"Faux" HDR without bracketing: The Old State House

The latest version of Adobe Lightroom has made for some very nice HDR-type effects by simply applying several adjustments to one image. 

In the past I needed to bracket my shots, typically with three images about 1-stop apart in exposure.  The HDR process, using software such as Photomatix, involves taking parts of the three images to create a single image with brighter exposure in the dark areas and darker exposure in the lighter areas.  It is often said that this is how the eyes sees.  Photomatix does this automatically.

But with Lightroom 4 I find very nice results by taking only one image and (1) reducing "highlights" and "whites" and (2) increasing the brightness of "shadows", all via sliders in the develop model.  In this example of the old Boston State House building, the basic exposure was a RAW file taken with a Panasonic LX5  and imported into Lightroom 4.  I adjusted the "highlights" and "whites" slider to minus 100% and adjusted the "shadows" slider to plus 100%.

Below are the before and after results. 

Note that the light areas (such as the sky) are darker and the dark areas (building surfaces) are lighter, in the second image.

(Also note that I have also used Lightroom to reduce the amount of perspective distortion recorded in the original file. Perspective distortion refers to the tilt of the buildings.  It is the same thing as what happens when you look down a long train track.)


Day 15: My favorite airport: Spokane International

My brother dropping us off

Ah, a Starbuck's in the center of the airport.  Just the way things should be!!

Follow the red carpets to the gates.  Wow, compare this with Logan!

Heading East


Day 14: Canadian Rockies: Spokane, WA

Today's Itinerary: Drive from Bonner's Ferry, Idaho to Spokane, Washington


The Badger's Den for a simple breakfast

National Guardsmen

A simple breakfast
We saw our only moose (plural) of the trip in the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge

Two moose in the distance.  (My long lens unfortunately was back at the hotel. Grrrr.)

We purchased Elk, Beef, and Buffalo jerky from this vendor. Yummy.

Tie-dyed shirts for sale, Sand Point, Idaho


Day 13: Canadian Rockies: Kalispell, MT to Idaho

Today's Itinerary: Drive from Kalispell, Montana to Bonner's Ferry, Idaho
Kalispell at sunrise, from the window of our hotel

Western Outdoor is a huge cowboy store in Kalispell.
You'll get the idea from the pictures below.

Check out all those bandanas!

We entered Idaho about 4:30 pm

The Best Western at Bonner's Ferry is also where we had stayed the second night of the trip.
This is the view from our small balcony.



Day 12: Glacier to Kalispell, Montana

Today's Itinerary: St. Mary, Montana, around the southern tip of the park and on to Kalispell.


These are unshod Blackfoot Indian horses on open land.

The result of forest fire

Red Buses are used for auto tours of the park. These are 1930s vehicles
built by White Motor Company. In 1939 there were 33 of them.
Some number less than 33 were refurbished by Ford in 2001 and run on propane.

The Red Buses are driven by "Jammers"

Lake McDonald

I wish I knew what this is called.

Rafting on the Flathead River

McDonald Lake as seen from Apgar Visitor Center, West Glacier

From our hotel window in Kalispell looking east to the Rockies at sunset


Day 11: Part II: An evening inside and outside Glacier

After checking into our room at the St. Mary Lodge just outside the east entrance to Glacier National Park, we drove over to the Park Cafe for dinner.  This is our kind of place.  Great sandwiches, local color, and just look at that pie menu.

Bacon Burger and Reuben Sandwich

Raspberry Cherry Pie

The evening is often a good time to view wildlife, so after dinner we headed into the park.  There were just a few cars on the road.  By far the biggest treat of the evening was this grizzly bear.  He/she just watched us come to a stop, and when two other cars were stopped to view him, he began lumbering down the slope to the road. 

The driver in this SUV, at this point decides
to back up.