Thursday, 16 April 2009

Good morning and good evening

As I age it's becoming more difficult to deal with shift work. It'd probably be easier if the schedule was regular but it isn't. So, after nights spent at the summit I wake up at 4am after hitting the sack a midnight, and then a few days later I go to bed at 10-pm and still can't get going at 7 o'clock the next morning. It's like jet lag with the additional problem of spending time at 14,000 feet. It has unpredictable effects on your body and mind although I wouldn't give this job up for anything!

This morning was slow and when I finally got my brain working I looked outside and realised it was sunny but the rain was pounding on the roof. Those are the perfect conditions for rainbows so looked to the west and sure enough, there was a particularly bright rainbow over my neighbour's house. Grab camera, go to the upstairs lanai, take a few shots. It's almost automatic these days.

This evening when the sun was setting the clouds looked amazing, so repeat the process. Same spot on the same lanai, just zoomed in a little. I really wish I could paint because this second picture begs a painting.

These pictures were actually my first attempt at creating high dynamic range (HDR) pictures. The technique is to take three or more photos of exactly the same scene but with different exposure times (exposure bracketing). This results in images which have both the bright and dark areas exposed correctly (although not in the same pictures), and then all those images are combined in software to create a picture that you couldn't create taking a single photograph, but does look more like the way your eye see things.

I've been doing exposure bracketing for months now but didn't have the software to process the images properly. Now I'm trying a couple of free programmes to see what they can do. If they work well I have hundreds of pictures with potential - I might end up being quite busy in my spare time!


damon said...

How appropriate. I can't change the RSS feeder to the FBI site so this blog post comes in like it's posted tomorrow!

Tom said...

It's using west coast or another mainland time, isn't it? No idea how to change it, just think yourself lucky you don't have to deal with UT as well. Today is also tomorrow in Australia right now just to add to the confusion...

Beep said...

I wonder why I did not see this post before. Thank you for the explanation of HDR. And for the rainbow!

Tom said...

Beep - the HDR stuff is actually a little more complicated than my description as I'm finding out very quickly, but that is the rough idea - combining pictures with different exposures to increase the range of light seen in a picture. What I'm finding out right now is that 1) I need to use a tripod more and 2) I'm often underexposing my shots even when bracketing.

I guess it's true that you never stop learning.