Kraftwerk Vockerode


I’ve always been a big fan of sci-fi and horror flicks, and I’ve got a pretty good imagination to boot, which is probably why a lot of the URBEX environments I visit remind me of some movie I’ve seen before.  Sometimes, that can be a bit creepy, especially if I’m in one of those rooms alone with only the dripping and creaking sounds of decay.  This particular room reminded me of the scene in one of my all-time favorite horror flicks, the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake, when Donald Sutherland’s character’s pod-self is transforming as he sleeps.  Click here if you want to see that still (to me at least) creepy scene.  Speaking of which, it’s midnight as I post this, so I suppose I should go to sleep now.  Wonder if it will be me who wakes up in the morning?

Piping up… with a new HDR tutorial

Figure 1.0

For today, I’ve decided to toss together a quick tutorial on my work flow for you all, showing you how I worked my way from from the brackets (figure 1.1 below) to today’s photograph, ‘Piping Up’ (figure 1.0 above).  I’ve done a video version of this in the past, with another photograph, which you can find over on the right side column of my blog, or you can just click here!


Figure 1.1

From Lightroom 3, the software I use to keep my work organized, I will export my brackets (figure 1.1 above) to Photomatix Pro (if you don’t use Photomatix, I recommend it highly for HDR work.  You can save 15% on Photomatix my using the coupon code fotofreqhdr at check out.).  I’ll almost always ‘zero’ things out in Photomatix by clicking on the DEFAULT button, which results in the image you see in figure 1.2 below.

Figure 1.2

With the default settings in Photomatix (figure 1.2 above), I’ll first drag the Strength Slider all the way to the right, before dragging the smoothing slider left and right between 0 and +10.0 until I get something I am happy with.  In this particular case, I settled my smoothing setting in at +8.1. (see figure 1.3 below).

Figure 1.3

If you take a look at the histogram box in figure 1.3 above, you’ll notice that the whites (the lights in this case) are blown out.  So I pulled back the White Point slider to 0.019. Then I dragged my Microcontrast up to +10.0 and my Luminosity to +8.0.  I increased overall brightness by increasing the Gamma slider setting to 0.67.  To get a little more gritty detail into the shot (beyond that provided by the Microcontrast slider), I dragged the Micro-smoothing slider all the way left to 0, ending up with what you see in figure 1.4 below.  Finally, I click the save & reimport button at the bottom of the Photomatix sliders tab to get my “canvas” back into lightroom.

Figure 1.4

Next step is to open all the images in Photoshop as layers, as you can see in figure 1.5 below.  I’ve renamed the layers so you can see how I normally arrange my layers.  You’ll notice I have a Photomatix layer (the image I ended up with in Photomatix) at the top and bottom of the stack, with the bottom just there as a back up in case I need to duplicate and mask part of it in later.

Figure 1.5

Now, with all the layers in place, I take my time masking in bits and pieces of the layers as needed.  Once I’ve masked in all the tasty bits I want from the various brackets, I end up with what you see in figure 1.6 below.  Whew!  No on to some final tweaks!

Figure 1.6

Finally, I use several filters in Photoshop, usually plug-in from Nik Software, that I selectively brush in (with my Wacom Intuos 4 tablet) to taste; you can see those last few layers below in figure 1.7.  That’s pretty much it as far as how I went from my RAW brackets, to Photomatix, into Photoshop and to my final image (figure 1.0 above).  Let me know what you think, and fire away with any questions related to this mini post-processing walk through and tutorial.


Figure 1.7

Welcome to Oz

Any of you folks ever seen the TV show Oz?  I had seen an episode years ago, but that was it.  Looking for some good TV, I started watching recently.  Almost done with the final season.  One word: INTENSE.  Ok, maybe one more word: BRUTAL.  Definitely not for the faint of heart, I assure you, but for those who can handle it, this show seems to have been way ahead of its time in tackling many of the social issues that continue to challenge us.  Anyway, when I came across this green room (these are the actual colors, by the way), I immediately thought of that control station overlooking Em’ City.  Needless to say, I stole these brackets quickly and took off before getting shanked!

A breath of fresh air

For those of you paying close attention, you might have noticed that I had actually posted to this blog earlier today.  Problem was that I was posting a lame shot, rather than something I had created with great care.  Well, that’s just not right.  So, I’ve deleted that post, and replaced it with the shot you see here, which is the one I had intended, since yesterday, to post for you all today.  I can’t describe how amazing it was to stand in this room and just stare at the curtains billowing in the wind.  It felt like that scene in the movie “America Beauty”, where the dude is filming the red plastic bag floating around in the air… absolute peace and beauty; a breath of fresh air.

In case of fire

Hey guys!  As those who visit my blog know, I’ve not been posting to much of late.  That said, I do try to post something tasty for y’all when I do.  I shot this one during an all-day Urban Explore to two of my favorite sites, the abandoned Vockerode Powerplant and the old Sanatorium at Beelitz.  We had a great crew out that day, including the very cool Chris Robins, who was visiting from New York City.  We had a blast rockin’ the HDR brackets at those locations, and I think I may have gotten some of my missing mojo back that day to boot!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...