While traveling in the interior part of Morocco last month, we stayed in this dusty mining town, as the books describe it, in this very decent hotel. It was just a quick overnight, and there wasn’t much time therefore to photograph the inside but when we walked in, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was amazingly intricate with colors and patterns and cutouts. I knew I would have to be up early the next morning just to photograph the hotel.

I knew I had to make several exposures to render the detail in the upper area and the shadowy areas under the arches/floors – but there was no way to get blue in those windows – as there wasn’t blue sky outside that morning – a hazy sky at best! So some things you have to live with, but I wasn’t going to skip photographing this unique architecture.The hanging cross piece itself was awesome and I wanted this point of view to show that. Fortunately, the windows were small in this angle of view and created a pattern I could live with. We’re leading another trip to Morocco in May 2010, and I hope to do some more work inside this place as we’ll have two nights there.

Dappled light has long been an impossible thing for photographers to capture without shadows or highlights being compromised. Although I saw a lot of things I wished I could photograph, several years ago, I used to walk away from pictures like this village lane in Burano, Italy. Not any more. The last trip I made, I actually took several different scenarios with a plan in mind for using HDR to make them work. For this one, I took several (four or five, I can’t recall at the moment) and made only subtle adjustments after Photomatix did its thing.

In both cases, I kept Light Smoothing high to retain the realistic effect, and I adjusted the black point and white points, and I then took them into Photoshop and added a curve, to put a little contrast back in to the scene as the pictures straight out of Photomatix all tend to be a little flat. All the detail’s there now, light and shadow, just as I saw it with my own eyes. We’re going to be in Italy leading our photo tour May 7th-20th,  including an extension into Venice/Burano, and I’m looking to do more work with HDR in mind, especially if we get a sunny day like this!


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