I’m back home from my whirlwind tour of Tampa, where I was given the honor of appearing on Scott Kelby’s new show, The Grid. I had a great time hanging out with my buddies Scott and RC and I just wish I had more time down there to visit with the rest of my friends at Kelby Media. Everyone there is approaching DEFCON 2 as Photoshop World fast approaches. Even still, they took the time to make me feel right at home, even giving me my own personal office space for the day.
I never even got a chance to bask in the glass walled glory of it all, but it made me feel all warm and fuzzy just having my name on the wall, even if it was just for one day.
The show itself was lots of fun and I think we covered some interesting topics. If you haven’t had a chance to watch, we talked about whether or not it’s cheating to grab a still from an HD video instead of shooting it the old fashioned way. This was prompted from a portrait contest that Scott saw over at PDN where one of the entries had used stills taken from hi-def video. It’s an interesting premise to grab the perfect frame when you are capturing about 30 of them per second. Of course it’s not as easy as it sounds because shooting high quality video with a hi-def DSLR is not as easy as you might think. Sure, it would be easy to review the video and then grab the perfect shot but setting up video lighting and getting that perfect focus is much more challenging for video than it is with still imagery. Even so, it does make one think about the possibilities.
The other spicy topic was HDR and whether or not it is dead. Of course there’s no better way to start a fight than to bring up HDR in a room full of photographers but I think it was a very interesting discussion. Scott Bourne, the other guest on the show who appeared via Skype, made the point that it doesn’t matter what photographers might think because the public in general really loves HDR. I managed to work in a Cinnabon analogy, comparing the first time I shot and processed HDR with my first taste of a Cinnabon roll. It was so overwhelmingly satisfying. But just like those sweet, delicious rolls, over time, anything can be overdone. Now I just shoot HDR when I feel the subject is appropriate.
There were a lot of Tweets coming in that declared HDR as cheating but I really don’t think it is. Take panoramic images as a comparison. Shooting a pano used to be very difficult. You had to have the camera set up just right, your exposures needed to match, and it took some decent Photoshop skills to bring it all together. Now, it’s so easy to do, you just click some overlapping shots and Photoshop’s Photomerge feature does all the heavy lifting. So isn’t that cheating? Maybe so, but I love the way my image looks in the end.
HDR has kind of gone through that same process. It was once a lot of work to get a great HDR shot. You had to lock down the camera on a tripod, get all of the exposures bracketed just right, and then know how to move all of those sliders in Photomatix to get just the right look. Now, the image alignment in the software is so good that you can hand-hold for your exposures (within limits), and then load them into a program like Nik’s HDR Efex Pro and just click a preset to get great looking HDR shots. Now that it’s easy, maybe it’s just not as much fun.
Like I said, interesting topics that are sure to be discussed for some time to come. If you have an opinion on any of these two topics, please feel free to share in the comments section. I would love to know what your opinion is.
Before leaving, I want to give a Happy Birthday shout-out to my little buddy Alex. Happy 12th little Buddy, Daddy loves you!