Assignment 5: Landscapes

With this assignment I was looking forward to using a few techniques that I have learned about recently from various photo blogs and tutorial websites. The two techniques are High Dynamic Range (HDR) and “Tilt Shift” photography.

High Dynamic Range is technique that can really only be done with digital photography that allows you to blend multiple photos. The typical method for HDR is to take 3 photos, one with a standard exposure; one that is over exposed, and one that is under exposed. With the over exposed image you are able to see details from the dark/shadow areas that you not normally get, while he underexposed image gives you more detail from highlight areas, such as the sky. By merging the photos using the HDR function in photoshop, the program pulls the best information from all three photos to give you an ideal (though often unrealistic) exposure with a wide range of tones. Here are some examples, as well as the images I have included below.

Delaware Park, Buffalo

Cobbs Hill Reservoir

The second technique that I wanted to try is Tilt Shift photography. Though its a relatively simple technique to do, I still really don’t understand how it works. The effectiveness depends on the subject matter and the angle of the shot, but when done well, the technique gives normal subjects look like miniatures. My interpretation is that tilt shift photography is a type of optical illusion that plays on our assumption that a photo shot at a downward angle with a short depth of field must have been taken of a small subject at close range.

From my understanding, to make a true tilt-shift photo you should buy an actual tilt-shift lens. Since most people won’t be inclined to do that, the next best thing is to create the effect using a regular image in photoshop with a few short steps. The best candidates for tilt-shift are images taken from above of small scenes and objects with bright colors (think of the way you view a miniature train set). In photoshop, open the image and duplicate the background. Click Fliter>Blur>Lens blur. From there, take a soft eraser brush and erase a line from the blurred layer over the area you would like to be in focus (you may have to try it a few times to get the desired effect). It is best to have some of the blur remain in front and behind your subject. Here are some examples I found online, and my own examples are included below.

Dino BBQ from Court Street Garage, Rochester

Hot Dog vender on Court Street, Rochester

This image below is an additional landscape that I took in Delaware park at the former site of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. I had just recently learned of the significance of this event as the location of the assassination of President McKinley. I was inspired by the historical significance of this part of Buffalo and the irony that the seemingly extravagant buildings built for that event have now been replaced by a mundane residential neighborhood. I attempted to tell the story using landmark that remains and an overlap of the old and new.

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