About Rich Baum
I am a freelance photographer currently living in Fair Oaks just east of Sacramento California. I am originally from Southern California and have spent most of my life working around the world in the film and television industry, as a Union Prop Master, Set Dresser and eventually Production Designer / Producer.
Though I have taken photos my entire life, it wasn't until the purchase of my first really good Digital S.L.R. camera, that the photography "bug" really bit me. I currently do all types of photography, Portraits, Theatrical, Sports, Real Estate / Architecture and High Dynamic Range (HDR).
For Magic Murals, much of my work is HDR. I find that many people have a hard time knowing if my image is a photograph or a painting and to me this is very satisfying, as an artist. I hope my explanation of HDR photography will help you better understand the process.
In digital photography, High Dynamic Range Imaging (also known as HDR Photography) is a set of techniques that allow a greater "Dynamic Range" of luminance's between light and dark areas of a scene than normal digital imaging techniques. The intention of using the HDR process is to accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes ranging from direct sunlight to shadows.
In the HDR process I start out with setting up my camera in bracket mode which allows me to take up to 9 different exposed photos of the same subject. In addition I have the ability to shoot as fast as 9 frames all in different exposures in as little as 1 second. This feature is important as each frame needs to overlap the others perfectly in the final process. This is why most of my HDR photography is of still life's of landscapes. People can also be shot with this process but it is important not the have any movement in the frame.
The next step is to import all the images into the computer. Once imported these images are taken into an HDR imaging software program to be put through the process of Tone Mapping. The software I like to use to produce HDR images is Photomatix. I would say this is about the most popular and easiest program currently available and I find the results can range from "toned down" realistic renditions of an image all the way to "Extreme" HDR examples such as much of my work. I personally like to call my work "HDR on steroids”.
Once this process is complete this is where the fun or creative process begins. Within this program are various adjustment "sliders" that change various levels such as strength, color saturation. luminosity, light smoothing, micro contrast, gamma, temperature and various other smoothing adjustments. Once these levels are adjusted to the artists liking the final product is processed and out comes the HDR image. Please note, until this point nothing has been worked on in Photo Shop and all changes have been made to the "Overall" image not selective changes within the image.
Next the image is saved "as is" or can then be worked on in Photo Shop or any other imaging software program. The only further work I tend to do is to add a little contrast and clarity to sharpen the whole thing up and there you go, my finished "work of art".
Thank you again for the interest you have shown in my work, I often do HDR projects on commission for Architectural Firms and private parties. If you have interest in my work please feel free to contact me directly as I would be happy to speak with you regarding my work and techniques.