Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bell Mountain HDR

Nikon D7000, 10.5mm, HDR composite

My first-ever solo backpacking trip was to the top of Bell Mountain, the second highest point in Missouri. My campsite provided a particularly good view of the sunrise, so I decided to get a picture of myself watching the day start.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a single shot that was properly exposed for the sky, the ground and me all at once. Fortunately, I brought along a small, lightweight tripod that allowed me to shoot a series of pictures at different exposure levels, including one in which I sat on a rock and triggered the shutter using a remote.

Nikon D7000, 10.5mm, 1/2, f/2.8, ISO 100

Nikon D7000, 10.5mm, 1/2, f/2.8, ISO 100, taken a little later

Nikon D7000, 10.5mm, 1.3 sec., f/2.8, ISO 100

Then when I got back home I used Photoshop’s High Dynamic Range option to combine the three pictures. As I was in only one of them, I copied myself from the original photo and pasted myself into the HDR combo, making a few adjustments to make me match the rest of the image.

As is common with HDR-generated images, the result isn’t precisely faithful to how the world actually looked at the time. Normally I’m not fond of the “are you just high all the time?” look, but here it works for me. The sunrise looks somewhat like the first seconds of a hydrogen bomb detonating, which for some reason strikes me as so out of keeping with the moment that it seems paradoxically appropriate.