Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Little More Disney HDR

I actually finished these shots ages ago, but forgot to post them. So in case your week could use a little more sparkle:

 SPARKLIIIES. [jazz hands]



Boring Technical Stuff: I use a Canon 7D with a 17-50 lens, and post-process in Photomatix. While working on these I learned that Photomatix has a known softening issue: the finished image looks much softer/blurrier than the preview window shows it. This led to a lot of frustration, and I finally ended up just screen-capping the preview window to get this next image the way I wanted it:

See all those tiny star specks in the sky? They're not visable at all after post-processing in Photomatix - you just get a big blur, even though the preview window clearly shows it this way. Like I said, frustrating!

So if you use Photomatix, make sure your image is much sharper in Preview than you like, so that the post-process softening won't be as noticeable.

(Or you could just do the HDR tonemapping in Photomatix, and save all your other tweaks & image adjustments for Photoshop, which apparently a lot of pro photographers do. Personally I like playing with the sliders in Photomatix, though; it's way more fun there than PS.)


Most nights the shooting gallery over in Frontierland is a ghost town (heh), so you can have the whole place to yourself for long exposure shots.




This one is not from Disney, but I think it has enough pixie dust to qualify:

Back during Christmas vacation my dad - also a photography buff - and I spent one whole night playing with bokeh, the effect that gives you those blurred-out lights in the background. I found this copper wire tree in their knick-knack cabinet, set it on mirrored paper, coiled a strand of small LEDs through the "roots," and then shot the whole thing a few feet in front of the Christmas tree.

Sure, it took one whole night of prep & experimenting for just that shot, but we had a blast. (Post-processing was done in Perfect Photo 7, my go-to photo editor now for non-HDR shots when I need something beyond basic iPhoto tweaks.)
 
And finally, here's the Haunted Mansion again, which you've already seen:


I'm still learning, of course, but I hope you liked the eye candy!


*****

UPDATE: Wow, thanks for all the encouragement, guys! By popular request, I've made most of these available as prints over on DeviantArt. (If you want one that's NOT over there, just let me know and I'll add it.)

DA is really reasonable on their pricing -  8X10's start at less than $5 - and their print quality is fantastic. (I have several poster-size prints from DA.) I also get a 20% royalty, so it's a win-win. :)

Thanks again, guys! It's always awesome to make people happy just by doing something you love.

32 comments:

  1. My jaw hit the ground when I saw that first photo. These are exquisite!!

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  2. Do you know where you parents got the wire tree? It looks a lot like the trees my dad was making for a while.

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  3. You are so talented...when ever I get time I want to explore photography after all my other crafty things.

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  4. That pink castle is exactly what I needed this week! :) So super pretty.

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  5. So fantastic! Nicely done. I may need to play with Photomatix now, and then see if I can sharpen up in Lightroom 5 (which I use instead of PS).

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  6. The photos look like they belong in Bioshock: Infinite! :)

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  7. A-MAZING! Beautiful! You have quite the talent! I'd frame these and hang them on the wall!

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  8. Is there anything you're not amazing at? These are so beautiful!

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  9. Hi Jen, that castle is goooorrrgeous!!!!!
    Soo beautiful

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  10. Yes - I loved the eye candy! Thanks for sharing.

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  11. How much would you charge me for an 8x10 of that one with the gargoyle? That is so fabulous and I'd love to frame it and put that up in my home.

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  12. Khalysta from THE VersaillesFebruary 7, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Thank you Jen for this eye candy. Very very nice and magical

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  13. Wowzers, Jen! If you made a calendar with all your Disney photos on it, I would definitely buy one (or two)!! They are beautiful! I especially like the Sparklies!!

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  14. Swoon. These are truly beautiful.

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  15. Thank you for these! So awesome! Please come to Disneyland so that I can buy prints from you.

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  16. Wow Jen, these shots are amazing! We went to Disney just before Thanksgiving and took a few shots (not HDR) of the castle all lit up. Our pictures (not as good as yours) also have that line/gleam coming from the top spire of the castle. We thought it was just an odd twinkle. Is that actually a cable or something?

    Also, sine you were playing with bokeh, have you tried making a bokeh hood? It's basically a small disc of black paper with a shaped hole cut out in the center that goes over your lens. If the cut out is a heart, your picture will look the same, but the bokeh will be in the shape of hearts, not just round dots. Something fun to play with!

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    1. Oooh, I want to try that now!

      And that line/gleam is actually Tinkerbell's cable. (She flies down each night before the fireworks.) I thought about 'shopping it out, but ended up leaving it, since then everyone would KNOW I 'shopped it out. Heh.

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    2. Thanks for the info about Tinkerbell's cable! Here's the site I used to make my own bokeh hoods:
      http://www.diyphotography.net/diy_create_your_own_bokeh Can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  17. I got my husband a Canon DSLR for Christmas... I really want him to take HDR photos. I'm going to show his these to encourage him!

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  18. These are beautiful! I would love to order prints too! You keep saying some of these other artists need to open a shop but I think maybe you need one too! :)

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  19. These are the best photos of Disney I have ever seen, and I have basically lived in Orlando almost my whole life.

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  20. These photos are spectacular. The "jazz hands" comment made me wonder if you'd ever read this piece: http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2007/02/05/070205sh_shouts_doyle it seems like humor you would enjoy. :)

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  21. Beautiful. Just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  22. These are beautiful! I would love to have prints of each and everyone. It also makes me very jealous that I don't live by Disney so my husband can pictures like these. Thank you for sharing your talent!

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  23. These are so beautiful! I love the almost ethereal nature of the lights! Thank you for sharing!

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  24. Thanks for all the pictures. I've never gotten the chance to go to Disny and for me this is just wonderful! You make me feel like I might actually be there experiencing the magic. I'm assuming there is real magic there and you just manage to capture it on film.

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  25. All your pictures look lovely as usual! I don't know how you manage to get such high-quality shots.

    On a different note, I just spotted this slightly steampunk golden snitch necklace that I thought worthy of sharing:
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/88167625/discount-free-shipping-golden-snitch?ref=sr_gallery_39&ga_search_query=steampunk&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_ref=auto2&ga_explicit_scope=1&ga_search_type=handmade

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  26. Wow, Jen. Just wow.

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  27. Beautiful photos, Jen!

    I love the Disney pics, but my favorite is the wire tree. It's such a gorgeous shot, and it reminded me of my grandmother who used to make wire trees kind of like that, only she twisted hundreds of tiny glass seed beads onto the branches to simulate leaves or flowers or both. I'd never seen anything like that before (this was when I was a young kid), so I was amazed and mesmerized by them. She was a fantastic artist. Thanks for bringing back those memories for me.

    Always thrilled to see your photography posts, so keep up the fantastic work!

    KW

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    1. I agree!! I bought a couple of Disney photos, but I got the copper tree in a fancy-schmancy art print in an extra large size. I LOVE it! It's so pretty!! Well done, Jen!!!!

      Jen--Have you thought about adding a signature to the photos? It'd be nice to hve your name at the bottom when people ask where I got them from!

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  28. I got halfway through, and I was like "I NEED SOME OF THESE AS PRINTS." Then I got down to the end and saw that someone had already beaten me to it :)

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  29. Would love to get as good as this. THIS is exactly why I wanted to get into photography; to capture and play with that picture. However, due to location I'm due to take pics of birds and blades of grass for the time being. Keep up the good work. Loving it.

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