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by Carl Frederik Waage Beck on august 25, 2010

I have been a fan of Trey Ratcliffs for some time now. Trey is one of the pioneers of HDR photography, and he has been instrumental in making this sort of photography popular and known by the masses.

For a while HDR has been regarded as a sort of artificial or unrealistic school of photography.
It was frowned upon by the photography establishment and until now not seen as a legitimate form in its own right. Many such photographers thought that the extreme dynamic range possible with HDR made the photographs “unrealistic” and not true to reality.

Until HDR emerged, everyone was used to the fact that a taking a photo meant committing to a certain exposure. Anyone who has tried photographing outside from whithin a building knows that the final photo either shows a proper lighting of the interior OR the exterior. That is, either the interior darker details are visible and the outside is a white blur OR the outside bright details, clouds etc are visible and the interior details of the room are a dark blur.

Traditional photography means you have to chose. But in real life we don’t have to chose. The eyes adjust to the proper sensitivity according to where we focus. The combined experience is that we can see BOTH the details in the clouds outside AND the darker details of the interior room. HDR works the same way – you get the best of both worlds, and a photo that is closer to the experience that you actually had when you were there.

Trey is a nice guy with a mission to promote HDR photography. He runs a blog at that has tens of thousands of visitors every day, but decided to help other HDR photographers spread their work and generate traffic to their sites. So he created which works as a traffic generation engine. It’s a community by invitation where members can upload and share their work.

I have posted numerous HDR photos to, and as a result thousands of people have now seen my photos of the fairy tale castles and landscapes that are so common in Scandinavia it’s almost hard to spot them. Here’s an example of what I mean: the lake pavillion in central Copenhagen. Visible from a unique angle this winter because of the prolonged frost that made walking on the lakes possible.


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by Carl Frederik Waage Beck on juni 11, 2010

Photographer Bent Rej opened his exhibition of Rolling Stones photos at Martin Asbæk Gallery yesterday. Bent shot his photos of the Stones back in 1965-66 when they weren’t yet renowned as one of the worlds greatest rockbands.

A few years ago I received 6 limited edition prints from this series as a gift. They now adorn the walls of my apartment and I can’t walk to the kitchen without getting a cheeky grin from Mick.
I think the great quality of Bents photos lies the intimacy they possess. They feel private, much different from the usual ad smiles I see on every billboard. They feel like the family portraits that also hang in the hallway of my aparment.

Intimacy is hard to come by as a photographer. But when the photographer turns subject and snaps a photo in the mirror, things start to get intimate. There’s something else present – that which escapes the photographer. A moment of solitude and privacy. When published, this kind of photo reveals what the subject wishes, not the photographer. This is true exhibitionism.

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HDR in the blizzard

by Carl Frederik Waage Beck on februar 3, 2010

Here’s how being stuck in traffic sometimes spurs creativity.

Monday evening I found myself on a plane towards the northern city of Ålborg where I had a teaching appointment on tuesday.  The ride was smooth, and while the news reported of a looming snowstorm I felt confident that I was going to make it back to Copenhagen on my plane tuesday evening.  Not so wise as it turns out…  Most of Denmark has been bogged down in snow since tuesday afternoon.

Anyway I tip my hat to SAS and their kind staff for lodging me at the SAS radisson in Ålborg and checking me in on another flight wednesday morning instead.

Here’s when it gets juicy for all you HDR lovers. I was actually ready to go to bed at the hotel when I happened to cast a glance out the window…

There, moored at the quay was the Icebreaker Elbjørn in front of some makeshift ice skating rinks. I just could not resist this opportunity, so obviously I had to sneak up to the 6th floor of a service stairwell to find a suitable window from which to shoot a few handheld HDR series.

Here’s the result, 3 HDRs spaced 2 stops apart at f3,2 ISO 200 shot with my 35mm prime on a canon 7d. I did the tonemapping in photomatix and additional work in PS4 as well as adding some topaz adjust.


From Photography by Carl Frederik Waage Beck

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Winter settling on Forum

by Carl Frederik Waage Beck on januar 7, 2010

I decided today that I was going to get started on my HDR journey, and I have now spent a great deal of time on Trey Ratcliffs excellent blog “Stuck in Customs”

Trey makes some amazing HDR photography and I really encourage you to check it out. Temples, Fireworks, Sunrises – it all looks great!

Anyhow, since the COP15 riots in front of Forum things have cooled down here considerably.

So the weather was stacking up for some time in front of the screen. With the help of this cute little piece of software Photomatix it is possible to stack together 3 differently esposed photos into one.

And Voila, you have the detailed contrast of the dark areas without the bleeding whites in the highlights.

Remember, this is an early effort into HDR, but comments and suggestions for improvements are welcome.


From Photography by Carl Frederik Waage Beck

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P for Paint, Portrait and Pleasure, not Photo.

by Carl Frederik Waage Beck on juli 22, 2009

At home I have several binders full of old photographs; happy days, sad days and all the stuff in between.
Yesterday was a great day: Celebrating my wife Annes birthday at home and with her family.

I love photos, don’t get me wrong.

But sometimes the best way to catch the essence of someone else is by not being accurate. Painting is not a replacement for cameras. There’s just no comparison to a digitally enhanced Nikon D3X photo, so no point in trying.

No way.

Besides, Hanging a 60×60 cm. photo of yourself in the living room might seem a bit self-absorbed.
A painting however can pull it off :o)

Best regards, Carl

“Anne” from Artworks by Carl Frederik Waage Beck

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