Using Photomatix to Blend Exposures

Photomatix Test 3
When you are shooting a room with a great view, it is a good idea to show that view, if you can. But that is more complicated when you think about the exposure levels outside versus inside the room. Since I was in an awesome location recently (the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek, Colorado), I decided to use the property to do some practice on. I have posted a few images from this test in the Photography For Real Estate Flickr group (yes, it is a Flickr complement to Larry Lohrman’s excellent site/ blog) and have received some useful feedback from it.

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Sometimes I get to see cool stuff

Red Lego Volvo XC90
I am lucky in that my travels sometimes take me to some very cool places and I get to see or do things I have never done before. Such was the case at the recent Governor’s 2008 Colorado Tourism Conference in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Besides being in the mountains for all of the great fall colors, I came across this car near the ice rink in the main plaza at Bachelor Gulch.

It is a Volvo XC90 that has been completely covered in Lego. I tried searching for it on Google to learn more (there were no placards or anything else to explain why it was there), but all I came up with were references to a blue one. As you can quite clearly see, this is not the blue one that kept coming up in my Google searches.

Here are more photos of the red Lego Volvo. And in case you were wondering, yes, it is a real car underneath – I got down on the ground to take a look.

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More real estate practice

Room at Park Hyatt, Beaver CreekLast week in Beaver Creek I was able to take advantage of the great surroundings to do some practice photos for real estate purposes. At the same conference, I met with the manager of a new property in the mountains that is wanting some photography done. They don’t have a budget per se, but do love to trade. So I am planning on trading my photography for a couple of nights in the property during ski season. Should work out well for both of us.

The picture above, while not quite what I wanted, was generated on my laptop from 5 exposures (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2) combined in Photomatix. It is my intent to do a full on review of Photomatix in the next couple of weeks. But all in all, I am happy with the result here. I’d like to lighten it a bit of course, but it does give the feeling of the view you get from my room at the Park Hyatt. I think that the next time I do this, I might be inclined to take 9 exposures, shooting at -2, -1.5, -1, -0.5, 0, +0.5, +1, +1.5, +2 and seeing if that results in a better image. I need to go back to my notes from the HDRI book I read so long ago.

I could probably hang my shingle out for this now, but I want to get it right before I start expecting people to pay for my time.

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Reflections in a pond
Last week when I went to Beaver Creek, I took some time to drive up near Gray’s and Torrey’s Peaks. The idea was to get a shot of the great fall colors. Turns out though, that my favorite picture from that sidetrip is this one. It is a reflection of Gray’s Peak in a mud puddle that was in the middle of the forest service road. I rotated it so the mountain was upright, and I think it is an incredibly clear reflection of the mountain. Couldn’t have planned a shot like this, it just happened. The big question to me is if you like it upright like this, or should I have left it upside down?

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Colorado Fall Colors

View from the Park Hyatt, Beaver Creek
Last week I had the privilege of staying at the Park Hyatt Resort in Beaver Creek, Colorado for the 2008 Governor’s Colorado Tourism Conference. The event was a huge success, and the keynote’s and breakout’s alike were immensely valuable.

One thing that kept getting mentioned was how intense the fall colors were. A co-worker and I drove up Wednesday morning. Along the way we stopped near Gray’s and Torrey’s Peaks to take in the color and snap some photos. I hate doing my PP work on my laptop (the photo above was done on the laptop and I think it is time to recalibrate the color on it), so I saved most of them until this week. I’ll work on the post processing and get the photos online in the next few days. I think I got some good shots, including some beetle kill ones that might make for good stock imagery, since that is such a hot topic these days.

Sadly, the beautiful color may not have lasted through the weekend. As we were leaving Beaver Creek on Friday afternoon, storms were blowing in with a fury. And I saw on the news last night that it was snowing pretty good in the mountains. That usually equates to the leaves being knocked off the trees. Hopefully you were able to experience it while it was there, I can’t remember the last time the colors were so vivid. By the way, the photo above is the view from my room at the conference.

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