A view from the Hotel Valencia

A view from the Hotel Valencia - San Jose, California

A view from the Hotel Valencia – San Jose, California

Sometimes everything falls into place — the sum of the parts being greater than the whole. This photograph, that I shot last week in San Jose, is an example. One that the Santana Row Tripod Police could not stop. I shot it off the 5th floor balcony of the Hotel Valencia, where I stayed.

I shoot enough HDRs that, usually, I have a good idea how they would turn out. I was pleasantly surprised by this one though. The orange color you see on the horizon is not the sunset. The sky was already quite dark but the long exposure brought out the details. I increased the saturation and tweaked the color temperature and got this wonderful deep blue with the orange, which I suspect is created by the glow of the city’s lights.

As usual, I shot 3 exposures two stops apart. The new Olympus E-PM2 now conveniently has a HDR bracket which helps you take the photographs. It does not, however, create the HDRs in camera — you still have to post process them on the computer. I used Photomatix Pro to create the HDR, did some manual layer blending and did the final adjustments using Apple’s Aperture 3.

More than any of my other photographs, this one gives the feeling of Santana Row. The place really does do a nice job to simulate a city, even though it really is a shopping mall. Austin has “The Domain” which is a similar kind of development. I hope someday, will fill out as nicely as this one.

Photograph taken with my Olympus E-PM2 with the 14mm f2.5 lens and the Panasonic wide-angle adapter.

Click on the photograph to see a larger image and hover over the photo to see the exposure detail.


4 thoughts on “A view from the Hotel Valencia

  1. Glad you had some success here. The auto bracketing for HDR is a very nice feature. Even with a rock solid tripod here, if I have to adjust anything manually there sometimes is ghosting.

  2. There is nothing specifically named as “HDR Bracketing” on the OM-D E-M5. You can bracket several controls, though: exposure, white balance, flash output level, ISO, and the Art modes. The exposure backeting is fairly versatile. You can select the number of shots to be 2, 3, 5, or 7. You can vary the exposure by 0.3 EV, 0.7 EV, or by 1.0 EV. Sadly though, they are not completely independant settings. Instead, you choose the number of shots and the exposure variance together, from a rather lengthy list of possible combinations. You can choose 7 shots with 0.7 EV variance, but not 1.0 EV variance.
    If you choose continuous shooting mode (instead of single shot mode), the camera will take all of the photos as long as you keep the shutter buttom pressed – which is a great time to have the remote cable release.

    By the way, your HDR photo is very nice!

    1. Thank you, Gregg. Sounds like the bracketing features of the OM-D is the same as my Pen E-P3, as I suspected. On the E-PM2 and I’m guessing the E-PL5, there is a bracket called HDR BKT. It has options of 3, 5, and 7 frames 2 stops apart or 3 and 5 frames at 3 stops apart. I just use shoot 3 frames at 2 stops apart.

      Also, when in the HDR BKT mode, you just press the shutter once and it takes all the brackets for you without holding down the shutter.

      Too bad there is no way to put a 2nd delay on the first shot, that would eliminate the need for a remote release. By shooting the frames immediately upon shutter press, there is a chance you might introduce camera movement.

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