is an architectural shot and the other more an art image.

I also had to attempt doing it in Silver Efex.

The Long Tables - Silver Efex Pro 2This is probably the best of the first two.  There are lots of textures, but you also see the room.

As I said yesterday, I went into the city.  I went in to photograph the Manchester Unity Building.  It wasn’t great as the weather was horrible, which meant that I couldn’t really photograph the tower.  I did get some images and I will play with them, but I will have to go back another time.  We were thinking the morning would be better.  I will start putting up some photos on Sunday.

A Touch of Christmas

So many of you are putting up images of Christmas and I thought I would do the same today.  I didn’t really get many Christmas images, only one really.  The weather was so bad, I just wanted to come home.

Tiffany WindowI remember my friend 1000 had a window from Tiffany’s and when I was walking near Tiffany’s in the city, I had to look at the window.  I got my camera out and took a couple of photos, then it started raining again, so I had to get a move on.

A touch of Christmas in Melbourne.  I hope you like it.  We finally put up our tree today.  It is big and it is the first time we have had the big tree up for years.  I forgot about all the beautiful decorations we got the Christmas we spent in Denmark.  It is lovely to see them out again.  I will, of course, take photos of them for you.

Waiting, Waiting for the Cafe to Open

On Sunday we got to Montsalvat a little early.  We thought maybe the cafe would be open early, but it wasn’t, so we had about 20 minutes to kill.  Strangely there was still stuff to entertain us and that we could photograph.  This first one, I should have showed at the beginning.

This is the main entrance that you drive through when you arrive at Montsalvat.  From the start you know you are in for something different.

Here is another gate, I couldn’t resist the decorations, I don’t know if they were trying to tell me something.  Did you notice the one on the building.  I didn’t know Peacocks liked to sit on top of things.  The building on the left is the original entrance.  The little window is where you  paid.  Not the case anymore.  Shame, it is so cute, and the turnstile is also quite unique.

These geese were so nice.  They didn’t like us getting too close, but they didn’t mind us  taking photos of them.  They are very funny birds.  I love them a lot.

It would seem they were trying to get away from us here, unfortunately there wasn’t anywhere for them to go.  I liked catching the one taking a sip.  I think I have decided that I should take both cameras with me when I go so I can have the wide angle on one and the telephoto on the other, it would make it easier.

If you look at the one above, you can see more of the original entrance.

These gates stand very tall in the middle of the carpark.  They don’t ever need to open and are there purely for decoration.  They are all rusty, and quite beautiful.  Trying to get a photo of them was quite difficult.  I think this has worked well. What do you think?

The last image, a close up of one of the Peacocks.  I love the colour of them.  They are so beautiful.

Today’s post will see me get my 700 follower, well that may change, but it is lovely that so many people think my blog is worth following and so, thank you everyone.


The Ins Again

So, as stated earlier, I have all the images that I posted earlier again, but this time they are in black and white.  So if you haven’t seen the earlier post go to Now for the Ins.So now you have, hopefully, seen them in black and white, and colour, what do you prefer?

Now for the Ins

Today’s post is going to be done in two parts.  First of all I wanted to show some more images from Montsalvat.  I have shown you the outs, and some of the ins, but more on the ins today.  One of the things about the Great Hall is the attention to detail that is present everywhere.

These stairs are in the main hall, and if we go back to the episode of Masterchef, that those of us who live here would have seen, all the contestants watching did so from the top of these stairs.

They are wooden steps, which is a little surprising, I thought maybe they would be stone, so a little surprised that they aren’t, though not disappointed.  If you look closely you can tell that many, many people have walked up and these steps, look at how they have worn.

This doorway is at the back of the hall in the far corner.  I love it and love how you look though and see another door.  I had to go through.  I wasn’t sure what it was used for or where it went. But the detail so beautiful.  Look at the stone.  If you didn’t know better you would think it was the doorway in some amazing Castle in Europe, instead it is building that was built at the end of the 1930’s here in Australia.

These stairs are in the room that the passage in the previous photo leads you too.  I have wondered what this room was used for.  I had thought maybe it was a kitchen, or make do kitchen when functions were on.  Though, I have since found in my research that it was the original founders, Justus Jörgensen’s, studio.  It is a fantastic room and I have to say, if I wanted a studio, it would be fantastic.  Check out the fireplace in it.

The detail in the stone work around it.  So obvious that the place was built by artists.  Who else would bother with such detail for a room that hardly anyone is going to see.  I did read that they got many of the materials from junk yards and other places like that.  I can imagine they got the top of the fireplace, the mantle, and thought, well we need a big fireplace for this, so built a big one.  How warm would that be in the winter.  I have never seen it lit though.

The yellow stone was excavated from the site there.  There is a lovely colour to it, but I did wonder if it detracted from the images.  I felt it may have been to overpowering.  I have photographed Montsalvat before, but I am pretty sure my images were black and white.  I have decided to find out what the images would be like in Black and White.  So take a lot at these, take them in and in a couple of hours I will post the same images, but in black and white and then we can decide which are better.

On the Outer

These birds, geese and lots of ducks were around the entrance to Montsalvat.  We had time to kill so we took photos of the birds.  This one put up a lovely show with it’s feathers.  I think it is a Peacock, but I am not sure.  I do love the colours of them.  So beautiful.

This walkway is so cute and seems so French, I’ve never been to France, but I imagine it would look like this in places.  I do think Montsalvat has been inspired by that country.  An artists country and a little bit of it here.  I have no idea what is in that room above the walkway, but it doesn’t look very big.

This little Church is out the back.  It makes sense for there to be a Church in a place where lots of people want to get married.  I think Montsalvat is a wonderful place, but you can’t help thinking it is all about making money and the reasons it was set up originally have become secondary.  It is sad really.

Anyway, back to the Church.  It is really tiny and I imagine it wouldn’t hold many people, so I can’t see people with lots of guests getting married in it.  We didn’t go inside this time.  There was a woman there photographing another woman’s two children and she was very loud, and so were the children.  It was really annoying.  It did put a damper on the serenity of the place.  Tell me, someone please, why do people feel the need to talk to children like they are stupid creatures?

This is the pool.  It says it isn’t for swimming, but I think people would swim in it.  It has ladders into it, and it looks like over in the corner there was once also a little shop.  It would have been fantastic once, not that it isn’t any more.

There are also galleries there, I didn’t really go into them.  It would have been amazing once, have I said that before?  As I stated yesterday, I would like to spend more time there.  Can I get over how much they can’t get over themselves, that is what remains to be seen.


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