Jeff Smallwood Photography
A Crack in the Armor - Pier in Ocean City
Apr 8, 2012

A Crack in the Armor, originally uploaded by jeffsmallwood.

This is one of those shots where I didn't stick to my original plan. I took 5 bracketed shots from this spot with the goal of tone mapping them through HDR. In the field the range of exposure was just so high, I wanted to ensure the deeper colors of the sky and the slightly lit underside of the pier could be seen together without the sun itself becoming overwhelming. Those shadows beneath the pier were so dark, it was just a really wide exposure range.

Well, I spent some time processing them and wasn't happy with the result. Image this shot as an HDR where you can see everything, and you may realize it would be too much. The contrast of the pilings competed with the blur of the water, which competed with the detailed structure beneath the pier, which competed with the sun bursting through the end. The flow that pulls your attention into the shot and toward the sun was totally lost. I went back to a single exposure and decided a strong, dark top to the shot was a much better anchor for the frame and didn't overly distract from the flow.

You may not agree, but that's the vision I was going for. This shot definitely reminded me that sometimes less is more.

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