This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for the ‘HDR’ Category

Dancing House, Prague

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 20, 2014

Dancing House, Prague

[Oct. 8, 2013] Obligatory HDR photo of one of the Dancing House, Prague’s weirdest building. It was originally named Fred and Ginger, after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I think it looks like a Dalek trying to camouflage itself as an apartment building. Lots of people have done far better HDR images of this building, but I thought I’d give it a try. Handheld, processed with Adobe Photoshop CS6.

Posted in HDR, photography, Photoshop, Prague | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

My Very Own Unboxing Video

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 23, 2014

Western Wall, Jerusalem

A friend and coworker made this short video of my photo going up on the wall of his home office (that means it’s also in the background for his conference calls and on-line meetings). I feel like I’m right up there with the new iPhone! 🙂

The photo is an HDR rendering of the Western Wall, from 2010. I’ve never seen one of my works printed on 20×30″ canvas before. I’m really bad about printing my photos because I’m always chasing the “next, best” image.

Posted in HDR, photography, videos | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

HDR Time-Lapse Video

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 9, 2011

Beautiful, and bordering on insanity. HDR (high dynamic range) photography refers to the technique of combining three different exposures of the same shot so that details that the very dark and very light areas are evened out. In other words, it allows you to see details that would normally have been lost in shadow, like the rocks on a hillside in front of a rising sun. This video, Landscapes: Volume 2, is the work of Dustin Farrell, a very talented photographer and video artist. His company site is Crew West. This video is worth watching full screen.

Thanks to Miriyummy, who passed this on to me from You Got to be Kidding.

Posted in HDR, photography, videos | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Abandoned Elhadef House

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 23, 2010

Elchadif House, Yesud haMaalah

Elchadif House, Yesud haMaalah

I loved Funky Slug’s images of Potter’s Manor. I dream of roaming around an abandoned mansion, photographing decayed splendor. No such luck in Israel but I did manage to get a few photos of the interior of the Elhadef house in Yesud haMaalah, one of the oldest agricultural settlements in Israel’s Hula Valley. As you can see, the walls aren’t in very good condition. These photos were taken from the safety of the front window. No photographers were harmed in the making of these images….

Both of these photos are HDR (one in black and white, obviously), made from three exposures, handheld, and post-processed with Photomatix.

I just realised I forgot to photograph the outside of the house! It was the day we walked 17 km (about 10.5 miles) in very hot weather and high humidity, with no shade, so I wasn’t thinking clearly. Here’s the plaque affixed to the window. It describes the original owner, Nissim Behar Elhadef, as the “flower king” of Yesud haMaalah after he tried to set up a perfume factory in Yesud haMaalah. The house (and most of the village) was built by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, who supported many of the developments in this region. Yesud haMaalah was founded in 1883 by Polish immigrants

Beit Elhadef plaque

Posted in HDR, Israel, photography | 4 Comments »

My Favourite March Photos

Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 7, 2010

To be honest, March was a tough month for photographing. With Passover and all its preparations, there were times when I really had to hunt for something to point my camera at. The worst day was the night after the end of Passover. I was tired, had a million things to do (laundry, switching the kitchen to non-Passover utensils and dishes), and the holiday ended late so there wasn’t anything particularly photogenic in the vicinity. That’s why I photographed some bottles to be returned for recycling.

But, on the bright side, I got a flash for the first time, a Speedlite 580 EXII. It’s one of those things that I never thought I’d need (since I love low light and ambient light photography) and now I wonder how I did without it. I also spent half a day in the Old City of Jerusalem, so there were plenty of good things to photograph. Luckily, it was a slightly cloudy day (= more interesting sky).

But first the Speedlite…. Wow — it’s great for photos of frozen water drops! I had the tap turned on a little harder than I intended, so I got these unintentionally elongated water drops.

Pepper and Water

During one of the March rain storms, there was a double rainbow. Since I hadn’t left home for work, I stood on my balcony, shot three frames, and created this panorama. I’ve shot double rainbows before but never an entire rainbow.

