Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.


For the last few months, I have been trying to learn all I can about the HDR process before giving it an initial attempt on my own. Two video training CDs and two books later I think I have a handle on the process and how it works.

In my mind (as well as the minds of many others), there are two extremes to the process. On one end of the scale is the use of the process to deliver 'photo-realistic' results, and at the other end of the spectrum are results that have variably been called "comic-bookish", "illustrative", "surreal", or "hyper-realistic". Although my artistic tendency is to stay at the photo-realistic end of the spectrum, I am open minded and can see how, in some circumstances, a move towards the other end of the spectrum can likewise produce very interesting results. In the end, of course, the direction that one's artwork takes is totally up to the artist.

So I am posting my first foray into the HDR processing technique. I was attracted to this tree by the strong graphic lines of the limbs. Since the shape was what I was primarily drawn to, a black and white presentation seemed to be most appropriate. What I was hoping for here was a look that went just a bit beyond photo-realistic in order to give the tree a slightly surreal "spooky" look. The color images were processed in Photomatix and both converted to black and white and toned in Silver Efex Pro.

Tree I
Copyright Howard Grill