On my way back from Normandy, France we had an early start to get back to the Channel Tunnel terminal at Calais. So as the sun was rising we set off through the country lanes to reach one of the main roads that would speed up our journey as we headed north. Now the lanes are narrow with very few passing places and as we swept round the bend I noticed this modern day plough sitting in a field. With the sun rising and a low lying mist in the valley I just knew I had to stop and photograph it.
Early morning like this is always a good opportunity for HDR photographs, there are deep shadows and lots of highlights giving an exceptional dynamic range. Normally I would use a tripod but it was packed underneath our luggage and the several cases of wine and beer we had bought for the UK. It’s so much cheaper and of better quality, especially the beer, than can be found in the UK.
Now you might think “what’s he rambling on about this for”? There’s a reason. Normally I use the Zemanta plugin for Google Chrome to give me the Related Article links for the end of my blog but recently I’ve been having problems. The good folks at Zemanta are trying to resolve the problem for me but so far we have had mixed success. So that’s why I’m rambling on. I’m trying to give the search engine something to hook onto.
Anyway back to the tripod and its use in HDR. When you are bracketing a series of photographs for processing by PhotoMatix, my HDR program of choice, you need to keep the camera still, especially in low light. PhotoMatix has a very good alignment option but if the movement is too much between the brackets it really does struggle to cope and the chances are you will get a blurred picture. Of course I could always increase the ISO speed, which will shorten the exposure times, but the downside of HDR processing is “higher ISO = more noise”. Sure there are great programs for cancelling out noise after processing, Topaz De-Noise, come to mind, but the less noise you generate in the beginning the better it is all round.
But for this photograph I had to go hand-held. We were parked on a bend on the D624 just outside the hamlet of Le Haut Chêne, light wasn’t great and as the road is used as a shortcut between two major roads I didn’t want to be hanging around too long, even at that time of the morning.
A quick dash into the field, framed the shot, fired off the brackets, checked they were ok and then back to the car. Not bad really and pretty fast.