Dedication 2

If you are taking the time to read this post then please refresh yourself with Dedication 1 before continuing.

So as you would have now seen and read, HDR photography is not that easy and I have come a long way since attempt 1 in November 2012.

My post on 26 November 2012 stated: “One day I will look at my first two “HDR” photos and have a good chuckle!”. I am chuckling now (one year and two months later) and have done so in the past few months.

I believe that I am at least halfway to nearly three-quarters of the way there; there being when I surpass some of the HDR hotshots in the world.

Robin Sharma is partly to “blame”. He came to Durban on 27 July 2013. I attended his seminar and on the following Monday started waking up at 5 AM. Nothing really happened to start with. After a few weeks I started concentrating even more on my photography.

To continue with this story I have inserted an excerpt of an email I sent Robin Sharma: “The benefits of waking at 5 aren’t known until you actually wake at 5. Even then it still doesn’t click into place until you have a 5 o’ clock mission (something worthwhile to do).
I tried the reading thing and exercise. The latter worked well for me but not the former. Instead, I tried photography.
In summer in South Africa you have to get up at 3 AM if you want to travel and be setup for photos at 1st light.
My 5 o’clocks have now become 3 o’clocks on weekends if the weather plays game. Alternatively I turn on the computer and process photos. Both stimulate my creative juices and there’s a big bonus at the end if what I produce looks really cool.”
I went on to tell Robin that my photography has now met some measure of success, although I didn’t know at the time that three of my photos would soon place well in the VSS CREATIVE virtual camera club competition (more info here).
It’s been revealed that the TOP 10 of every month in every section will soon be published in the biggest “SA Creative Photography Book”.
I was taken aback when the photo below took 2nd place in November 2013.
VSS Top 10 Pictorial_2nd place

Truthfully, I was gobsmacked when the photos below ripped 1st and 2nd place in the same category and month.

Hein Waschefort of VSS, and director of the Photographic Society of South Africa, commented that he believed that it was the first time that someone had taken the top two spots in the same category and month.

Passion

The gobsmacked was 99.9% from being judged “ahead” of what I saw to be some super-hot works of art published by other photographers.

Blessing

The “hilarious” side:

Two of the photos were taken with my “old” Canon 550D camera that is now worth about ZAR 6,000.00 new. Only one photo was taken with my new Canon 6D which recently set me back ZAR 28,000.00.

As I said in Dedication 1: Have a lovely week at work and if the going gets a little tough remember: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow” ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

VSS Top 10 Pictorial_2nd place - all

Nik HDR Efex vs. Photomatix

Nik vs Photomatix 1-12-13 Desktop (Large)If you don’t know what HDR photography is then read here. It’s my healthy addiction.

The photos above are a result of my experimenting; the results of which I initially thought were conclusive.But, just when you believe that one software package is superior to the other, then you find that the “loser” is able is do something that the “winner” is incapable of.

Trial software can be downloaded here:

Play with both, try, experiment and then when you get to an advanced stage start thinking about manual blending without either software package. Christopher O’Donnell kindly offers a free e-book in this regard – click here.

Want to learn from one of the HDR masters I follow closely? Then click here to get some free tutorials from Jimmy McIntyre.

Back on the edge of Durban Harbour, South Africa – part 1

The final edition (part 6) of The edge of Durban Harbour followed on from part 5.

I said at the time that would go back there quite soon – I did just that!

Photo 1 (only) is from the recent visit and the others are from previous visits.

So now we are “Back on the edge of Durban Harbour, South Africa – part 1”.

20130120_77And11more_tonemapped.tif (Large) (Large) 20121214_55_6_7_tonemapped (Medium) (Large) 20121216_yatchmole (2) (Medium) (Large) 20121216_yatchmole (12) (Medium) (Large) 20121224_tonemapped (4).tif (Medium) (Large) 20121224_tonemapped (5).tif (Medium) (Large) 20121224_tonemapped (53) (Medium) (Large) 20121224_tonemapped (55) (Medium) (Large) 20121224_tonemapped (6).tif (Medium) (Large)

My name is Andy and I am addicted

Tonight was supposed to be a no computer, no photos, no staying up late event with a movie.

What transpired has revealed that I have an addiction.

It was 30 minutes into the movie and I just had to have a small peep at my Canon 550D’s firmware.

According to Wikipedia:

In electronic systems and computing, firmware is the combination of persistent memory and program code and data stored in it“.

OMG! I only had version 1.0.6 when 1.09 was available right here.

So Andy did a quick download and then install using the Canon EOS software.

But hold on! He was still missing out.

I picked up some browsing snippets about extra firmware called ML – Magic Lantern, which added many features to the Canon.

My interest lay in one feature and one feature alone:

Are you a HDR enthusiast? 

Bracketing up to 9 frames with spacing from 0.5 to 5 EV should handle even the most difficult contre-jours“.

Yippee!! 9 frames when I was presently limited to 3 at a time.

I did another quick download and then install using my camera’s memory card in an external reader (copy all downloaded files onto the card – not in any folder on the card). This discovery was the make or break for me as the user manual was somewhat vague or I got confused.

The card was then returned to the camera on “P” or “M” setting I seem to recall (follow all the other manual instructions and READ THE WARNING about ML).

I may have used the EOS software again but did have to go to MENU & FIRMWARE VERSION to click on what was now there to activate. There were also “battery removals”.

Play around; you will get it right (with some computer and camera savvy) – at your own risk! (the Canon might stop working).

Of course I had to take any set of photos of anything to ensure that my “new” toy was working.

The settings were not important other than to see if I could choose 3, 6 or 9 bracketed photos – I went for 6 inside my lounge at night.

Success! Not the photo below, but “sure as water is wet” ML pumped out 6 photos at 1.5 spacing, which I chose.

Have fun if you don’t have ML and are going to try it (if you are a pro video or photo person you should have a look).

I am no pro but want my toy to pump out more than 3 bracketed photos, which it now does thanks to ML.

Now I can go and use this new feature on some better subjects

20130123_1st ML photos (1) (Large)