Desert Warriors Before and After

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Desert Warriors Before and After

Anytime someone gives me a reason to take things to the next level I take it as a personal challenge to do just that. When I was asked to review the Zeppelin from Westcott I jumped on the opportunity to see just what the 59″ parabolic umbrella could handle. What better place than the desert and what better theme than warriors of the road! If the Zeppelin could handle the dust, dirt and wind of the desert than I’d be sold! Turns out, with some heavy sand bagging and a watchful eye it handled the desert just fine! Of course there wasn’t 30mph wind so I’m sure that helped. I can just see it now, a strong gust of wind and there goes the blimp. Tie a rope to it and you could sail across the lakebed on an off road skateboard!

I’ve gotten some comments about HDR and how people like the images but “want to see them before HDR” or comments a little more troll-like that say “this HDR style post-processing sucks big time”. Here is my chance to tell you that the ‘traditional’ hdr processing requires more than one image to increase the overall dynamic range. Far surpassing what the camera can capture in one shot. As far back as Ansel Adams you’d get post processing to increase dynamic range. Adam’s obsessive dark room sessions could take days. Dodging and burning until the print was, in his eyes ‘perfect’.

Fast forward to 2014 and we do the same thing but with photoshop. A single image captured in RAW format affords you an incredible amount of light data. Far more than can be shown without processing. If the data is there, why in the world wouldn’t you take advantage and use it. Those purist who don’t believe in post processing are missing the point. The point is to capture the best image possible and to say straight out of the camera is the best typically means you don’t know anything past that green auto button. Would you deny that an iceberg is more than what you can see on the surface? No of course not!

I typically don’t use multiple exposures of the same image but I do layer dozens of images together and the result is a photo with a very wide range of tones. So, yes my images although not the traditional HDR are in fact in the end High Dynamic Range images. They are not for everyone. I have no intentions of pleasing every tom dick and sally. Try to please everyone and end up pleasing no one. I create images that I like, in a style that I love. Trolls will be trolls!

Here are a selection of the images from the desert warriors shoot with before and after sliders. This should enable you to see just what I did in post to achieve the effect I like. There is  not a lot of added images in these photos. No sky replacement, no additional buildings, cars, debris. Some color balance shifts and some haze and a whole lot of dodging and burning.






For those who have not seen, here is the BTS video


  1. […] Michael Herb’s blog to view before and after-edit shots of these images, along with an informative description of his […]