This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘2009’

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


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My Ten Favourite Photos of 2009

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 11, 2010

Good heavens, it’s just dawned on me that we’re in the new year. (In Israel, Jan. 1 is an ordinary work day, so it’s easy to let it slip by.) Borrowing an idea from KT Photowalk and others, I’m posting my ten favourite photos of 2009. It’s been an interesting year, one in which I acquired my first serious (for me, that is) camera and started carrying a camera around with me.

1. Double Rainbow (Feb. 2009) – Lucky shot taken from my balcony one morning with a Canon S5. I had had this camera for about 14 months.

Double Rainbow

2. Purim Bride (Mar. 2009) – Taken with the S5 from a van on my way to work. This little girl just happened to turn her head at that moment, while her mother was simultaneously fussing with her hem and carrying on a cellphone conversation.

Purim Bride

3. Dandelion at sunset (Apr. 2009) – Taken with the S5, lying on the ground outside our apartment building, so that I could get the sun at a good angle. I remember wishing for the clarity of a DSLR. The Canon S5 is a good camera, but it’s still a point and shoot.

Dandelion at sunset

4. “Beyond the Suns” Performance by Pyromania (June 2009) – Taken with a Canon Rebel XSi (450D). Woohoo! At last I could do the low-light photography that I could only dream of with the S5!

"Between the Suns"

5. Globe Thistle (June 2009) – The Rebel let me get shallow depth of field and really sharp details of flowers, especially after I got the 50mm f/1.8 lens (this photo was taken with the 18-55mm kit lens).

Globe Thistle

6. Wolf Spider Reflections (July 2009) – Someone brought in a captured spider in a plastic food storage container.

Spider Reflection Revisited

7. Sunflare (Aug. 2009) – I learned how to photograph sunflares. This photo was taken through the leaves of a succulent plant in a neighbour’s garden.


8. Shrine of the Book (Oct. 2009) – I started experimenting with HDR. I still can’t get over the green tiles under the water.

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

9. Free-Lensing (Oct. 2009) – First experiment with free-lensing, where you hold the lens in front of the camera to allow light to leak into the body of the camera.


10. Pampas Grass at Sunset (Nov. 2009) – Someone was trying to fix something on my computer, so I took my camera and shot a few frames in the courtyard of the building where I work.

Pampas grss at sunset


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Third Night of Hanukkah 2009

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 14, 2009

3rd Night of Hanukkah, 2009

My husband’s hanukkiah (menorah) is a different style of oil-burning lamp. He bought it in a gift store in Jerusalem over 20 years ago, when he was a student, so it’s not an expensive one. It’s made of cast metal with a couple screws holding the cover of the cups to the base. The shamash, that is, the single light at the top used for lighting the lights at the bottom, is a separate piece but it’s very difficult to light the wicks with a lit lamp unless the wicks are all at exactly the right angle and length.

Very few people use this style of hanukkiah because it is so fiddly to set up and clean. The cotton wicks have to be twisted and forced through the hole with a wire. The cups hold a very small amount of oil but will usually burn over 3 hours on average, so I guess you could say it’s fuel efficient. Did I mention that it leaks? Yes, if you fill it a little too full, the seams where the cups are joined to the tops lets the olive oil seep all over the table, which is why we keep it on a foil-covered tray.

When the wicks burn out, the house is filled with the smell of burning oil. Ahhhh — tradition….

People often complain about the time involved in setting up and maintaining the regular oil-burning hanukkiot with glass (or sometimes plastic) cups and pre-made wax-covered wicks. This old-style hanukkiah makes the newer ones look like a mode of convenience. Needless to say, my husband is in charge of filling and maintaining this hanukkiah. I have a small set of surgical instruments (minus the scalpel) that we use only for this hanukkiah. The probe is great for forcing the wick through the hole in the cover. The forceps are necessary for pulling up a bit of fresh wick each night, squeezing out excess oil if the hanukkiah has been prepared several hours in advance, and quenching a smoldering wick before it starts smelling up the living room.

3rd Night of Hanukkah, 2009

I photographed a neighbour’s hanukkiah box because it’s not a common style. This box has the shamash in its own compartment above the lights themselves and hinged doors instead of the usual drop-down pane of glass in front. The glass isn’t very clean, so it is almost impossible to see the lights themselves but the low profile of the hanukkiah and the brightness of the light indicate that it is almost certainly an oil-burning hanukkiah. If you look closely you can see the glass cups for the oil.

Third Night of Hanukkah


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