23 Jan 2014

Old Amcor Factory_ HDR thoughts

In an environment like this abandoned factory, the thing that makes photography so difficult, is the enormous exposure range between the dark interior shadows and the outside light... it is a photographer's nightmare!
One solution to this problem is to make a series of bracketed exposures (with camera on a tripod) ranging from under to over exposure, and use digital software to blend the 'overexposed' shadows and the 'underexposed' highlights to create a single image having the subtle details not possible in a single exposure...this is called HDR (High Dynamic Range) blending...
However, this process also seems to result in a great deal of discussion about the pros and cons of such digital manipulations ...

Given the amount of effort I used to put in to the manipulation of B&W materials in the film/analogue phase of photography, (such as zone system principles during film exposure, contrast reduction methods when processing negatives, low and multi contrast print developers during the printing process, etc.), you would think I would find the HDR process a 'nirvana' in terms of the digital equivalent of all my analogue research and desires...
I am no great fan of HDR manipulations, finding them 'false' and overblown versions of reality, but it remains an interesting topic for discussion and many people respond to them for their 'painterly' and 'illustrative' qualities...

I have decided to put some comparisons on the blog for the viewer to decide...

First up, I have added images created using my usual technique of making HDR versions (blending underexposed / normal / and overexposed versions of the same image) and blending them (typically at 30% opacity) with the original single exposure... the final result giving (to me) an acceptable boost to the shadow areas and detail in the highlights, without looking too artificial, and is a useful technique in difficult situations such as this industrial site  ...








The next series of the same images were made using the more usual version of HDR blending methods, giving something resembling an 'illustration', rather than a photographic record... 
There are, however, many people who prefer these versions and they are considered by many to be the pinnacle of contemporary digital photography...







Perhaps, where this HDR technique can be useful, is in B&W versions, where the tonality is better expressed and there is less distraction from the over-saturated colour elements...

Below are the B&W versions of the HDR colour files for comparison ...






14 Jan 2014

Old Amcor Factory 2 (Revisited)

Following on from the last post, revisiting the old abandoned factory, here are some B&W 'freeform' panoramas... it is a difficult place to make visual sense of, with complex scale issues to deal with and I am not as happy with this series compared to earlier ones.
Lack of time is also an issue, as there is plenty of security on site, images have to be made very quickly...













Old Amcor Factory 1 (Revisited)

The local abandoned factory  is in the mid phase of it's decommissioning process and I thought it was time for a re-visit...
It is now looking even more empty and the graffiti vandals have already started their work, making it less attractive to photograph
(I detest the mindless 'tagging', although there are the beginnings of some interesting artwork also appearing... I'm glad I was able to make the work I did a year ago)
It is often strange returning to a site you have photographed before and while I didn't have the same level of enthusiasm as the first time, I thought it worthwhile to put a few more on the blog...