Going to the Light
A 365-day Photo Journal

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 4: Grab a great sky whenever you can

click of photo for larger version

I was passing by this place yesterday and noticed the sky was littered with just the right amount of clouds and a great shade of blue. I've always loved this sign and I quickly parked to capture it. Of course if you notice, the sun is in the background and no matter how I set up my camera, there was no way to expose properly for both the sign and the sky. If I exposed for the sign, the sky would render completely white. If I expose for the sky, the sign would be in dark shadows. How do I get that goodness in the camera? Well the answer is a tripod and a bit of Photoshop magic.

I got out my tripod and framed my subject in the viewfinder. Next I took 2 photos without moving the camera. The first one I exposed for the sign. As I expected, the sky was totally white. The second one I exposed for the sky. And again as expected, the sign was almost black.

Back at home in Photoshop, I opened both photos and dragged one on top of the other to create a single photo with two layers. The blown out sky was on the top layer and the perfect sky was on the bottom layer. I worked with the top layer and just erased the blown out sky but left the well exposed sign intact. Finally I merged the two layers and this was the result. This technique is called HDR (High Dynamic Range) for those interested in researching.

As a side note, when I finally win the lottery, I plan on walking into this place and writing them a check to make it mine. Photoart Studios is actually a really neat concept. It's a working studio that they also rent out to people needing a studio or just for meetings or other gatherings. I haven't had the nerve to call about pricing, but I like the idea a lot.


Territory Mom said...

I love this, what a cool pic. I'm going to learn alot from you. Thanks

Kristie said...

Very cool --- neat tip. PS. Are you going to get tired of 365 comments from me???

Jim Smith said...

Kristie...are you kidding me? I live for feedback.

terrie said...

i have used the landscape/scene view on my camera, the shutter speed is longer & a tripod works well. great job with photoshop.

jenX said...

you're a genius!!! i so can't do any of this stuff. i just point, click and then goofify them sometimes on picnik. i read about my camera every day, though. I have so much to learn. i love that sign. the guy who owns this place - i think he might read my blog! you should tweet the subject - plaza district and photo art - maybe you'll get a visit from him. I think it's kent fischer, but I'm not sure! do you know?

Jim Smith said...

Jen...thanks for the heads up regarding Photoart. I'll definitely try to find him.

BTW...I've seen your photos and you have a great eye. You've also got a great camera that can take you far. And best of all you have the soul of a life-long learner.

T.R. said...

The guy who owns that place is Keith Rinearson. He is a PCW graduate and grew up in Bethany. His work is featured in a lot of slick Oklahoma magazines. He almost always has the cover of Downtown. And is the photographer for Chesapeake.

Jim it seems you are a lot of my friends friends on Facebook - you must have PCW or SNU or BNC connection somehow. Beautiful, Beautiful photos! Glad Jen pointed me this way the other day and glad to see you on Twitter.

Jim Smith said...

TR...thanks for more info on Photoart Studios and especially thanks for you kind remarks. Jen via her blog also pointed me to your site. I've been having fun exploring your wonderful work and look forward to your new posts.

Yep...I moved to Bethany my sophomore year in HS. I went to PC original but most of my friends went to West or Bethany. I went to BNC and I now teach at SNU.

Friend me on FB if so inclined. I read the article about the OCC summit or whatever it was up in Edmond that you RTd. Very scary indeed.