Category Archives: Image Processing

Whether or Not to Use HDR in Death Valley

I have told myself more than once that I am burned out on Grungy looking HDR and dont want to look at it let alone create it. But that appears to never be true since I continue to create a few HDR images from time to time. This is Death Valley at sunrise and it made for a great HDR and it is not to grungy, at least by my definition of grungy. Which is hyper color and lotsa noise and halos on the edges.

Fortunately for those of us using HDR software, you can create images that look perfectly normal and even push them a little without hyper color and noise and halos. That was my goal here. Add substantial drama. The ground here is not dark like this but rather very light salt pan. The clouds weren’t that dark either, but HDR is famous for making them look threatening.

So carefully moving the settings added a lot of drama here while avoiding over-done color and noise and other HDR issues that can arise. It is almost like a negative effect, and I am happy with it.


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Wigwam Motel on Route 66

Oh this was so fun! Drove through Holbrook AZ on our way to New Mexico. Stopped in Holbrook to shoot Petrified Forest and when driving through town we saw the Wigwam Motel. OMG–gotta shoot!

Came back at dusk and it started pouring down rain. Perfect! LOL. I did get pretty wet but who cares? I did a non-grungy HDR, then accentuated lighter areas by painting highlights in Photoshop, added a vignette, and a little more burning and dodging for effect. A teeny weeny bit sharpening. And I am done…for today that is.


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I Photographed Doc Holliday and Big Nose Kate

Wow, my Southwest adventure has been awesome. First, I ran into The Lost Dutchman Miner a few months ago, then Rooster Cogburn after that in West Texas, and now Doc Holiday and Big Nose Kate.It has just been unbelievable.

We left Texas as I wanted to photograph the Chiracahua Mountains of Arizona. I have been there before and its beautiful mountain country, so we headed over and captured some images.

Soon we were running out of supplies and headed for Bisbee to stock up on a variety of goods. While there we heard about the infamous shootout that just happened at the OK Corral up in Tombstone.

Something went down that involved Billy Claiborne, the Clanton Brothers, and the McLaury Bros. and they all had a beef with town Marshall Virgil Earp. Confronted at the OK Corral, Virgil was backed up by his brothers Wyatt and Morgan along with Doc Holliday when something sparked and one bad thing led to another and in 30 seconds several were killed.

Now at that time, details were sketchy, but I knew I had to get there and see what happened and try as best I could to photograph as many involved as I could. I arrived in Tombstone the next day and began asking around as to what happened and where I could find the Earp’s and Doc Holliday.

Virgil and Morgan were wounded and were healing somewhere, but Wyatt was unhurt and Doc had a slight wound. Some folks told me they had seen them about. So I waited and luckily that night there was Doc with Big Nose Kate on his arm. He looked as normal as can be and feeling good enough for the two of them to have a night on the town. And Big Nose Kate was ravishing and that made me think “who gave her that name.” Her nose was not big.

I approached and asked if I could photograph the two of them and he grumbled “why not, ever-one else has” so I got busy quickly photographing. They were not interested in posing for long so I did not even set up a flash, which I usually do, and I just shot with natural light.

Copyright 2013 (C) Charlie Borland

In processing I created the old western look with sepia toning while leaving a little original color there. I sent them prints, which took 5 weeks by Pony Express.

Learn portrait photography here.

Related Posts: I Photographed Rooster Cogburn, I Photographed the Lost Dutchman Miner


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B&W and HDR

I have been experimenting when time allows with variations of B&W images. I like HDR although admit that the days of super grunge are over for me. All the color globs and noise….been there, processed that!

HDR has come a long way and now I use it more for creating natural looking images with lower contrast like some architectural assignments I get for time to time.

I have photographed some objects over time where i went crazy with grungy HDR but now I prefer to process more normal and then maybe with a hint of grunge…then converting to B&W.

Here is a piece of equipment at an old mine in Arizona that I processed in HDR and as color then converted to B&W and pushed around a few of the tones with a B&W Adjustment Layer. The HDR does a good job of adding edge to textures and then those are converted to tones in B&W. This next image (more…)

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My Kinda Store

Wandering around Bisbee, Arizona recently brought me to this store. I am not sure what kind of store it is but it was obviously very photogenic and perfect in my opinion for a grungy HDR.

Obviously whomever owns the store is an artist, so this artist photographed it to create something art-worthy of that artists work. Because it is s funky it makes the grungy look


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