Photo: On Becoming BFFs With Distortion

It's really hard to put into words just how massive this nuclear cooling tower really is. Unless you've actually had the chance to stand inside of one, words just won't cut it... and images even fall a bit short. The echo that is produced from this concrete cylinder is every bit as amazing as its size and grandeur.

One of my main goals was to figure out how to convey the enormity of this structure in an image. The answer was via distortion and I had just the piece of glass for it - The Funk Buster - aka the Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens. This lens packs a punch like nobody's business and it did exactly what I hoped it would when I placed it in between two of the main support beams holding up this concrete tube.

The only thing missing was an object to help convey a true sense of scale, but considering the severe amount of distortion already included, I felt it wasn't very necessary. Suffice it to say that those two concrete slabs in the rear center of the chamber were massive in their own respect.

So there you have it - distortion. Something we work so hard to avoid, prevent and mitigate. It's the one thing that truly made this shot special and helped me fit every bit of the cooling chamber into the frame. Maybe it's time you made friends with poor, neglected Distortion, too. :)

A huge thanks again to my man, +Brian Bonham, for making this shoot possible.

Google Maps Location Info
46.95930, -123.47504

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped #HDR  image using Photomatix Pro.

Stylization was dominated by Urban Sickness, which contributed to the whole "nuclear" feel of the shot. I also masked in some Tonal Contrast onto the concrete slabs and added some Deep Forest Glow to boost the contrast.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1.
Photo: I've got nuclear reactors on my mind.

I think +Amy Heiden and +Brian Bonham can feel it, too.

Google Maps Location Info
46.9598° N, 123.4696° W
Photo: On Separation of Foreground & Background

For a full before/after of this image and a video walkthrough of how I processed it, check out this week's episode of +onOne Software Perfect Inspiration - http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode28/

The problem with fitting so much delicious goodness into a single frame is that it becomes very easy to get lost in everything. When you're shooting at a small aperture, say anywhere from f/8 - f/16, you're going to have pretty much everything in focus. Depending on how you compose your image and what is in your frame, this can lead to a relatively flat looking shot. However, even in those situations, I find that I'm more likely to shoot with a smaller aperture and get everything in focus because I know that I have tools to simulate shallow depth of field after the fact.

So, in the case with this image of this burnt down structure in Portland, OR, the original image is totally in focus from the foreground all the way to the back wall. However, because the foreground facade was the star of the show, I decided to apply a subtle amount of FocalPoint to render the background slightly out of focus. This instantly helps bring the wall to life and gives the image a 3D feel. But, I always have the insurance of having the entire image in focus should I want to go a different route down the line. It's just something to consider when you're shooting and framing up what your image is going to be.

Google Maps Location Info
45.51119, -122.66353

In terms of processing
See the full video walkthrough of how I edited this image over here: http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode28/

#HDR  
Photo: A Healthy Dose Of Gamma Rays

The day started off bleakly... and I'm not even talking about the rain. As soon as we pulled up to sign our waivers at the Satsop Nuclear Facility, we were told to expect very limited and fleeting access to the cooler parts of the area. Bummed and dejected, my bard of photographers were, I tell ya. I'd never seen +Amy Heiden wimper like that before. Even +Brian Bonham and +Jeffrey Yen sprouted some tears. +Arno Jenkins, still recovering from his shoulder surgery, popped about five vicodins, and told everyone to man up. He's so surly like that. +Joe Azure and +Tressa Crozier were so seemingly preoccupied that they didn't even see the massive cooling towers to their right. All the while, +Nicole S. Young and +Christopher Germano decided to take the law into their own hands and hatched a plan to climb to the top of the cooling tower for some yodeling competition.

And then our guide told us that we'd actually be ok with having access to all the areas we had hoped to see. The rest of the day was, in actuality, rather tame compared to what could have happened had we not been given sufficient access.

Google Maps Location Info
46.9598° N, 123.4696° W

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped HDR image using Photomatix Pro.

Stylization was a combo of Fashion Passion (my new fave), Arkham, Hollywood Intensity and Tonal Contrast. All done in Perfect Effects 4 by +onOne Software.

Final touches were achieved in Lightroom 4.2.
Photo: Tripod Yoga

That's what I call it when I flex and contort my precious +Really Right Stuff TVC-24 sticks in order to position my camera in certain ways. While my photography bard was a few stories above me photographing the top of the reactor core, I decided to have some fisheye fun. In order to get the shot that I wanted, I needed to balance my camera in such a way that it was leaning over the set of stairs that I was standing on. Only the fisheye lens could give me the specific look that I was going for and because it has just about a 180-degree field of view, I really had to push my tripod into a pretty precarious position.

Thankfully, I was able to walk away with camera, tripod, and images in hand and unscathed. Just another example of doing what ya gotta do to get the shots that your mind's eye sees.

Google Maps Location Info
46.9598° N, 123.4696° W

In terms of processing
Tone-mapping on seven exposures here using Photomatix Pro.

Stylization was a combination of Vecchio masked on the stairs and Cross Process Blue masked on the background. Tonal Contrast was applied globally.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.2.

#HDR   #blog  
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Brian Matiash
Public
On Separation of Foreground & Background

For a full before/after of this image and a video walkthrough of how I processed it, check out this week's episode of +onOne Software Perfect Inspiration - http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode28/

The problem with fitting so much delicious goodness into a single frame is that it becomes very easy to get lost in everything. When you're shooting at a small aperture, say anywhere from f/8 - f/16, you're going to have pretty much everything in focus. Depending on how you compose your image and what is in your frame, this can lead to a relatively flat looking shot. However, even in those situations, I find that I'm more likely to shoot with a smaller aperture and get everything in focus because I know that I have tools to simulate shallow depth of field after the fact.

So, in the case with this image of this burnt down structure in Portland, OR, the original image is totally in focus from the foreground all the way to the back wall. However, because the foreground facade was the star of the show, I decided to apply a subtle amount of FocalPoint to render the background slightly out of focus. This instantly helps bring the wall to life and gives the image a 3D feel. But, I always have the insurance of having the entire image in focus should I want to go a different route down the line. It's just something to consider when you're shooting and framing up what your image is going to be.

Google Maps Location Info
45.51119, -122.66353

In terms of processing
See the full video walkthrough of how I edited this image over here: http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode28/

#HDR  

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