American Southwest Trip, 2018: Panorama and HDR

This is a collection of panorama and HDR photos from Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, and Zion national parks, as well as Cedar Breaks National Monument. The vast majority of these were not originally shot as panorama or HDR, but were converted from separate photos that I felt looked better merged together. The two that were actually shot as HDR/panorama are captioned as “True Panorama” or “True HDR.”

Click on any photo to open a gallery.

View More Southern Utah Photos View More Bryce Canyon Photos

View More Zion Photos View More North Rim Grand Canyon Photos

View More South Rim Grand Canyon Photos

Canadian Maritimes in Panorama and HDR

Here is a compilation of panoramas and HDR photos taken during my two-week road trip through the Canadian Maritime Provinces in late August/early September, 2016.

All of the following photos are panoramas except where HDR appears in the description.

Prince Edward Island

We only allotted two days for Prince Edward Island but it ended up being one of our favorite legs of the trip. We stayed on the less-touristy northeast side of the island at an inn on a cliff overlooking the sea. The view from our room was spectacular. The entire stay was relaxing and serene. I only wish we could have spent more time here.

View of a sunset from our inn.
View from beneath the cliff on which our inn was situated.
Same sunset as above, this one in HDR. The effect was almost like a painting.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Cape Breton is an island at the northeastern tip of Nova Scotia. It is a must-visit if you’re in the area. The Cabot Trail, which encircles the majority of the island, is a drive of breathtaking beauty. The highlands, in particular, are reminiscent of Scotland. In all, we spent four days here but with all of the hiking and sightseeing available, you could easily stay a week or two.

Our view after hiking to the top of Franey Mountain.
View from our cabin at the Glenora Inn, where we stayed one night.

New Brunswick

The New Brunswick area has much to offer, including Fundy National Park, which we barely had time to explore outside of one early evening hike. We spent most of our two days in this province at Cape Enrage and the Hopewell rocks–where you can walk the beach at low tide and kayak around the same rocks at high tide. There are no high-tide photos in this collection, but I did take some and will share them at a later date.

Hopewell Rocks
Hopewell Rocks (HDR)
Hopewell Rocks
Hopewell Rocks (HDR)
The grassy area across from the beach near Cape Enrage.
The beach beneath Cape Enrage.

Nova Scotia

I didn’t take many panoramas during my stay on the main island of Nova Scotia, so there isn’t much represented here. The highlights from this leg of the trip included a two-night stay in the charming capital city of Halifax and a stop in the lovely town of Lunenberg, where we also visited The Ovens National Park. Nova Scotia has so much more worth seeing but a lot of our time on the island was spent driving to and from Cape Breton.

Cape Forchu, Nova Scotia, Canada
Looking out to the sea from the foggy rocks beneath the Cape Forchu lighthouse.
View from inside one of the sea caves at The Ovens National Park.

Overall, it was a great trip that gave us a taste of everything the Canadian Maritimes have to offer, though we could easily have spent a week or more at any one of the four primary regions we visited. We fell so much in love with the area, in fact, that we are giving serious thought to exploring the possibility of moving there.

Watkins Glen in HDR

A sunny day at Watkins Glen State Park in New York is the perfect opportunity to practice HDR photography because the high contrast of the dark areas of the gorge versus the areas that catch rays of sun can make it difficult to properly expose a scene with a single shot. Here are a few of the HDR photos I took during my hike in September, 2015. They were all done handheld, three exposures each. You can click on any image for a larger view.

I think I like this one the best.
Similar to the “Rivendell” shot I shared in an earlier post.
I like the feature of the log across the gorge in this one.
Looking down from a ridge into the gorge, with also a glimpse of the outside world near the top center.
This is such a beautiful place to visit.

You can view more featured photos at my Photo of the Day Collection.

cover3bAlso, don’t forget that the eBook version of my novel, The Eyes of Mictlan, is available for free during the entire month of November, and, if you download it through Story Cartel and write a review, you will be entered into their monthly drawing to win prizes such as Kindle eReaders, Amazon and Barnes & Noble gift cards, and bestselling print books.

There are three ways in which you can obtain a free copy:

  1. Story Cartel – There are two days left to download a FREE copy of my ‪novel from Story Cartel (registration is free) and, if you leave an honest review on your favorite book site or your blog, you will be entered into a monthly drawing to win a prize.
  2. Smashwords – You can download a free copy of my novel from Smashwords using the following coupon code: GH76V. The coupon is good until the end of the month.
  3. If you do not have a Smashwords account (or do not wish to create one), you can message me on Twitter at @njrappa and I will send you a link to download a free copy in either mobi, epub, or PDF format.

There are no strings attached and the book is yours to keep, but I would be most grateful if you could take a few minutes to leave a review on your favorite book site (such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads). And as always, I thank you for your support!

Yosemite in Panorama and HDR

Here are some panorama and HDR photos from my recent trip to Yosemite National Park in California. The tree pics are vertical panoramas taken in the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias (redwoods), though it’s hard to get a sense of scale since most of these photos don’t have people in them. Click on any image to view a larger size.

View from Cook’s Meadow Hike
The cars in the background give some sense of scale.
View from Cook’s Meadow Hike
Near Bridal Veil Falls (HDR)
View from Cook’s Meadow Hike (HDR)
Grizzly Giant (one of the largest trees in the world)
View from along Vernal Falls Trail (HDR)
The Tunnel Tree
View from above Yosemite Valley
Mariposa Grove
View from along Vernal Falls Trail (HDR)
Mariposa Grove
View from Glacier Point at Night
Mariposa Grove
View from my drive back to San Francisco along Route 49 (the Gold Rush Trail).
Mariposa Grove

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Photo of the Day: Canterbury Cathedral in HDR

This HDR image of the cathedral in Canterbury, England is a composite of two separate photos taken from roughly the same angle. My first photo had underexposed the foreground arch, so I took another one with flash, but this slightly overexposed the rest of the image (especially the sky). I hadn’t originally taken the photos with the intention of creating an HDR image so they didn’t exactly match, but I thought they were close enough in composition that merging them was worth a shot. The end result turned out better than either photo had looked on its own.

Date: 7/9/2014
Camera: Nikon D5100
Click for larger view

You can view more featured photos at my Photo of the Day Collection.

Venice in HDR

Venice: The Grand Canal (original)
Venice: The Grand Canal (original)

Lately I’ve been messing around with HDR photography. Normally that involves merging multiple versions of the same photo taken at different exposures, but I’ve also read that you can create a pretty good approximation of an HDR photo from a single RAW image, so I figured I’d experiment with one of my older photos.

I thought the above photo of the Grand Canal in Venice was a good candidate given the contrast between the light and dark areas, so I used Adobe Camera Raw to create three different image files: the original photo, an underexposed version, and an overexposed version. When I merged them in Photoshop, the overexposed photo washed the image out too much, so I only ended up combining the normal and underexposed versions. I then applied a bit more processing to the final image.

I’m still very much a novice at this HDR stuff (and with photo processing in general) and I kind of rushed through it, so the results are not ideal, but I think the final version below is a decent first attempt at a pseudo-HDR photo. You can click on the photos to view larger versions.

Venice: The Grand Canal (HDR)
Venice: The Grand Canal (HDR)

Like many HDR photos, this has a bit of a surreal feel to it, but with a little more time to tweak settings, I probably could have made it look more realistic.

On a side note, this photo was taken with my Panasonic FZ-40, a megazoom point-and-shoot. I am considering upgrading to a DSLR and have been eyeing the Nikon D3100 or D5200. If any photographers out there have any advice about these (or other cameras), I’d love to hear from you. Although I’m never going to be a professional, I feel that I may be outgrowing the limitations of my megazoom, particularly its performance in low light.

Just minutes after posting this to my blog, I saw a deal on eBay for a refurb Nikon D5100 with a kit lens at a price that was just too good to pass up. I normally steer clear of refurbs but the company, Adorama, seems to have a good reputation among the photography community, so I pulled the trigger.

So it’s official, I’m a DSLR guy! Now, to shop for some accessories and a good all-purpose zoom lens…

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