50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Sculpture

Sculpture is theme at Where’s My backpack? this week.  This is one of those themes that at first I was thinking that I didn’t have anything, but once I took a look through my archives I realized that I had more than I thought.  I decided to go with this photo in honor of the 4th of July:

The edited photo

The edited photo

This World War II memorial is on the grounds of Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis Missouri. This memorial is on St. Louis County Parks property.  There is a National Cemetery right near the county park.

This photo was a tough one to get and I have to say, if I was to do it again, I would go at a different time.  This photo was taken in the middle of the day, so harsh light and shadows were a problem.  Having said that though, the reality is that I was there when I could be there, so I did the best I could.

At the bottom of this post I will put the original photo, just so you can see what I was up against.  I was thinking that I would use HDR to get a better end result.  So, I tried bracketing my photos, but didn’t really get a great result.  What you see in the above photo is a bit of a false HDR.  It is made from one single image.  In Aperture I made two additional copies of the original.  Then I changed the exposure to -1 on one and -2 on another.  The original I left at 0. These three I merged into HDR using Photomatix.  I ended up liking the version you see above which is using a “painterly” setting.  Then in Photoshop I sharpened and cropped the image.  That’s a bit of fixing for just one image, but here is the original:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/60

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/60

So, that was a bit of work for one photo, but I do like the HDR image better.  What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.

A very happy 4th of July to my American readers.



16 thoughts on “Travel Theme: Sculpture

  1. Claudia says:

    I like the original photograph better. It looks like a photograph. I think the angle you chose looks nice with the tree and shrubs in the background, and the soldier lined up with the tree. The HDR image looks like a nice painting on the top half and a regular photograph on the bottom half. By the way, I really appreciate your captions with the camera settings and your description of the process you go through to take the photograph and then edit it afterwards. Helps me improve, too. I’ve used HDR effect on PicMonkey, but it only seems to be an effect using a single photo. I’d love to try the technique of getting several shots and combining them with the Photomatix software. Maybe I can try it down the road in the future. 🙂


    • Thanks for commenting. I do agree that it looks rather like a painting. I have to say that isn’t what I was thinking when I started making the image, but it was the outcome that I liked the best. The sculpture is in a great location for picture taking. Photomatix does offer a trial version http://hdrsoft.com so I would recommend trying it before you purchase especially since there are two versions of it. Also, they do offer a student discount, so at least take a peek at that before buying as well. Photoshop CS6 has an HDR program as well, but honestly, I like Photomatix better. That of course is just a personal preference. I also find putting the camera settings in the post helpful, I do actually refer back to them in my own work, and just the process of writing them out makes me think more critically about what I am doing. I’m glad you find them helpful also. We’ve practically written a book here haven’t we? 🙂


  2. Sonel says:

    Love the HDR one better. It brings out the tones and textures more clearly! Great entry for the challenge! 😀 *hugs*


  3. I like the photo in the first shot – better defintion. When I took a picture of dark wood in a church in Paris, it was difficult to get the detail of the carving that I saw in person. I did capture what I wanted, but only after several tries.


  4. poppytump says:

    I like the HDR version PJB.
    The effect of the ‘highlights’ and definition in the image seem to have given the Soldier an added quality . I believe that is a good thing .


  5. reading between the lines of your commentary I’d guess that whilst the HDR provided some improvement in the direction you wanted, it wasn’t as effective as you had hoped. In my experience, HDR is a can of worms that sometimes produces stunning images and other times gives no real improvement or produces something false. It’s all back to experimenting again 😉 Hope you had a great 4th July 🙂


    • I agree that the HDR can be a can of worms. I think the real underlying problem here though is just that the photo was taken at the wrong time of day for what I was really trying to do. I guess I’ll just have to go back. The 4th was great but a bit hot, although that is to be expected this time of year here, thanks 🙂


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