Double Rainbow Panorama

I photographed these tourists with my longest (250mm) lens. I stood on one of the stone benches at the back of the women’s section and got this shot close to the front. It just struck me as very funny, all these tourists with their cameras pointed at each other, over the barrier.

How many cameras...?

I haven’t done HDR for a while. When I did the Old City one I must have been in a mood for silly effects, so it’s a bit unnatural, to say the least. I may redo it someday, with less extreme tone mapping.

Old City of Jerusalem

What I love about HDR is the way it reveals detail normally hidden in shadows. This photo of a Chihuly installation was taken in the foyer of the new Aish haTorah building.

Chihuly Installation

I’m not sure what April will be like with my DSLR in the shop. It is still under warranty and was sent via registered mail this morning to Ro’im haOlam in Petach Tikva. Stay tuned. I did manage to borrow a camera body (an old XT), which is a relief because it’s not easy to find someone willing to lend a camera on Yom Atzma’ut. Rental wasn’t an option — too difficult logistically. There’s only one place in Israel that rents photography equipment, that I know of, and it’s  in Tel Aviv. I can’t get there by 10 a.m. by bus from Maale Adumim (if it were in Jerusalem, that’s another matter). That’s not even taking into consideration the 150 NIS/day holiday/weekend rental fee.

Now I’m scrounging CF cards because my camera uses SDHC cards and the owner of the XT only has a single 2 Gb card. The cameras also use different batteries but I should be okay with the one battery because the Speedlite uses 4 AA batteries. I wish I could try it out this week but the owner wants to use it this weekend.


Posted in HDR, Israel, panoramas, photography | Tagged: , , , , | 10 Comments »

HDR in the Old City, Jerusalem

Posted by Avital Pinnick on March 21, 2010

What can you do with a site that’s been photographed a million times? Well, if you happen to show up during a tsunami, that’s one option. Or the building of the Third Temple — that’s another but rather hard to mark in your calendar. I decided to try a little HDR.

This view of the Old City was taken on a slightly cloudy day (love those clouds for HDR!) from the roof of the Aish haTorah yeshiva building. I used three exposures.

Old City of Jerusalem

This photo of the Kotel (Western Wall) was generated from a single RAW file because it was the only way I could deal with all the movement, in this case, all the people walking through the plaza. Sure, it looks quite unnatural. I chose the surreal look because the Kotel has been done so often.

Western Wall, Jerusalem

The Dale Chihuly glass installation in the atrium of Aish haTorah was done with three separate exposures. I post-processed it to look a bit more natural, so you can actually see the colours, shading, and texture of the glass that would otherwise have been obscured by the shadows.

Chihuly Installation

For the sake of comparison, here’s an unprocessed photo of the installation.

Chihuly Glass Installation

All three photos were processed with Photomatix 3.0. Camera was hand-held.


Posted in HDR, Israel, photography | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Month of Roses

Posted by Avital Pinnick on March 2, 2010

February, the shortest month of the year, turned out to have the largest number of  rose photos in quite a while. I don’t normally photograph flowers unless it’s spring and I’m hiking in an area with a lot of wild flowers.

The roses started when Eitan, a co-worker who is retiring soon, stopped by my room to say goodbye and to give me a rose from his garden. I put it in a cup of water on the window sill. Although it was a cloudy day, I managed to photograph it just as the clouds parted and a little sun shone through. I had to take this at a very weird angle, almost lying on my desk, because it had to be slightly overexposed so that the white did not look grey. The overexposed sky, however, looked weird, so I placed a white cloud directly behind the rose. This gave the photo no edges to place the rose, so it almost floats in space. The bottom petals had to be cropped rather severely because the reflections of the ridged plastic cup were visible.

White Rose

The following week, the rose was still alive. The next shot was done with the free-lens macro technique: I took the 18-55mm kit lens off the body, turned it around, and tilted the edge to allow some light leaks. Turning the lens increased the magnification and tilting the lens created the hazy effect. The depth of field tends to be very shallow when the lens is turned around, so only a few of the stamens are in focus.

