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PhotoZAP 58: Palette Expander
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PhotoZAP 58: Palette Expander

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

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“Here's a great example of making HDRI and bracketing work for you.”—Jack Howard


Photo © Wardell L. Freeman Jr., Las Vegas, NV. Gear: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens with circular polarizer, mounted on Manfrotto Tripod and Really Right Stuff Ballhead. Exposure: Auto bracketed at 1/99 sec, 1/395 sec, 1/25 sec at f/11, ISO 200.  HDR merge and sharpened in Corel Paintshop Photo Pro X3.

Photographer’s statement: “My Wife and I and two of our grandchildren took a short three trip to Death Valley where we stopped at Artist’s Palette. In front of this scene is a bench where I took some pictures of the grandkids. As I started to pan the mountain I saw this scene and shot it. Because it was 10:00 AM, I was not happy with it so I decided to bracket another exposure and we moved on to the next site. Upon returning home, I took the bracketed exposures and merged them in Paintshop Photo Pro X3, sharpened it a little bit and what I saw was almost three dimensional—it looked real like the dirt was moving.”

Our critics say…


Jack Howard: Here's a great example of making HDRI and bracketing work for you. That simple +/-2 bracketing combined with Paint Shop Pro's easy and well-controllable HDR engine tames the very high contrast very believably, and really gives great texture and tonality to this rugged landscape. My only gripe is that there's very little in the way of anything in the very near foreground, which is probably due to the limitation of the landscape and safety railing or fences inside the park–which may exclude shooting for a slightly lower point of view to add some foreground features.

Mark Lent: I agree with Jack on all of his points- the detail is wonderful. I love HDR images that don’t have that HDR image “look” to them. This shot is a great example of how to do HDR the right way. Compositionally, I like the higher horizon, but would also like something of interest within the land itself to give some added interest to the image and break the pattern of the land. An animal or something colorful would work really well in this situation. The addition of a person or animal would also give some scale to this shot as well. Regardless, a very nice shot with great technique.

Mason Resnick: The HDR in this image is so well done I could not tell, until I read the photographer’s tech data, that this was an HDR image. The fact that the HDR doesn’t call attention to itself (as it so often does) is a big positive. Bravo! That said, I wish that this were a stronger composition. What in this image is most important to the photographer? There are many interesting pieces here—the sand in the foreground, the colorful areas farther back, the beautiful blue of the sky. There are interesting things here or there, but no visual anchor.

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