Green in California

The hills in California are finally green after a dry spell over the winter we finally got some rain.  However I know this won’t last too long.  Finally we had a day with some cloud cover, but not the typical grey sky, so I headed out to try to capture the hills while they are still green.  I found a driveway right off of the highway that was quite appealing.  After parking off the road and walking less than 50 feet I was able to take the above photo.

I put the image on Facebook and Google plus and received some nice comments, one person thought it looked surreal and someone else claimed it was a product of just bumping up the saturation, which was not at all the case.  The reason why the photo looks like it does is a combination of a great camera, great lens and using 3 separate exposures combined into one.  The human eye can see a range of light that far exceeds the capability of even the best digital cameras, so by taking 3 or more exposures at different apertures, you can combine them using software to use the best exposure for each part, a technique called HDR or High  Dynamic Range.  To demonstrate, the photo below shows one of those three exposures, without any post processing on the left.  On the right side is the final image after combining 3 exposures.

SideBySide

You can see that it is not a matter of increasing the saturation, something that lower end cameras do automatically to make pictures look more vivid.  Instead the differences are one of exposure or how light or dark the image is in each part.  That is very beneficial with the sky area, letting the final product be closer to what my eyes saw than any of the individual images were able to produce.

Photo Details
Location
Bay Area, California
Camera
Nikon D800
Lens
Nikon 16-35 mm f4.0
Image
RAW
Focal Length
28 mm
Exposure
f8 with ISO 200, 3 exposures at 1/500, 1/1000, 1/250 sec
Post Processing
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom then Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 using 3 images

New Zealand Sounds

This image was taken from a ship sailing by the Sounds off the coast of New Zealand.

Photo Details
Location
The Sounds, New Zealand
Camera
Nikon D300
Lens
Nikon 18-200
Image
RAW
Focal Length
22 mm
Exposure
f18 and 1000 at 1/250 sec with ISO
Post Processing
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom then Nik HDR Efex Pro 2

Hobbiton, New Zealand

We visited Tarunga, New Zealand to see the area where they filmed the Lord of the Rings. Since they also used the area to film the Hobbit which had not yet been released, we had to sign an agreement to not publish any photos until after the film was released.

FJK201202-5845

Photo Details
Location
Tarunga, New Zealand
Camera
Nikon D300
Lens
Tokina 11-16 f/2.8
Image
RAW
Focal Length
11 mm
Exposure
f11 at 1/500 sec, with ISO 1000
Post Processing
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom then Nik HDR Efex Pro 2

Yokohama, Japan at Night

We were visiting Yokohama Japan and after dinner I had this great view but unfortunately I did not have a tripod with me, so I bumped the ISO up to 1,600 and shot this hand held.

Photo Details
Location
Yokohama, Japan
Camera
Nikon D300
Lens
Tokina 11-16 f/2.8
Image
RAW
Focal Length
15 mm
Exposure
f2.8 with ISO 1600, 1/40 sec hand held
Post Processing
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom