Dales Gorge in HDR and CAKE09 tales

“Oooohhh, are you guys from the fair” says the very excited woman behind the counter at Coles supermarket; in the small mining town of Tom Price in Western Australia. “Ehhh…what…No?!” I say to her disappointment. “We look like we belong in a fair?” I ask. “Ohhhh no” she says, ” just saw your little shoulder bag”. I ponder what a ‘fair-looking-shoulder-bag’ looks like. Like mine I guess. “Ok, cheers, see ya later"!” and Rod and I collect our shopping. Meet Casey outside – where I briefly study the big town fair and wonder if that is where I really belong. We then go in search of junk food feeling like burgers and chips. 35, yes thirty-five, dollars and some awful junk food later we mostly feel…ripped off!

Later that day. We’re back in Karijini after fuel and food in Tom Price. We’re shooting in Dales Gorge on a gorgeous afternoon. When the sun is out it is so lovely here in June. When the sun sets. Bit on the cold side! I drop my lens cap. As I do. Catch it before it dives into Fortesque Falls.  I keep wanting to point my camera up at the sky. Walls, any sort of walls, and I do not agree. Confining. Boxed in. I need a wide open space with a view to infinity. Open composition. As we are doing a CAKE group portrait next to a massive tree, I somehow manage to run into someone who excitedly says she recognises me from Mitchell Falls in the Kimberley. “I’m everywhere” I say, not really remembering her. Life of an international superstar (cough cough). What a funky day in the universe!

Finally; at the bottom (or top?) pool of Dales Gorge I somehow manage a gorge shot that I like very much. And finally; after many words here it is:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Dales Gorge pool and waterfall
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

There is a massive range of light here from the highlights to the shadows. Maybe 10 stops. Much more than any camera can capture. So I chose to do a High Dynamic Range image, shooting 3 exposures of the same shot at –4, 0 and +4 stops. I don’t really like the HDR results from any software be it Photoshop or Photomatix. I do my own blend as I find I get more natural looking results. Using layers in Photoshop I simply use masks to blend the 3 different exposures together. Highlights from the –4 shot, shadows from the +4 and perhaps just a bit of midtone from the middle image. I find I can much better control the result this way, a result that looks less fake and less obvious HDR. This image is probably quite close to what the eye can see when at the scene. However; as we’re not used to any cameras being able to capture details in highlights and shadows an image like this tends to look a bit like a painting. It is not a bad look for a photograph as long as it doesn’t scream ‘HDR generated’. I am quite happy with the results here and would love to hear your opinion or questions in a comment.

CAKE09 – short for Cape leveque And Karijini Expedition ‘09. You are forgiven if it slipped your mind! More tales to come…

14 Comments on “Dales Gorge in HDR and CAKE09 tales”

  1. Wonderful image — and lots of memories. I camped for a couple of days near Mt. Tom Price, before heading across the Chichester Range for Millstream Park.

  2. Albert,
    Have you seen my shot of this place ? Is in the WA gallery on my site… it looks so different to this its not funny… take a look and tell me what you think…. PNG ?

    1. Yeah I've seen your shot before Rod, it's a beauty. Also a great example of how you can right next to each other and produce very different results!

      PNG…TBE at the moment (too bloody expensive)

  3. hey Flem, what's this….. 3 waterfall images within a week…. you're turning!!! 😛
    and each image has 2 actual falls- that's 6 in a week. nearly 1 for each day of the week….. oh boy! hahaha

    yeah i agree with Rod- this looks so different i hardly recogniced it as being Fern Pool!
    i'm not really a big fan of HDR either. and you've done a good job with this so it is still realistic.

    even still, personally i'm not sure if this one works for me though sorry. i guess eventually you had to put 1 up that i don't go "wow" over 🙂

    i can't quite put my finger on why though- which i guess isn't the best. but i think it may be due to the lack of shadows obviously as a result to the exposure blends.
    probably sounds silly but i do like shadows etc in photos. not to the extent that they detract from the image- but where the balance is still nice to the eye. if that makes sense 🙂

    looks like it's Rod's turn to "hijack" your thread (referring to the Mitchell falls posts lol) this time hey…. but Rod- i think it worked. that image is stunning man 🙂

    1. Bugger, can't win them all, a non "wow" shot 😀 Hehe, no worries, I so cherish your support and comments Stephen! Bound to be some here and there you like less than others, I am extremely picky myself with what I like. I am happy though I created something people hardly recognize as Fern Pool (so that's the name, I forget). Rod's version is terrific, he's OUTSTANDING and can hijack my blog anytime he likes!

      I agree the HDR look can make it a bit flat. Perhaps this image needs more contrast, a slight black crush perhaps. I do like shadows very much as well.

      I have posted sand and sand for weeks on end so I figured I would post a bit of water for you water crazed Aussies 😀

  4. Another well written and great to read post Flem. The image comes across quite well in my opinion, and like most of us I DREAD HDR images generally.
    Is this spot called Fern pool ? I thought from my memory…many many years ago (too long for my liking) that this spot was Fortescue falls ?


    1. Hi Tony and thanks! Glad you like the writing too. That is the fun part about blogging, getting to write!

      I dread those obvious HDR images as well so I try to make it as non-HDR looking as possible. That is why I blend it manually, not using any software that overcooks it.

      I think it's Fern Pool yes, Fortescue Falls is before this, where the water runs down a long series of "steps". You walk behind Fortescue for about 500 meters and then Fern Pool is at the end of the gorge.

  5. Wow plus and minus 4 and then hand blended to perfection. Very nicely done Flemming. Masking those tree leaves and branches in the sky couldnt have been easy.

  6. Your post made me laugh. International super stardom obviously suits you to a T 😉

    If you didn't mention that walls and you don't agree, I would have guessed looking at the photo. Feels a bit claustrophobic. Apologies, I know you probably didn't intend it to be, but it does to me.

    I wouldn't have picked this for an HDR though. The method you're using rocks!

    1. Glad to make you laugh Charlene 😀 Yes, I was born to be a travelling superstar hehe.

      Feels claustrophobic to me too, don't like the walls. At least here there's an escape in the sky. But I prefer open ground!

      Nice to know it doesn't look all that HDR!

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