Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

5 easy steps to HDR Photography-Try it free!

Three CHEERS for new technical toys! Here at iCreaTech we’re not just builders of all things IT, designers of web creations, schemers of traffic redirection, were also photographers; which really means we get to play with LOTS of new toys! When shopping toys, like the average “techie”, I am always looking for the latest and greatest find.  It’s always great if it’s also user friendly and most importantly the best regarding bang for my buck. Well, I’ve hit the jackpot with Photomatix Pro. All of this raving about new technical toys is really just an excuse to tell you about my newest photographic love, HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography and how I’m able to make an almost drab photograph into an eye catching creation. Although this isn’t my first try with HDR, I’ve never been able to achieve the amazing results that Photomatrix Pro can deliver. For the optimal HDR experience, a photograph with extreme light levels can really take advantate of Photomatrix Pro’s ability to work it’s magic. Try making your own HDR creation with a quick download of the trial version of Photomatrix Pro for either Windows or Mac. Keep in mind that although you can use HDR pictures with .jpg files, RAW format files can give greater flexibility in processing.

1) Shoot your photos:

When you setup your camera to shoot for HDR,  set your camera in aperture priority mode and use a tripod to avoid any discrepancy in the multiple photos you’ll merge to make your HDR. Although you can use as many or as few photos as you like, I tend to use 3 photos most often. Turn on your Autobracketing. For 3 pics in autobracket, set it up at -2, 0, +2.

2) Import your photos:

Once I’ve taken my photos and I’m ready to bring them into Photomatrix Pro, I import them to my PC with Adobe Lightroom 3. Below you can see then photos of the Alamo that I’ll merge to create my HDR photograph.

3) Make your HDR magic!

Open Photomatrix and prepare to work magic on your photos! Once you’ve opened Photomatrix and clicked the “Generate HDR Image” button, the ‘Selecting Source Images’ box opens. Click “browse” to choose the photos you want to import. You need to import all photos as once. To do this, click one file, hold down your control key on a PC or command key on a mac, and continue by clicking each file you want to be imported. Once all files are selected, click open and Photomatrix will align and merge the files. NOW the MAGIC begins:) Strength – Keep it at 100%. Color Saturation – Remember, HDR is about light, not about over-saturation! Every photo is different.  You don’t want a photo that makes you think you are hallucinating; you just want the color to POP! Luminosity – There will be less contrast in your photo, when you slide to the right. Just use your eye and do what pleases you. Microcontrast – Creates fluctuations in color, on a small scale and also helps with the graininess or noise. Smoothing – This is where the HDR effect is applied. Psychodelic go left, melodic go right. White Point & Black Point – The idea here is to have the right amount of light, if your histogram is to far to the left or right you are loosing or adding too much light. Use this to move your bell curve of the histogram to the center.

4) Process your HDR results:

Once you are done playing with all of the sliders, you can click the “Process” button. Tada done with HDR! You can also make additional changes to photograph in Photoshop or Lightroom if you feel it needs any cleanup. For a Quick and Easy Magic Trick, Photomatrix Pro gets a thumbs up at iCreaTech.

5) Brag it up to your friends!

You know you want to impress people with your new mad HDR skills!  Go for it.  Check out my more dramatic High Dynamic Alamo below! Now go try it for yourself!

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How much oil has BP dumped in the gulf?

Over the weekend, BP and the US government implimented ‘Top Kill’ to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  But, it did not hold.  Have you wondered just how much oil really has been spilled?  Same here!  Apparently the brightest minds of our scientists are struggling to shut it off, find clean up solutions and even just estimate the amount spilled.

Initially, BP estimated 1,000 barrels (42,000 gallons) per day were spilling.  The US Government estimated 5,000 barrels a day (210,000 gallons).  The latest estimates posted by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Boston.com are in the 500,000 to 3,500,000 MILLION gallons per day.  Mulitply that by the 42 days SO FAR and you get an idea of the totals.

Enough oil to surpass the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, which dumped 10.8 million gallons off the coast of Alaska in the worst spill in US history,three times over.

~ Boston.com

Based NRDC and Boston.com estimates, the BP spill is 3.6 to 6.4 TIMES larger than the Exxon Valdez already!

And, its increasing by 10% of the Valdez’s spill EACH DAY.  You can see the real damage in more photos like this one of a young heron dying on an oil covered estuary:

For those into the math, it is shown below, along with the links to the source articles are above.

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Livin on Love with Aaron Williams and The Hoodoo

Almost everyone has a dream growing up…  Many of us dreamed to be a fireman, leader, athlete or rock star.  But few of us dare to truly follow our dreams.  Especially fully engage in them, and let nothing stop you.

Aaron Williams and The Hoodoo play an amazing blend of blues and rock.  Three of the coolest guys you’ll ever meet, and proof that nice guys don’t finish last!

Premiering here is “Livin’ on Love”, Aaron’s anthem to their love of music, the great people they meet on the road, and those they love but need to leave behind to follow their dreams.  The love that gets them through the long hours traveling to the next gig. Including resting on the sidewalk when you’ve traveled all night and the hotel is overbooked. Aaron wrote Livin’ on Love, and we had the privilege to create this video. We’d all love to hear what you think of this anthem, and your backstage, close up view of life on the road with AWATH!

The song is from “It Ain’t Easy”, a recent MAMA award winning CD.  AWATH recorded the video while traveling, and iCreaTech produced the video using photos from TJ.  While creating this, it was easy to connect with the theme of Livin on Love.  It was a labor of love to create!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

So, what are your dreams? Do you dare to follow them, and share them? We’d love to help!
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Contact Info

iCreaTech has offices in Milwaukee Wisconsin, Wausau Wisconsin and Dallas Texas

For more information, you can contact us by:

-Email: info@icreatech.com

-Phone: (715) 352-0525

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