Wednesday, 18 August 2010

HDR photography

As my regular followers will know, my other main passion aside from art is photography. Today, while having a good rest following a few days back-breaking work moving a concrete path, I decided to mess with my camera and took a fairly poor shot of a flowering cactus on our kitchen window sill. Knowing that the light coming through  the window would make exposure difficult I took 3 shots, one under exposed by 1 stop, one over exposed by 1 stop, and one exposed normally.

As you can see from the first three photo's, if the cactus was correctly exposed, the outside was too bright, and if the outside was correct, the cactus was in shade. Even the third shot - the middle route - doesn't show much of the detail on the cactus.

It's at this point that I remembered that my digital imaging software of choice (Paintshop Pro) has an HDR facility. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and what that means in plain English is the ability to display exposures at either end of the scale.

HDR effectively merges these 3 photo's to get the best of all worlds and as you can see from the result in the fourth photo, the outside is properly exposed whilst the detail of the cactus has been retained. This isn't the best of examples and it certainly isn't the best of photo's, but it shows how effective HDR can be at making a good photo from poor conditions.

Fishing Boat

When in Torbay last year I came across this small boat laden with fishing paraphernalia. With grapling hooks and harpoons, I can't imagine what sort of fish it's owner tries to catch.

Watercolour - 12"x9"

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Irish Church

It's been a while since I last did a serious pencil drawing so I decided to put that right. I've always believed that Drawing helps us tremendously with our painting. Not only does it help us to outline our subject before picking up our brushes, but it teaches us a lot about tonal values. I also have to admit that I am much more 'at home' with a pencil in my hand, than a brush. I enjoy painting, but I always feel more satisfied with my drawings than my watercolours.

I found this ruined church as we drove along the narrow country lanes of County Kerry in Ireland. Looking through the open window revealed the pews still in place and the graveyard was still in reasonable order. It was an odd discovery.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Comfort Zone

I'm not sure I have a 'comfort zone' when it comes to watercolours, but if I do this painting certainly isn't in it. I've again decided to tackle something I've never tried before. I wanted to use what I learned making the heat and steam clouds in my Steel Worker painting, but in a different scenario, so I decided to create a war scene with troops deploying from a helicopter in a swirling cloud of desert sand.

Just like my previous painting, I didn't know where to start nor how to get the effects I was looking for. I had a significant problem with scaling part way through and the final painting is the result of a 'rescue' job. I'm not thrilled with it, but I'm not disappointed either given the learning curve I was on. And I certainly did learn a lot from doing it.