Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm back

New River Gorge Bridge (Black & White)

Hi folks. I'm back from vacation. We spent a week up in Niagara Falls, Ontario visiting with a friend. The weather was touch and go most of the time with either rain or gray skies. However, I did manage to shoot some 1400 photographs that I am sorting through. I have gotten through the first two days of the trip which is when we were on the road up to Ontario. During the drive up we did manage a little impromptu sightseeing. Those two days only added up to about 100 photos though, thus it did not take long to sort through them. I've got much more to go though.

More after the jump.

The image above is the New River Gorge Bridge in the mountains of West Virginia. It is the longest single arch span in the Western Hemisphere and is one of the tallest in the world. It stands the height of the Washington Monument plus two Statues of Liberty on top of it above the river to the bottom of the arch. Driving over the bridge, it just seems like any other concrete highway bridge. What caught our attention were the signs for a "Bridge Overlook". We wondered why there would be an overlook for a bridge and stopped to see what it was all about. I'm glad that we did. It is an impressive feat of engineering.

This image is a black and white conversion of an HDR (High Dynamic Range) image I made with Photomatix Pro. It was made from three photographs that were two stops apart. I am new to HDR in general and Photomatix specifically. I did not really like the original color version that I got from the processing. I did however like the increased tonal range and thought that it might work as a black and white image. One thing that has always confused me about the HDR wave that is happening now is why people don't try black and white conversions with the resulting images. A great many of the HDR images you see are of the stylized, almost fantastical saturated color variety. This is especially true of people just starting to learn how to make HDR images. It seems to me that the increased dynamic range and tones between the shadows and the highlights from HDR techniques would be advantageous for black and white images as well. You could push the tonal ranges farther without the overly saturated colors becoming a problem. Anyway, this is my first attempt at an HDR black and white conversion. Not the best, but I see some potential with it.

More images from the vacation to come.

Keep shooting.


Pixel Peeper said...

Welcome back!

I have an almost identical picture of the same bridge, taken a few years ago... (though mine is a conventional color image). I do like your black and white conversion.

Looking forward to more pictures from your vacation!

Craig Lee said...

Thanks, Pixel Peeper. We had a good time on vacation.

Anonymous said...

I took this same shot just days ago on Tuesday! I am panning to post it on my blog within the next few days. Amazing bridge!

Craig Lee said...

We just missed each other then! There are not a lot of different places to photograph the bridge from unless you go down into the gorge itself. Most people passing through don't have the time for that, and this particular view has ended up being the most common.