Every year I do a bit of travel photography as I head south in a van I drive to Florida for my step Dad. Each year I try and choose a different route, getting off the Freeway for long stretches and go through the small towns. I will review the upcoming towns and see if there is an interesting Post Office. If so I find it and shoot it. I have shot interesting court houses, forestations and other odd buildings in the past. This trip down in addition to post offices, I shot some used car dealers, fire stations, city halls and a weird pink building.
On other trips I had shot with my Nikon D7100 converted to infrared, but I did not bring it this year. At every location I shoot a bracket of at least three exposures 2 stops bright, on and 2 stops dark. I then combine the exposures in Lightroom using the HDR function. What I get is a slightly enhanced color image with a lot more exposure in the shadows and highlights. I will even shoot a three stop bracket of multiple views, process the HDR for each view and then stitch them into a panorama.
I think this will be a long time continuing project for me. I like the idea of getting off the busy highway and making a reason to see and visit small town America. I have found that every community and even some remote outposts have a post office. If it appears the post office is newer that 20 – 30 years I typically give it a miss.
My wanderlust was inspired by book I read long ago. Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon. He chronicles a cross country trip, partially following the past of Lewis and Clark. A wonderful read if you like travel books. On the look out for the elusive 4 calendar restaurant.
This Downtown Clarkston light trails photography is a project I did for the Clarkston Chamber upcoming directory cover. Don Rush of the Clarkston News is the publisher and acting art director. We had done a previous shoot of scenes of Clarkston shot with HDR and neither Don or I we super pleased with the results. Don had seen a similar photo online and comped up the cover. I was it and was inspired to do this.
To shoot this I placed a tripod in the backseat of my car and pointed the camera out the back window. In the uncropped versions, you can see my side mirror. I then drove up and down Main Street as the evening got darker, using different shutter speeds to create the trail of lights.
I’m pretty sure Don will use one of these for the Chamber directory.
Can you guess the various buildings in Clarkston. They are all upon and down Main Street.
Here is some Downtown Clarkston HDR photography I did this summer for the cover of the Clarkston Chamber Guide. I was working with Don Rush, the publisher of the Clarkston News to supply a photograph of something classic Clarkston business. Ultimately we ended up going in a different direction and did not use these shots.
HDR photography is a process of combining multiple exposures of the same scene where there are brighter and darker exposure, capture detail in all the shadows and highlights. Photographic software like Lightroom, Photoshop and a bunch of apps combine the exposures to make a pleasing shot. Some of the software allows adjustments and some do it for you. It is easy to go way overboard with the HDR software and get artificial looking images. It is all under the control to the photographer.
I have used HRD here as a way to make a pleasing balanced image to bring back what our eyes and brain see. Cameras today have limited (but much improving and considerably better than film) dynamic range. The camera cannot record the wide difference in the lightest and darkest area on scenes like this.
The shot of Old Village Cafe is a multipart panorama in addition to an HDR, so there are 12 separate images to make this one. Other shots include Honcho’s umbrellas, the side alley next to Union Woodshop, the clock in front of The Fed and a couple in the downtown area.
For the sixth year I did street photography at the 2017 Taste of Clarkston. I was in the parking lot of the Clarkston News, thanks Don and Jim. Every year I choose a local charity to gove donations to. This year it was DRAW’s turn. When I photograph people I let them know I will send them multiple jpg files from the session. I also let them know that they can make a donation. This year was lighter in past years and we raised $112 for DRAW.
I stand out on the sidewalk and ask people if they are up for a portrait, many decline. I’m much better at getting friends in for some shots. I also look for interesting people that would make a good portrait. For this years, at the end of the session I asked people to give me their best sad sack or deadpan face. I think it is funny that most intrepid it as sad and gave me sad faces. A couple really nailed it.