Tales From The Dark Side; Stephen King, Meet Chris Alvanas Page 2

You see, Chris breaks with the conventional wisdom of HDR photography in two ways: he often hand holds his camera, and he sometimes uses people in his scenes.

Both are a bit tricky because it’s a series of exposures that creates the final image.

But Chris found in his original experiments with HDR that the high framing rate of today’s digital SLRs allowed him to fire off a five-frame auto-bracket sequence fast enough to support handheld images.

“The idea of the urban athlete series was that the subjects would convey an attitude that went along with the surroundings.”

“And even if something does fall a little bit out of register, that adds to the esthetic of what I’m looking for,” he says. Besides, a tripod would inhibit the kind of spontaneous look he likes to get.

“My bracketing is by shutter speed,” he explains, “and I know I’m going to go two stops below, so my starting speed is at least up around 1/125 second; so the lowest speed would be in the 1⁄30 second range.”

“I saw from the beginning that HDR could be used to capture the dark mood and gritty feeling you get from this urban athlete image. To add a little kick of light, I used some strobes here, but they fired at full strength for only two of the five exposures because of the recycle time they needed.”

The people in his images require “some necessary direction,” he says. “But they know what’s going to happen, so they stay pretty still.”

Of course he could boost the camera’s ISO. “But I like to stay in the 100 range, though I’ll go to 400 if I need to. And if the ISO gets a little noisy, well, sometimes a bit of noise can add a texturized grittiness to the image.”

“I used a reflector here to bounce some light into him.” This is the only one of the photos for which Chris used a tripod.

Mr. King, if these pages find their way to you, perhaps what you see will strike an appropriately menacing minor chord.

What’s in it for me?

Just a good story.

Barry Tanenbaum