Deck The Halls With Websites; Have An HDR Christmas
“Never say never, for if you live long enough, chances are you will not be able to abide by its restrictions.”—Gloria Swanson
In February I closed my blog and considered closing my Facebook and Flickr pages. Times change though, and several of my colleagues encouraged me to alter those plans, and if there’s anything more wonderful about the web it’s that changes can be made. Let’s start with my blog (www.joefaraceblogs.com) which was revamped to exclusively focus on how-to tips, techniques, and tools and is updated daily. Please check it out. My experience writing “Flickr Photo Champs” for the August issue gave me a new perspective on this photo-sharing website (www.flickr.com/photos/joefarace) and I’m now using it as a communications tool. I still visit my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/joe.farace) from time to time, mostly for longer posts than Twitter permits, but have adopted a more how-to orientation on both social-networking sites. You can follow me at: www.twitter.com/joefarace.
Trey Ratcliff’s state-of-the-art site integrates tutorials, a blog, and a portfolio, but I’ll focus mainly on the images and let you explore the rest. Believe me, it’s worth it. Stuck in Customs is a travel photography site but since Ratcliff is renowned for his HDR photography his portfolio bristles with superb examples of this genre such as “Fourth on Lake Austin,” which shows how this multi-exposure technique can be applied to something as dynamically changing as a fireworks display. Large images from his portfolio are displayed alongside thumbnails on the left and when hovering your mouse, captions appear over the thumbnails, making selecting the next picture you want to ooh and ahh over so much easier. And ooh and ahh you will, because Ratcliff is a maestro of HDR photography. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak at a conference or workshop, jump at the chance. I heard his presentation on color and perception and it will change your thinking about color the way Richard Zakia’s landmark 1975 book Perception and Photography affected imaging when it was first published.
But Ratcliff is first and foremost an extremely talented travel photographer whose total control over the medium allows him to produce images of unsurpassed power. Can’t make HDR photos of people? Check out “This is Nathaniel” to see how wrong we all are. Don’t think that HDR can be subtle? Look at “Chicago Thaws into Spring.” And for an image that puts the magic in the Magic Kingdom, don’t miss “The Magic of Disney” for a view of Hollywood Studios that even Walt Disney never imagined. Take your time to explore Stuck in Customs and visit www.stuckincustoms.com/hdr-tutorial for a free HDR tutorial.
Brian Matiash’s site combines blog and portfolio functions in a seamless fashion using NetRivet’s (www.prophotoblogs.com) ProPhoto Photographer Template and his implementation is pretty sharp. His image collections include Commercial, City Life, UrbEx/Grunge, and Nature & Landscape. Commercial includes elegant interior images that feature the kind of hyperrealism that only High Dynamic Range capture and processing techniques can produce. City Life is more varied and contains one insanely great, mostly monochrome, and untitled (it’s Image 7 of 11, which kinda sounds like Jeri Ryan’s “Seven of Nine”) photograph that stretches the conventional definition of HDR, pushing it into the kind of new direction it must go to become more than just another photographic niche. Over in UrbEx/Grunge Matiash takes you into a new blue world with his image entitled “City in the Floor,” which is but one of the eight images in this gallery that show his mastery of the medium. I wish there were more because each one is more mind-blowing than the one before it. With Nature & Landscape, Matiash gets all traditional—if that’s a word that can be applied to any HDR image—with sweeping Wuthering Heights seascapes tossed into an eclectic mix of landscape images, but it’s the images of the sea that have the most power. The site can be confusing to navigate at times but you’ll figure it out and get to enjoy large photographs that clearly demonstrate the power of HDR.
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