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Richard Charpentier Arizona, HDR, Notes from Rich, Photographing Arizona, Photography, RLC Design Leave a Comment

No, I haven’t been wringing my hands all week over missing PSW in Orlando. Well, not too much anyhow. And last night’s failure to win the Buckey? Nope, that hasn’t kept me from blogging either. The honest truth?

Very busy, very tired.

It used to be I’d crank out a post every day.  Clearly the approach of the big 40 is having it’s way with me.  That must be it.  Or it could be that I spend so much of my days now running canvas, photographing, toying with website updates (ah yes, but not on this site), random walk in clients, etc…..that I can’t seem to pull simple posts together.  Friends have always marveled at my ability to put fun content up often.  They must now be shaking their heads wonder whatever will become of Rich and the blog……..

I’m here to say, working on finding a balance.  Promise.

So, to apologize for my absence since my video on missing out on Photoshop World, today’s post is going to be extra extra long.  I’m going to randomly blather 1000 words.  Looking at the word counter on WordPress right now I’m in trouble.  It claims 192 words.  I think that’s suspect.  Ah well…..maybe we won’t make it to 1000.  Maybe we’ll set realistic goals.  You know, like 300 maybe?  Oh, setting the bar low now…….

The Evolution of an Image

Today I set out to get out of town for a bit.  Another trip along Route 66 was the plan.  Not to get Route 66 shots.  Instead I was going out to get some more components for my quest to make a cool composite or two.  I’ve been building an inventory you see.  And sometime this week I’ll be shooting a few models at an undisclosed location (maybe my studio) in order to pull together the final comps.  You know, I’ve actually drawn out what I want to do, where, how I want the people lit, the whole nine yards.  Years ago it was all about learning Photoshop so I could then learn HDR.  Then it was all about getting the light where I wanted it in my landscapes.  Then last year came the off camera flash and studio flash learning binge.  Now composites……  What’s next.

Ah well, I digress (trying to fill that word count).  While out getting components today I finally stopped and did a very over done location along Route 66.  Everybody who is anybody has shot this spot.  So I’ve always avoided it.  But today I figured “what the heck?”  I mean really, Hackberry had a ton of component shots for me.  Why not do a couple of photos just for fun, right?

Well, I liked one composition, so while off loading this evening I tossed the images over into HDR Efex Pro.  Did a little toying, and liked where I was going.  But then it struck me…..why not toy a little more in Photoshop.  Maybe a few smart objects, a black and white HDR’d layer, some layer blending with the color version, and toying with some headlights to get the feel that they were ever so dimly lit.  Below you can see the evolution of the image.

0EV single exposure as is, no edits or monkey business.


The image after smaking it and two other exposures around in HDR Efex Pro. Smack!


Opened the HDR'd image as a smart object, created a duplicate, hit some B&W goodness, did some layer blending and a little painting. I think I might go back and refine at some point, but a fun exercise.


Yes, as I said, I know this shot has been done to death.  No worries.  Not like I’ll be printing it and hanging it at my shop.  I just wanted to have a little fun and add my own spin on it.  Of course, there are so many better versions of it out there, so I defer to all you other folks who got some pretty cool captures of this scene.  Hope you enjoy my take on it too.

Of course, while I was out I did in fact get some more components for composites.  The Arizona skies worked with me once again.  I’ve got to collect more versions of the sky.  You never know when you’ll need a different sky…….

Pretty cool sky, right?

We’re at 707 words!  So, I totally surpassed my realistic goal already!  🙂

Finally I managed to find another background I want to work with.  The reflections in the windows give me a lot of ideas.  And the bland quality of it cries out to me.  I’m all about bland you know…….


So, there’s the wrap from today.  Route 66.  Composite components.  A new take on an old scene.  Me blathering.  770 words.  Back to the blog until the next rush of business hits this week.  Alive.  Kicking.  And pretty much a wise apple.  😉

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