Trey’s Note: this is part of a week-long HDR Tip session with Rick Sammon. Pop over to Rick’s Blog to see his for the day!
If you want to find out more, feel free to see the free HDR Tutorial.
When I give these tips, just imagine a Michael-Weston-voiceover.
Sometimes, when you’re out shooting, it’s best to plan to improvise. You gotta have a plan, but you also need to think fast on our feet. Many photographers (myself included) have an introverted side, where you kind of feel comfortable blending into the background, quietly making magic through your lens… but that won’t help you change your future when opportunity arises spontaneously.
As an HDR photographer, I am intimately aware of “HDR situations” — those times when there is more light than my camera can handle. This was one of those situations. I had already scouted the entire island of Ibiza, and I knew where the sun was setting and it’s relative location to landmarks of interest. So I knew this beach was going to be perfect. It was going to be a great sunset shot anyway, but then I saw this Italian girl with some friends. She was jumping around, happy, and very spunky. I think anyone that wears a bathing suit like that has a bit of spunky-coefficient that is to be expected. Anyway, I thought she would add something to the beauty of the scene, so to speak, and I went over to talk to her.
She didn’t speak a lick of English, but there is an international language of gestures and “fun communication”. If you both go into it with a nice effort, then it’s really fun to try to talk to someone with this way. Anyway, she said her name was “Wendy” – Italian is “Guendalina”. I asked her if I could take a photo while she strolled into the ocean. She excitedly said yes and bounced down to the beach. I already had my tripod set up with the background how I wanted it, and I motioned, giving her a specific direction in which to walk. Without a hitch, she walked right in with no problems, and I fired away. There was no need for a re-take, we got it on the first try.
I normally would take 5 exposures here, from +2 to -2. If the sun was up, I would have done +3 to -3. But, this gal wasn’t standing still, nor did I want her to. Since I always shoot in RAW mode (JPEG is for children), I knew that one of my middle exposures would be perfect. I used one of those RAWs to create the final HDR you see here.