Photography fans’ dynamic discussion

Little Egret by David Ord
Little Egret by David Ord

Morpeth Camera Club

On Tuesday, March 31, members welcomed guest speaker David Ord, a member of Ryton Camera Club, on the subject of Myths and Facts of HDR (High Dynamic Range).

Fallen  by David Ord

Fallen by David Ord

David started his presentation with a demonstration of the software Photomatics, explaining that although high-definition photography had, in the past, received bad press for its unreal, manufactured quality, new advanced software had been designed to produce a more subtle and realistic photographic image.

He used the view of rooftops from the Tyne Bridge as an example to illustrate how to achieve more detail in highlights and shadows and by using presets, one can obtain an image to your liking.

Demonstrating the software, David chose three identical photographs he had taken, with one slightly underexposed, one exposed correctly and the third slightly overexposed, and showed how, by fusing the three together, one can achieve an exceptional depth of field, greater density of colours and amazing contrast and eliminate ‘ghosting’, where there are moving objects such as clouds or vehicles.

Overall, this creates a more three-dimensional result.

As with all software, David continued, experimentation is key to achieving the effect you had in mind and maintaining individuality and above all subtlety.

It is a common mistake in HDR to create a chocolate box effect, where the image is too colourful and too perfect to be realistic.

Throughout the presentation, he encouraged interaction and discussed some subjects. These included file sizes, the use of jpeg or raw images and printing, and the advantages and disadvantages of using this software as an alternative to using Photoshop.

In the second part of his show, David displayed many examples of his three-image fusion with the resulting effects such as the snow capped hills of Kirkstone Pass, milky images of waterfalls highlighting the detail in rocks and lichens, panoramic views from Hartside, Sunderland Pier, with detailed stonework and algae, a glorious sunrise over St Mary’s Lighthouse, brilliant receding lines in the Sage Gateshead, moody Tyne Bridge reflections and Dunston Staithes pier in dramatic HDR effect.

He also demonstrated how he had chosen, at first glance, a quite ordinary scene of containers in a country lane and then transformed it into a spectacular rural scene. These before-and-after images certainly confirmed that experimenting with high-definition software can transform photography to another level.

Club chairman Steve McDonald thanked David for his very interesting presentation, which provided a good flavour of his work and displayed how the software was such a great tool for creativity, after which refreshments were served.

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