Cityscapes in HDR

with 4 Comments

 

Two out of three of my last posts were about landscapes, more specifically, analog landscapes. This post is the polar opposite of those two previous posts. For one, this post showcases cityscapes. Secondly, all the images are digital and they were made with HDR techniques.

I love traditional photography and my heart is with analog photography. You just can’t duplicate the look of film. Those old mechanical cameras last a life time and their simplicity captures the core of photography. I get so much enjoyment shooting film. However, I do like to shoot my digital camera, too. Sometimes I even dabble in HDR.

I like using HDR for night scenes. The contrast is at extremes with the fall of night and the city lights. HDR does a great job of capturing all the highlights and the shadow detail at the same time. It works great for high contrast scenes during the day as well. While I like using this technique, I want the resulting image to look natural as possible. The overly processed cartoon look does not appeal to me.

Ok, let’s get to the images. If you read my Marine post, you know that I stumbled upon the first day of Marine Week in downtown Nashville. I had to drop off a photograph at a gallery and decided to make some cityscape captures while I was in town. When I arrived at Riverfront, the sun’s elevation was a little too high for my liking, so I took a hike around town while the sun descended closer to the horizon. During this time, I ran into the Marine invasion.  After I made some photos of the Marines, the evening light started to look much better. I then captured the following images.

 

 

Riverfront - Nashville, Tennessee - Olympus E520 / 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 / 4 Frames / SNS HDR / Shift N Lens Correction
Riverfront – Nashville, Tennessee – Olympus E520 / 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 / 4 Frames / SNS HDR / Shift N Lens Correction

 

 

Riverfront - Nashville, Tennessee - Olympus E520 / 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 / 4 Frames / SNS HDR / Shift N Lens Correction
Riverfront – Nashville, Tennessee – Olympus E520 / 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 / 4 Frames / SNS HDR / Shift N Lens Correction

 

 

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Riverfront – Nashville, Tennessee – Olympus E520 / 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 / 4 Frames / SNS HDR / Shift N Lens Correction

 

 

The next image is a photo of one of my favorite buildings in Maury County. It’s the old Train Depot. Every time I visit this site, I feel like I have stepped back in time. I can hear the steam engines coming to a halt and starting off on their next journey. I see a soldier reuniting with his family, a man saying his good-byes. Wind is whipping the steam clouds and smoke around the boarding platform briefly hiding the silhouette of human figures coming to and fro. “All Aboard” says the conductor. Reminiscing or imagining how things might have been is part of the enjoyment when I am out photographing historical sites. This old depot has undergone some renovations. I believe the city is going to turn it into some type of event venue. It’s great to see its preservation. Too many historical buildings are torn down these days. If you look hard enough, you can see the young crescent moon setting in the West on the left side of the frame.

 

 

Old Train Depot - Columbia, Tennessee - Olympus E520 / 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 / 6 Frames / SNS HDR / Shift N Lens Correction
Old Train Depot – Columbia, Tennessee – Olympus E520 / 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 / 6 Frames / SNS HDR / Shift N Lens Correction

 

 

I made this next photograph one night when I got the urge to capture some city light. I originally wanted to shoot the Maury County Courthouse from a different perspective, but when I got downtown, I discovered that the courthouse was not illuminated. I then turned my eye to the Polk Home.

This house was the home of President James K. Polk, our 11th president. I have yet to take a tour of the inside and this photograph is only the second capture I’ve made of the building. This seems to be a theme for me. I have taken many photographs of historical sites, but for most, I have not taken part in the onsite tours. This is partly because I am there during off hours and my wife is an excellent tour guide. With my wife at my side, I find out more interesting facts about historical sites than what’s in the standard tour script.

 

 

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James K. Polk Home – Columbia, Tennessee – Olympus E520 / 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 / 7 Frames / SNS HDR

 

 

I would like to hear your thoughts on these images. Do they look natural? Are they over processed? I am not a HDR expert, so I am open to suggestions. Thanks for reading!

 

Images Best Viewed in Lightbox Below!

 

4 Responses

  1. aukje
    | Reply

    I like the old train depot! Compliments for the classy subtle HDR, this wasn’t what I expected, in a good way.

    • Travis
      Travis
      | Reply

      Thank you! I bet you were expecting some crazy looking vibrant colors and fine detail in the darkest shadows. Well, that describes my first bout with HDR. I finally found SNS-HDR software that works really well at rendering natural looking images. I have actually fooled people thinking some of my HDR captures were a single frame. Being subtle goes a long way. Thanks for dropping by!

  2. dismason
    | Reply

    Nice post by you, with very natural and soft colors in your photos. I like especially the second one, the “Stargate SG-1” shot.

    • Travis
      Travis
      | Reply

      Thank you for your input! I was thinking the same thing about the second shot. It reminds me of some type of portal.

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