I’ve been using the Sony a77 M2 for over a month. With many new features compared to the a700, I’m still in the learning mode. Occasionally, I’ve tried the in camera HDR feature. Strictly speaking it isn’t a new feature. My Konica Minolta 7D had a similar option. Yesterday, I was taking pics of my paragliding friends launching from a spot above Makapuu Beach. It was late in the day and the launch was in shadow. I decided to try HDR to see how it balances the shadow side with the brighter side of the scene compared to a RAW image. The shot below is the result.
Here, as in other HDR images I’ve made, the colors are stronger. The greens are more intense than the RAW version. The blues are deeper. Plus, the image is sharper without being over sharpened. Below, is a pic taken in RAW and exported as a JPEG from a moment before. While it did a good job handling the shadows, the colors are muted.(Or more realistic.)
The only adjustments I’ve made to the pics was standard sharpening upon import to Lightroom. I also used a graduated filter in the sky to bring out the clouds.
While taking the photos for this panorama, a hiker fell about 40 feet on the opposite side of Makapuu Point. I didn’t know that until the HFD showed up to stage the helicopter at the hang gliders LZ nearby. By then the clouds and rain enveloped Makapuu Point and HFD Rescue had to deal with that while picking up the injured hiker.
Hawaii is over half way thru Whale Watching season. A prime spot to see whales on Oahu is Makapuu Point. Here’s a panorama I took standing on the lookout directly above Makapuu Lighthouse and facing mauka. To the right is the Windward side of Oahu.
On Wednesday of this week (9/16) I assisted a couple of my Hang Gliding friends launch from Kamehame Ridge above Waimanalo. Being a beautiful clear morning I decided to walk to a higher point along the ridge known as “Three Poles”. On days like this you’re rewarded for your effort with a view of the eastern most point of Oahu looking towards Molokai across the Molokai Channel.
Capturing this view in one shot is beyond the capability of my photo gear. Instead, using my wide angle lens 17-35 (effectively 25-52 on my Sony A700) I made a series of vertical shots. After importing the 23 shots into Lightroom for processing the individual exposures I ran them in the Photoshop CS4 merge to Panorama action.
Watch your step
A combination of lingering winter weather here in Hawaii and the requirements of my job. Conspired to keep me from posting new pictures in almost month. Here’s a pic from Saturday when the paragliders were out in force. Alex didn’t want to take the time to launch from their usual location. Instead he spread his wing in the parking lot, brought it up and started walking. Don’t try this at home!
On Saturday Sea Life Park Hawaii | Oahu, Hawaii had a coming out party for five Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. Sea Life Park has been maintaining a breeding colony and releases a few young ones every year. About two years old in this case. Even though they’d been raised in captivity these boys were ready to hit the swell while waiting in a temporary corral on the beach. The turtles weren’t light either. Weighing about 60 lbs each. They don’t reach full maturity until 25 years old. Hopefully these guys will lead long lives (upwards of 80 to 100) and will continue to grace the shores of these Islands.
There are several expressions you’ll hear in Hawaii. Lucky you live in Hawaii is repeated when we see people struggling in hip deep snow in the midwest or sliding down an icy street in the southwest. Plus we’ve been fortunate not to get pummeled by hurricanes like the Gulf Coast and eastern seaboard. Sitting above Makapuu Lookout waiting for my hang gliding friends to fly by I considered myself lucky indeed
Taking a picture is a matter of finding the right balance of elements. The right balance of light/dark, highlight/shadow, balancing complimentary colors. The composition of the picture is a matter of balance. Finding the most important part and placing it in the most effective place within the picture. It’s an AHA! moment when you get them all right.
When I took up photography, beyond point and shoot, in the days of film. The photography books I read provided advice for balancing. Using the right film speed, using neutral density and/or color filters, and bracketing. While I never developed my own film. I’m sure that required a balance of chemicals, paper and time.
Digital cameras make balancing “easier”. With HDR “High Dynamic Range”, bracketing an image with multiple exposures and then blending them together on a computer creates a better balanced image.
My Sony a700 comes with a feature called DRO (D-Range Optimizer) which tries to do the same thing within the camera. It won’t be long before camera sensors will be capturing in image without the need for bracketing. They will reproduce how our eyes “see”. “WYSIWYG” will come to photography.
At that point we’ll start using all those filter to create images we don’t normally see!
Hang Glider flying above Makapuu Beach
Saw this as a query on my stats page. The answer is there’s more than one. The limiter is how the wind is blowing. Here’s a fuzzy picture of a PG launching from tomato juice on Fathers day. It’s just above Sea Life Park. Also Makapu’u is spelled with two U’s and a glottal stop.
If you want to see more launches just click over to the paraglider galleries at my smugmug site.