Rose Center

A week later the rose was thoroughly dead and dried out. This photo shows an interesting crispy texture and mottled colour.

Dead Rose

The next two rose pictures were done with a bouquet that my husband bought for Shabbat and Purim. They’ve been heavily post-processed, which reminds me — has anyone noticed lately the proliferation of free/purchased Photoshop actions and textures with names like Vintage Haze, Milk and Honey, Sun-Kissed Sweetness? I’ve seen those effects (over)used on scrapbooking sites but now they seem to creeping into Flickr pools.

I don’t mind Photoshop and and obvious post-processing if they are used creatively and for some purpose, but an entire photostream of hazy, washed-out roses and blue-eyed little girls in wheat fields can be a bit much. Just as an aside, Scott Bourne, in one of his recent Photofocus podcasts, said that as far as he’s concerned, if it originates in a camera, it’s a photograph. I agree with his approach and would add that if you’re going to use your computer to enhance a photo, at least ask yourself why you’re doing it and what you hope to achieve. And make sure that it’s a good photo in the first place! OK, thanks for letting me vent….

In this shot I chose HDR (high dynamic range) because I wanted to emphasize the rich colours and the velvety texture in a way that wasn’t possible with what I had available (a fluorescent desk lamp illuminating a bunch of roses). I took three exposures with the camera on a tripod, then ran it through Photomatix, choosing settings that gave it a natural look but with the colour intensified. The colour, not the rose, was really the subject of this photo.

HDR Rose

The last shot, from the same bouquet, was run through Photoshop’s channel mixer, monochrome, with the green channel set to a negative value. In this case I wanted to concentrate on the form of the rose, not the colour, because I was interested in what could be done with a black-and-white rose. The negative green channel value makes the black-and-white rendering look a bit like a negative. I particularly liked the black rim around the edges of the petals, almost like a pen stroke in India ink. I could have pushed the channels further to make it look like a true negative or like a pen-and-ink sketch, but I didn’t want to lose the delicate shading of a photograph, so this is what I chose in the end.

B/W Rose


Posted in HDR, photography | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Six HDR Photos from 2009

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 8, 2010

I’ve been dabbling in HDR for a couple years and am still learning what works and what doesn’t. Currently I am using Photomatix to generate the HDR because it provides so much control. I tried Qtpfsgui, the free open-source program (does anyone out there know how to pronounce this name?). I found it difficult to use unless I applied the presets, which tended to be a bit on the grunge side for my taste. I have also used Photoshop CS2. It’s adequate but takes a long time to crank out the HDR file unless you have a really fast computer. So at the moment I prefer Photomatix.

I haven’t decided what HDR style I lean towards — grunge, realistic, or eyeball-searing, pimped-to-the-max — because I’m still experimenting with different subjects. Buildings and industrial settings work well. So do shopping centers, although you have the problem with ghosting caused by moving people. I haven’t had much experience with generating an HDR from a single RAW file, but that would be my choice if I were trying to create an HDR of a moving subject.

Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The clear, cloudless skies that are typical in a desert climate are boring to photograph. They need a few clouds for interest. I was fortunate to have a “good sky day” when I took the three exposures for this shot. The bricks appear not to have been lined up properly by Photomatix, but when I checked one of the originals I discovered that those ripples are caused by the water, not the software. One of the coolest aspects of this photo was the discovery of the green tiles on the bottom of the pool. Although I’ve seen the dome and fountains many times, I had never noticed the green tiles because that area gets very little sunlight, and certainly not in the late afternoon (standard photo taken at same time).

Dome, Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum (HDR)

Second Temple Model of Jerusalem, Israel Museum

Clouds and sunshine are a great subject for HDR.

Jerusalem Model (HDR) 1

NDS Building, Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem

This photo of my workplace (I’m on the top floor, on the other side of the building) is a more natural rendering of HDR. I did this image before I learned how to deal with halo-ing, so there is a bit in this picture. What I found intriguing is the way the reflections of the building on the other side of the parking lot really pop. You can see the difference if you look at the original photo.

