When I think of Big Bend….

This is what I think of:

my Big Bend

To me, this is Big Bend.  Multiple cactus (cacti???) in the foreground, you can see forever, rocky soil, mountains in the background and truly big sky county… This is another of those images that I saw in b&w and shot it as such in camera.  What’s different for me about this shot is that it is an HDR – done in camera in my new 5DMkIII.  The scene was pretty high contrasty – shooting back into some moody, backlit clouds I was either getting the foreground or the background, but not both in a traditional single shot.  I had been playing with the HDR a little bit and figured I’d give it a shot here as well and I’m obviously pleased with it, or I wouldn’t be sharing it with you.

I have to say that honestly I have not really been a big fan of the whole HDR thing.  I’d say 90% of what I’ve seen is neat, interesting and even pretty in some cases, but I don’t know that I’ve seen a lot of HDR that actually reflects what the scene was really like.  My goal here was to mimic what my eye was seeing – both the foreground and background elements and I think it’s been successful here and I’m willing to put HDR into the tool kit in the future in cases like this; I think it has potential to open up a range of shots for me that I’d otherwise miss out on.


~ by Derrick Birdsall on May 24, 2012.

15 Responses to “When I think of Big Bend….”

  1. I’m HDR-neutral (if there is such a thing). Seems like people either love it or hate it… to me it comes down to the particular shot… if it adds or detracts (in my mind). Sometimes they do seem ‘overcooked’ and don’t accurately represent the original scene. Of course, my non-HDR shots do that very same thing. AND I usually do so much dodging / burning it’s almost like ‘manual’ HDR when you stop to think about it.
    Wow – talk about saying a little with a lot – sorry about that, Mr. B!


  2. Can anyone explain what HDR stands for?


    • High Dynamic Range – you take three images of the same thing, but with different levels of exposure and then put them all together.

      thanks for stopping by and subscribing!


      • Ohh, now it totally makes sense, no problems, I’ve really enjoyed reading through your blog 🙂 Perhaps you would be interested in mine, which is about Texas Lottery News


  3. I’ve never been a great fan of much of the HDR I’ve seen — like spilledinkguy, ‘overcooked’ is the first word that pops into my mind when I see it.

    Not this one though… it isn’t overdone. It’s HDR used well to bring out what would have been lost otherwise. Very well done Derrick.


    • thank you PJ – as I said, I’m with you guys – I’ve seen some HDR stuff that just doesn’t look “real” at all. In this case, I think it has captured what my eyes were seeing pretty well, which is exactly what I was after. As you pointed out, it largely would have either been over exposed or in shadow, losing a huge section of this great scene.


  4. I wouldn’t have guessed this was an HDR image. It simply looks like a very well-exposed shot. I agree with the others that most HDR images are jsut too much. They end up looking so fake. You did good! 🙂


    • Thanks! What is hard to see is just how blown out the scene was if I exposed on the shadows and how dark it was if I exposed on the clouds and setting sun. In this case, HDR let me capture what I was seeing! 🙂


  5. Hey I wouldn’t have been able to tell this was an HDR shot. I really like the way you shot this picture. As for the whole HDR thing. I’m with you. I think it looks really cool for certain shots and there have been some photographs that I’ve oohed and aaahed about, but at the end of the day I don’t like my pictures looking as if they are straight from Lord of the Rings graphics (great for the movie but not on my wall). However, you used integrated it very well in this photo. nice : )


  6. HDR works well here because extra detail helps add to the subtle beauty and textures that make the image. In my interpolation, this sky even improves with more detail. However, much HDR I see contains way more detail than the eye can see, which is why it often looks overdone. I agree with you and most of the other commenters: HDR is a good tool when used tastefully.


  7. Amazing Picture Derrick!


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