In her “Ghosts of the West” challenge, Cheyenne Rouse reignited her love of pictures by embracing HDR

“Dodge Bootlegger.” Rouse discovered this purple truck whereas on a highway journey in Utah. She knew it could be good for an HDR photograph. Common pictures would have yielded a flat picture, however HDR introduced the scene to life.

With winter winds blowing and the snow nearly to fall, Rouse sought out this moody cemetery in Taos, N.M. Black-and-white HDR rendered a very haunting picture.

Should you would have instructed me three years in the past after I was dwelling in Park Metropolis, Utah, that I’d be creating HDR photographs, working my very own gallery, dwelling in Scottsdale, Arizona, and loving my DSLR, I might have instructed you that you just have been loopy. For over 15 years, I used to be a bona fide movie junkie of the Fuji form and, when the world began going digital, I dug my heels in and fought it to the purpose the place I finally virtually hung up my digital camera for good—or so I believed.

It began with an previous, rusted-out, purple truck that I photographed a couple of years in the past in southern Utah. Though I had all however given up pictures as issues went digital, I used to be out attending to know a brand new DSLR a bit bit after I noticed the hulk on the aspect of the highway. I truly handed it by on my approach to shoot one thing else, however the truck caught in my thoughts so I doubled again and shot some photographs. I had actually by no means been drawn to capturing previous vans, or any previous automobiles, for that matter. As knowledgeable, I had largely centered on my inventory pictures specialty, which was journey sports activities.


“Horseshoe Bend.” Simply south of Lake Powell in Arizona, this roadside cease is a perennial favourite for pictures. Rouse’s HDR picture has a decidedly completely different look than all the others.

A number of weeks earlier than I took these photographs of the previous, purple truck, a pal and photograph fanatic requested me if I had ever heard of HDR. My response to him was, “HD what?” I feel he was shocked that I hadn’t heard of it. I didn’t notice that I used to be that out of the photograph loop, however after being out of the enterprise for a number of years, I assume I used to be. He mentioned I’d have a lot enjoyable with what excessive dynamic vary may do to my photographs. He gave me the title of this system that he used, Photomatix, and the web site. Once I obtained house, I instantly jumped on-line and checked it out. I downloaded a free trial of Photomatix Professional, then watched a couple of of the tutorials that they’d obtainable on-line, and off I went into HDR land. After all, I hadn’t shot any photographs as a number of exposures, which the tutorials recommended, so I actually didn’t have any photographs to play with but. Then I handed the previous, purple truck on the aspect of the highway. As a substitute of capturing single frames, I photographed the purple truck within the prescribed multiple-exposure method. I believed that it would make an excellent HDR, so I rushed again to my resort room, downloaded the pictures from my digital camera into my laptop, then shortly loaded the three bracketed photographs into Photomatix and pressed the “Generate HDR” button. That’s when the magic occurred; I may hardly wait to see the end result. When the picture appeared on my monitor, I gasped. It was beautiful and so alive with colour, texture and depth. With a couple of tone-mapping tweaks, which I didn’t actually know work but, I hit the ultimate “course of” button, and what appeared was nothing in need of unimaginable—it was as if the truck was about to drive out of the monitor and into the room.


“Heaven’s Gate.” An historic cemetery outdoors of Santa Fe, N.M., on a stormy fall day makes for a robust HDR picture.

I believed the truck was filled with character and character after I shot it, which is why it attracted me within the first place, however the person digital frames that I shot didn’t do such an fascinating topic justice. They appeared too one-dimensional and lacked a really feel for the feel and patina of this superb purple truck. With HDR, I knew that I had discovered a course of and program that was not solely user-friendly, however would rework these relics of the West and render them the best way that I noticed every one after I was photographing them.

I’ve been fascinated with Western and Southwestern historical past for years, however the restricted pictures I did was primarily centered on cowboys and Native Individuals and their historic cultures, with scenic vistas of the American Southwest and West thrown in. With my newfound love of the Digital Age, I may make the historic locations and issues that I’m fascinated by come to life once more. The purple truck, aka “Dodge Bootlegger,” modified the whole lot for me. I knew that I used to be on to one thing after I posted the “Dodge Bootlegger” on my Fb web page. The response was superb! I don’t suppose any of my pictures has ever obtained so many nice feedback. This opened up an entire new world for me. Not solely did it give me a cause to select up my digital camera once more, however it gave me a cause to comply with a brand new path again right into a artistic world that I believed I used to be accomplished with. It was a path that I used to be very enthusiastic about.



“Pony Categorical Riders.” The Hashknife Pony Categorical Riders gallop into Scottsdale each February to commemorate the historic route from Holbrook, Ariz. Making use of HDR to such a decent composition with shallow depth of subject generates an ethereal impact.

Since then, I’ve been on a mission to {photograph} historic locations and objects across the West and Southwest. My journey has taken me from Golden Spike Nationwide Historic Web site in northern Utah to the Pony Categorical Path to Route 66 on all the way down to Tombstone in southern Arizona, with many stops in between. Out of this journey my Ghosts of the West: Have a good time the American West—The Historical past, The Lore, The Tradition photograph collection and e-book have been born. So many of those historic locations and issues are disappearing, and I really feel it’s my mission to doc them and make them come alive once more with my pictures earlier than they’re gone and to doc what’s so uniquely American about this a part of the nation. I like what I do and really feel so lucky to get to share my ardour for the West and Southwest by my pictures, and I’ve HDR to thank for opening up an entire new world (once more) to me.

Cheyenne L. Rouse is a self-taught photographer and has been knowledgeable since 1989, when she felt the decision of the West. She has written quite a few journal articles and month-to-month columns. Together with her distinctive imaginative and prescient, she captures the refined moods, the textures and may-be the ghosts that one way or the other dwell on within the rusted, deserted artifacts of the Previous West. Rouse now makes her house in Scottsdale, Ariz. Go to www.ancientlightphotos.com or go to the Historical Mild Gallery in Scottsdale.

HDR Software program Choices

Till not too long ago, a photographer didn’t have many selections for classy HDR, however inside the previous 12 months, that has modified. HDRsoft’s Photomatix Professional shares the highlight with different choices. Adobe Photoshop, for instance, has built-in HDR functionality, and in Photoshop CS5, it has improved considerably over earlier variations of that commonplace image-processing software program. Ever Imaging’s HDR Darkroom helps 16-bit TIFF recordsdata, and it really works as a RAW converter in addition to an HDR program. Their latest HDR software program, HDR Photograph Professional, expands on HDR Darkroom’s capabilities by including a variety of refined colour controls, in addition to added performance. Record Value: $79 (HDR Darkroom); $129 (HDR Photograph Professional); www.hdrdarkroom.com. Nik Software program’s HDR Efex Professional brings the corporate’s trademark ease of use and photographer-ness to excessive dynamic vary work. HDR Efex Professional is out there as a 32- or 64-bit plug-in for Photoshop CS3-CS5, Lightroom 2.three or later and Aperture 2.1 or later. Record Value: $159; www.niksoftware.com. Unified Coloration Applied sciences HDR Expose works as standalone software program or as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or Apple Aperture. Record Value: $149; www.unifiedcolor.com.

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