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2013 Memorial Day

This is another statue I photographed just recently.  I love photographing statues especially since they make some of the best HDR (High Dynamic Range) subjects.  The rich texture and fine details of these statues produce some very cool images.  This eagle statue is located in the center of Ridgewood.  Truth be told, I have probably passed it a thousand times but never noticed it.  However, when returning to the car I noticed all the memorial wreaths that were placed below.  I looked up and saw this statue and knew I had to photograph it.  I did not have much time at all to do this.  My wife was getting my our two children into the car and I had probably about three minutes to get the shot.  Normally for HDR you need a tripod because you are trying to capture three exposures and you do not want the camera to move.  Being it was sunny and setting up the tripod would take more than two minutes, I did without it.  I change the lens to a telephoto (70-200 mm) and adjusted the settings so the longest exposure was 1/250 of a second (at an aperture of 5.6).  I tried to stay as still as possible and knew that any small amount of movement could be taken care of in an HDR program or Photoshop.

I have posted three images.  The first one is the final version (the sepia colored one).  The other two are earlier versions.  The last image is the RAW, unprocessed and provides you with an idea of what I was initially working with.  Keep in mind that when I decided to do this image in HDR, I took three shots (under-exposed, over-exposed, and the correct exposure).  The last image is the correct exposure.  Being that I was at a low angle and there wasn’t time for me to scout a new location, I knew the eagle was going to look distorted.  After combining the three exposures and making some simple adjustments (exposure, color, etc.), I used some of the tools in Photoshop CS6 (lens correction and transform-warp) to fix the distortion.  The second image is the near complete version in color.  I did make some adjustment after converting it to sepia.  For instance, the tree shadows on the column were not as noticeable in the color version but when I converted it sepia it became glaring.  So there you have it.  Took me probably about 40 minutes to get the image to its final version.  I think the final version looks like an illustration you would find on a dollar.  Hope you enjoy it!

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