This is the fifth in a series of HDR Black Hills photos taken in April, 2013. This was actually the first place I stopped the first time I went out hunting. This is not the first time I’ve taken a photo with weathered grass dominating the foreground, a distant horizon and an intriguing sky. (Lonesome Lake) But when you’ve found something you like, why not wear it out? (I will say that in the year since I did the Lonesome Lake HDR photo, I’ve gotten better – or at least I’ve found a formula I like better. In fact, I can think of a lot of things I can do better now than when I was younger. Except sit-ups.)
(PS: If you look closely, you’ll see Mt. Rushmore in this photo.)
This is the 4th in a series of recent posts that are photos I took to my recent visit to the Black Hills. It is also another surreal looking HDR photo. Generally, I am very conservative about filtering my photos but I guess I am captivating by the alternative reality that HDR brings to the world we see.
And now my mind is wandering to people from the 1960s and 1970s like LSD guru Timothy Leary (“Tune in, turn on drop out”) and peyote promoting Carlos Castenada (A Separate Reality, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, etc.). Mushrooms, peyote and LSD were considered “mind altering” drugs. I will admit that I never tried any of them.
Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 is my mind altering drug. It may even be performance enhancing. It has no side effects and its use is legal in all 50 states.
Here’s another photo from the snowy walk I made with my friend Dennis N. This was taken a little bit before the one from yesterday. And what stopped me in my tracks were Dennis’ tracks.
As with almost all of the photos I took on this outing, this is an HDR photo. I think that HDR is one way to preserve detail in snow, which would normally be fairly non-descript in its pure white form.
The title? It’s the first line of Frost’s famous poem “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening”:
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
When I saw these leaves a couple of days ago on a photo walk in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserves along Iron Creek in the Black Hills, I was intrigued that they had hung on for the whole winter. Most leaves drop in the fall, of course. But these high marks for persistence.
The other intriguing feature is that if you look closely, you can see that tiny buds are starting to form and I’m guessing that is a week or so the old leaves will drop and the new ones will debut. Sadly, I won’t be there to witness it, since I live 8 hours away from this scene.
A late spring snow storm hit our part of the Black Hills and left 10″ of beautiful snow. And so, a friend and I ventured back to Iron Creek to see what things looked liked. As much as I have photographed this spot, I have never photographed it with this much snow. For me, then, it was a rare opportunity.
Hiking along the creek for a half mile was made difficult by the relatively deep snow but ours were the first footsteps along the trail and there was something satisfying about that.
I took quite a few HDR photos but this is one that I’m keeping. Stylistically, it is similar to yesterday’s post and I guess that’s what I was after. Is is a good photo? I don’t know – I have an emotional (and physical) investment in this one right now and so my judgement is clouded. But even if I hadn’t gotten a single good photo yesterday, I would have said that my “photo walk” was worth it. As Harry Chapin said, “It’s the goin’ not the gettin’ there that’s good.”
I am in the Black Hills to attend the annual TIE convention. But given a little time yesterday morning, I went out to my favorite spots to take even more photos of the same scenery. But this time there was good flow in Iron Creek and there was snow left from the most recent snow fall. And so I got a look unlike others I’ve taken along this creek. The other feature I liked about this scene were the bright orange tree leaves along the right side of the photo. I’m guessing in another week or two, those leaves will disappear and the new ones will bud out.
So this is a transient scene, in many ways. In fact a Greek atmonist philosopher named Heraclitus said that you “could never step in the same stream twice” because all of nature is in a constant state of flux: panta rei or “everything flows.” Good photographers understand this and their best photos are captured at the right moment.
(I should say that this is an HDR photo and that’s why there is a bit of a surreal look here.)
He is a foreign man
He is surrounded by the sound
Cattle in the marketplace
Scatterlings and orphanages
He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture
Spinning in infinity
He says Amen! and Hallelujah!
I’ve never understood the lyrics of this song, but I do like the line that refers to “angels in the architecture.” And if you look closely at any building like the Minnesota state capitol building, there are angels everywhere. But in this photo, it seems that there actually is an angel. And I hadn’t seen it until after I picked the title for the post.
If you look at all three of my HDR capitol photos over the last few days, you will see an attempt at achieving perfect symmetry in my composition. Frankly, I’m a bit obsessive about it and I spend considerable time in framing the photo trying to get the lines perfect and if they aren’t perfect, I fix them in the crop. Good or bad? I don’t know. But in capitol building architecture there seems to be plenty of balance and symmetry and my photos strive to capture that.
I had mentioned yesterday that I didn’t get enough time in the Minnesota state capitol building the other day. I made up for that by going back late yesterday morning. I knew when I went that I was going to take several series of photos with my camera on a tripod so that I could later process them into high dynamic range photos (HDR).
This photo was taken on the second floor looking west. One of the things I like about the way the camera interprets this space is the way it sees color. The columns and the stairs are lit by a skylight but the space behind the columns is lit by incandescent lighting. The space behind the columns is warm and the columns are a cooler gray due to this lighting.
The other thing I like in this photo is the amount of texture that is present. I think that texture can be both something you feel (such as the tops of the Corinthian columns) and can be something you see (such as the variegated stone in the columns.) And there is plenty of both in this scene.
I will be posting at least two more from my “Minnesota State Capitol” series. I hope you like HDR architecture.
Some of my photo/media students and I made a short stop at the Minnesota state capitol building recently. This is the kind of place I’d spend a few hour photographing, not 15 minutes. But we were on a tight schedule.
But during my time I did capture a few photos of this beautiful structure, including this HDR photo of the dome from floor level.
This photo found me. I was heading west yesterday morning to run an errand on the way to work and I noticed nice, soft blue and scarlet hues in the western sky. Thinking that I might have a good sky to drop in to a photo that has I less interesting sky, I took this photo.
I really wasn’t thinking that the photo would stand on its own, but when I worked on it in Aperture 3.4, and with Nik HDR Efex 2, I decided I liked it.