Saturday, 5 June 2010

Golf, HDR and food!

Had a very nice shoot the other day up in St Andrews. It was a beautiful day and the drive up was really enjoyable. Especially after the stressful couple of weeks we've had (see previous post!). The commission was to shoot some food and a few internals for a bar & grill that overlooks the 18th hole of the old course, and since The Open is about to start all the stands were up and the town was packed.

The shot above is the first thing you see when you walk in and I instantly knew I'd have a problem reproducing the scene since it was such a bright day outside and quite dark (at least for a camera) inside. As I was shooting food also I only really had an hour to get the internals done. Normally I'd approach this by exposing for the windows and then lighting the interior, but this was a large area with a very high ceiling. I actually did use the flashes on a couple of other shots to light the corner I was shooting in, one of which is below...

But that wouldn't work for the main entrance shot as the space was just too large for me to light with three flashguns, plus I was up against the clock. So I decided to resort to something I hardly ever do....HDR. I don't like HDR. I know it's quite a fashionable thing just now but I'm just not a fan. The only HDR that looks ok are the ones that don't look like HDR. But, it was the only way I could get this shot at the time, so I took 9 exposures.

The darkest...

To the lightest...

and I blended them into the shot at the top of the post. I have to say it's pretty impressive. Given time and some studio lights I could do much better, but for a quick job I'd say I'm pretty happy with the results!

As you can see by this pic, when you don't have a window in the frame it's much simpler :)

Have to say this was a lovely place with a fantastic view of the 18th hole..

And some lovely food...

Loved this dish (Scallops above), I thought it looked so colourful and really well put together.

And finally...

I really liked the purple chair in the background which worked so well with the bokeh.

I shot all the food with natural light coming in from cam right. I didn't even use a reflector as the windows where quite large and the light wrapped around the food.

So, I admit to not only using HDR but actually liking the results, hopefully though that's because it's not overdone like so many HDR images are these days IMO, and I also admit that for the first time ever I'll watch some of the golf just to see the 18th hole ;)

Ian :)


  1. fantastic post ian, lovely shots

    HDR is one of those take it or leave it things, i've used it a number of times and quite like it too as long as it's not overdone.

    try looking at photomatix pro to see if you can get anything more out it with that, use the tone mapping - really like the look from that.

  2. Cheers Tom, I used photomatix for this. Have to say I'm pretty impressed with it on this pic. Had others before I wasn't so sure about. Have to try it more often I think :)

  3. Top quality work as always Ian, I agree about the HDR! In this case yours dosn't look HDR, so you achieved what you set out to do. I always enjoy your blog posts, very educational and insirational.

  4. Aww thanks Les, real compliments coming from people like yourself and Tom who's work I really enjoy too! :) Cheers :)

  5. Hi Ian, and belated congrats!
    Some great images there.
    One thing to look out for after using photomatix (or any HDR prog) is fringing, easy to miss on screen but unmissable on a print!

  6. Hey Adam, hope you're well m8. Thanks for the comment. And thanks for the heads up, I'd never have thought to look for fringing!

  7. Agree on the HDR, Ian. And a great article too :)