Friday, December 26, 2008

Morgan Square Holiday Lights

Morgan Square Lights

Christmas Eve evening I went downtown to photograph the city's holiday light display. I arrived before the sun had set, but it was cloudy with intermittent rain. One thing I wanted to try was a tip I had read over on the Stobist's blog about photographing holiday lights. His tip was to set the camera's white balance to tungsten. This accomplishes two things. It color balances for the holiday lights which are usually small tungsten bulbs, and it also causes a the sky to turn a deep, vibrant blue. Due to the weather conditions, I thought that might turn out better than a bland gray, cloud-covered sky. I like the effect it had in the images. So, I'll have to remember this trick in the future.

The above picture was one of my favorites from the trip (click the picture for a larger version). It is an HDR from three different exposures. I didn't use my tripod as I was working relatively quickly to get out of the rain. The exposures were taken hand held, with the Sigma 10-20mm lens, the camera was set to bracket + and - 2 stops, and the shutter was on continuous. All I had to do was frame the shot, hold the shutter button down and the camera took captured three frames; one frame was properly exposed, one was underexposed by 2 stops, the third was overexposed by 2 stops. The set was then converted from RAW straight to Tiff files with no adjustments and then the HDR image generated in Picturenaut. Picturenaut then was used to tonemap the HDR to a 16-bit Tiff which was then brought into Capture NX2 for final processing and JPEG conversion. A bit of swapping around applications, but it didn't really take very much longer than it usually takes my to process RAW images. Picturenaut seems to be fairly speedy, even on my older desktop PC.

Anyway, I hope Santa treated you well this holiday and that your families are safe, warm and loving.

Keep Shooting.

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