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Old Sep 27, 2010, 9:20 AM   #1
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Default Ten Mile River Boy Scout Camp

We went to Ten Mile River Boy Scout Camp in Tusten, NY. The 12,000 acre “pristine woodland territory” (source: www.tenmileriver.org) campground is in a sparsely-populated part of the Catskill Region in New York State, just a few miles off scenic Route 97 in the upper Delaware River valley. The campground is owned by the Boy Scouts of America, a private association funded from “private donations, membership dues, corporate sponsors, and special events”. (source:wikipedia.org)

In my youth I embraced scouting. I went to camping trips, proudly wore my scarf and cap, memorized the Scout’s Oath, measured my socks to be precisely three fingers below the knee and my shorts three fingers above, and learned to read maps, the compass, and markers on hiking trails among other outdoor skills.

But for all the enthusiasm I held, I did not progress far into the corps of elite scouts. In fact, I did not earn any merit badge at all. Instead I looked with envy at scouts from other schools with their merit badge-bedecked uniforms. I sulked and blamed my school for that, for not being driven enough to have its own scouts succeed.

In any case, the campground my wife and I reached, Turnpike Pond -- beautiful as it was -- was not what we intended. We were looking for a historic stone arch bridge built in 1875 and the surrounding structural remains of a previous town’s existence when we came upon the pond. We immediately liked what we saw -- the peacefulness and tranquility redolent with the scent of pine trees -- and so stopped and started taking pictures. But we never found the bridge.

Later I learned that from the maps and directions I found online I incorrectly placed the bridge there when instead it should have been on the other side of town.

After having spent much of the day driving around in circles lost in the small hamlet of Tusten -- and guided by a GPS at that -- at least I can now stop blaming my school and honestly say that maybe, I do not deserve to earn any merit badge after all.

#1) One of several Boy Scout Headquarters Cabins. This one, on the south part of Turnpike Pond, is numbered "11".

#2) Turnpike Pond.

#3) Picnic table by Turnpike Pond.

Thank you for looking. C&C welcome.
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Old Sep 27, 2010, 9:55 AM   #2
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Wow, wow and wow! (For the 3 pics) Which software did you use for HDR?
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Old Sep 27, 2010, 10:01 AM   #3
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Send these to BSA headquarters and they are likely to send you a photography badge...better late than never. :-)
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Old Sep 27, 2010, 10:09 AM   #4
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#3 is excellent - great colours, very sharp and something about the processing feels 'right' with no unnatural artefacts
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Old Sep 27, 2010, 2:30 PM   #5
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Thanks, all, for the encouraging comments and compliments.

Subh, I guess you can say given the scenery and the natural lighting condition we were in, it was easy to take good pictures.

#1 is from a single RAW file from my wife’s Kodak Z980. I did not process it as an HDR. I loaded the RAW file straight into PSE7.

#2 and #3 are 6-7 exposures each from my Sony A350 to cover overly dark and overly bright extremes. I used Dynamic Photo HDR (DPHDR) to process them.

For #3, I used Topaz Adjust to bring out detail from the clouds.

For all three, I used Topaz Detail to emphasize further the details already present.

The rest of my processing involved manually removing fringing, perspective correction, and sliding the contrast and levels sliders until I found something I liked.

So you can say DPHDR and Topaz Detail (with some help from Topaz Remask to separate the sky from foreground) did most of the work.

Below are two images I worked with in producing #3.

#4) One of the middle exposures for #3. This image is straight off the camera (resized to fix forum rule of 1024 max width). I wanted to show the natural lighting that I think contributed greatly to the quality (and responsiveness to post-processing) of the image.

#5) Cloud movement causes misalignment (“ghosting”) in DPHDR. So I used Topaz Remask to lift the sky off this single underexposed RAW file and pasted it on the HDR output that had the ghosted sky. I did not process the sky as HDR but used Topaz Adjust to bring out cloud detail.

Walter, I think that’s a good idea. I will have to thank steves-digicams forum members for helping me improve my picture-taking, enough to earn me a merit badge . I just hope no one submits a better-looking photo taken only with a cellphone camera...

Thanks, Martin. There were fringing on the branches and leaves so I manually removed them. I’m glad my efforts worked.

#6) The Corner café in the hamlet of Eldred, where we stopped for lunch. This is not HDR. This is off a RAW image processed by Topaz Adjust and Topaz Detail.

As always, c&c welcome. Thank you for looking.
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Old Sep 27, 2010, 5:28 PM   #6
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2 & 3 are particularly spectacular Billy. Great job.
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Old Sep 27, 2010, 8:54 PM   #7
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well i have to say that i hate you...in a good way!
your HDR skills are amazing
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Old Sep 27, 2010, 11:42 PM   #8
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got to agree 2 / 3 are real nice ..... if i had to pick it would be 3 although i do like the how the under roof - canopy (wood) came out in the first
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 9:07 AM   #9
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Thanks, all.

Doing this series I found out I was using Topaz Remask the hard way. Or at least slightly harder depending on the selections I'm making.

Upon launch Topaz Remask comes up by default with the whole image painted green -- meaning select everything.

I then change the default so the whole image is painted blue (instead of green) then I start painting green those areas I want to keep and painting red those areas I want to cut.

The easier way is to work with the default -- that is, leave the image painted green -- then paint a blue outline around the object you want to keep. Fill the inside of the outline with green paint (to keep it) and fill the outside of the outline with red paint (to cut it).

In some instances, my old method is more efficient but in most cases, the default method is quickest. I was doing the old method because that's what the video tutorial did that I happened to google when I was learning to use it.

#7) Another view of Headquaraters Cabin #11.

#8) Approach to the pond as seen from where we parked.
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