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December 19, 2008


The Natural Side of HDR (dead links fixed!)

by josephrossbachphoto

Hey everybody,

Honestly, I have not had much time outside of working on the 50 Amazing Things Book and planning the 2009 Meadowlark Photo Expo. This year we have Bruce Dale, famed National Geographic staff photographer as our Keynote Speaker. I am really excited to have Bruce and he has been just a pleasure to work with. If for some reason your not familiar with his work, check out his website

 I have been going through a load of images I have shoot in the past 12 months looking for bracket HDR shoots that I either managed to miss or haven’t had time yet to work on. I downloaded the Photomatix Plug-in for Lightroom and it really make it a cinch to move photos directly from the catalog into Photomatix and back. Love it! I will be teaching this in my upcoming HDR workshops this winter and spring.

Here are a few images I managed to work up last night. Notice that I took the natural approach for these scenes. I have been on this “grunge” kick for some time and thought it was long overdue for some more realistic looking shoots.


Blackbird Knob HDR


Monument Canyon HDR


Red Creek Canyon HDR

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dec 19 2008

    I’ve nothing against HDR images, however it is very easy to spot. You just need to look at the shadows, they either have uneven detail across the frame or look plain dull. Dunno, what your experience is.

  2. Todd
    Dec 19 2008

    Hello John!

    Love these images especially “Blackbird Knob” and “Red Creek Canyon”. I would never discredit someone’s artistic approach or message. Even though I am not much of a fan of “HDR Grunge” I have scene a number of images that look good artistically thought not realistic from a visual perspective. I have been using Photomatix for about 6 months and love the images where the casual viewer cannot tell it is HDR. I know what work is required to create these images but hope in most cases that this is transparent. I like the “Yep, that is what I saw standing there looking at it” final image. I am a big fan of your work! Keep up the good work and hopefully I will see you at a workshop or lecture someday. You and your family have a wonderful holiday!

    Todd in snowy northern Ohio.

  3. Dec 19 2008


    These are fantastic images HDR or not. I really like the first two and am wishing I could click through to larger versions. I’ll bet the second one is simply inspiring to look at in print. Maybe a little less saturation on the green in the first image but not much.

    Some photographers hate HDR just because they can spot them. My experience is that non-photographer types simply love them. My images that get the most attention and Wow from non-photographer types are more than 50% HDR. Especially locals who have been to the locations I shoot. They don’t get caught up in the “I can spot an HDR image so I don’t like it.”

    Like Todd, I love the idea that I can present something very close to what I experienced. When I think about how many images just could not be captured with a single exposure I gladly welcome HDR processing. I’m a big fan of realistic processing like these but even the over the top processing can make an ordinary scene very interesting and appealing.

    No snow here in arkansas but the 45 degree sunshine feels pretty nice after almost a week without sunshine.

  4. Dec 20 2008

    Nice work Joseph. Well done.

  5. Dec 22 2008

    Prashant, Todd, Ed and Louis,

    Thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment guys! I appreciate everyone kind words and evn those who aren’t such big fans of HDR. I try not to limit myself creativly and approach and embrace all types of techniques and software. It’s simply the best approach for me as it allows me to constantly evolve as an image maker; albiet sometimes for better or for worse. Thats for the general audience to decide and I refuse to let it influence my work as much as humanly opssible. Without an open mind and keen interest in growth and experimentation, how can expect to advance?

    Happy holidays guys and best wishes for 09!


  6. Leigh
    Dec 27 2008

    Joe, in small size, these look good. I’d like to to see them at higher resolution if possible. Thanks.

  7. josephrossbachphoto
    Dec 28 2008

    Leigh, I have fixed the dead links. Thanks so much for stopping in!


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