Assignment 38: Buildings

Adumim Mall, Maale Adumim

As soon as I saw the pomegranates, stars, and gift boxes hanging from the ceiling, I had to try an HDR image. That’s one of the cool things about learning HDR — you’re never sure at first how an image will turn out, so each one is a surprise. I love the way the decorations seem to shimmer.

Some of the people are walking or standing in different positions in the three exposures. Photomatix seems to choose one version and suppress the others, as part of its anti-ghosting algorithm.

Shopping Center

Park Center, Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem

A seriously ugly mall in an industrial park in north Jerusalem where I only go to mail letters or buy shampoo. The ceiling is made of translucent, corrugated fiberglass panels, which turns the natural light a sickly yellow. In real life the mall is dark, littered with pigeon droppings, and dingy (original photo). The HDR rendering brightens the ceiling and tiles and makes it look futuristic.

Park Center, Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem


I took this shot for a photo list assignment of a picture that showed something forgotten. When I saw a tiny lacy sock and silver shoe in a park while on my morning walk, I raced home and grabbed my camera. The HDR rendering was an artistic decision because I wanted the picture to have a dreamy, surreal effect. I was trying to avoid a “crime scene photo” effect (“The missing girl was last seen ….”). I imagined a little girl,  dressed in her Shabbat finery, taking off her scratchy lace sock and shoe and leaving them under the bushes.


“Learning Experiences” 🙂

Sukkah HDR

Galileo Thermometer HDR

Abandoned CDs


Posted in HDR, photography | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Blog Backups with Google Reader

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 30, 2009

Abandoned CDs

I stumbled upon this yesterday, when mailing myself something that I’d read in Google Reader, the popular RSS feed aggregator. I have subscribed to my own feed since the fourth posting and it dawned on me that I could mail my own RSS feed to myself.

Important note: This only works for backing up small numbers of postings. If you go over a certain limit (a sure sign is when Google Reader displays a capcha), Reader thinks you’re a spammer and locks you out for a few hours. You can switch to another browser until this happens again but you will get locked out eventually if you’re not careful. If you already have a backup routine and want a little extra security, this is an easy method.


Today is November 30, 2009, the end of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) for November. Actually, every month is a NaBloPoMo month, but I didn’t know that when I signed up on Nov. 3, so I’m actually short by two blog postings, officially.

It was an interesting exercise. At first it was much harder to find things to blog about. One thing that helped was to line up draft postings for Friday and Saturday, because the time around Shabbat is busy and I don’t always find something bloggable in my kitchen or laundry room. I didn’t notice any increase in traffic. I think that the only way to guarantee that is to cross-post to the NaBloPoMo blog site, which is essentially blogging twice. I did that a couple times, then lost patience.

I’m glad I tried to stick with daily blogging and I’m relieved to reach the end of the month. The kind of things I blog about don’t really lend themselves to daily posts, unless I want to turn this into a daily photo site (to do that, I would have to get out a lot more).


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Mall Improvement

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 13, 2009

Yesterday I walked over to the tiny mall near my workplace to buy a new hairbrush. (My son managed to break my relatively new hairbrush by brushing against it so that it fell to the floor and broke in half, which suggest that it wasn’t such a great hairbrush to begin with.) The Park Center is a run-down fleapit. A friend described it as “slummy,” which is accurate. When I walked inside, I snapped three quick shots for a possible HDR picture.

Here’s an ordinary exposure of the mall. Note the cheap, corrugated plastic roof. You can’t see all the pigeon droppings at this distance. This atrium must be one of the most depressing buildings in the entire industrial park during a rain storm because this yellow roof is its only source of light.


Here’s the HDR version. It looks like it would be a pleasure to shop there. Or receive transmissions from outer space.

I don’t think I ever noticed before that the staircase goes higher than the main landing. Next time I will check it out for an overhead shot.

Park Center, Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem

Maybe I can get a job with the Ministry of Tourism or local real estate agents. 🙂

Posted in HDR, photography | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »