Photography Torture Test

Bar Color, 6th Street - Austin, Texas

Bar Color, 6th Street – Austin, Texas

Do you want a torture test for photography? Shoot in a bar. In particular, the modern ones with wacky LED lighting. Here’s one from 6th Street, though I don’t remember which one it is. Each bar has its own theme and unique decor. However, most are challenging. I often shoot these right from the doorway — I don’t bother going inside. It’s easy to do a Sunday night when the crowds are sparse.

In the old days, these kinds of pictures required HDR. Shooting on a tripod, you needed at least 3 different exposures. Later, special software on a computer blended the images together. The newest smartphones do something like this in a more advanced and fully automated way.

I haven’t created an old-fashion HDR in years. However, advances in cameras and post-processing obviate the need in most cases. I made this with a single underexposed hand-held exposure and lifted the shadows in post. Televisions are one of the hardest to get right. Their bright screens are easy to blow out under dark conditions.

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