A new exhibition of photography by Dave Wilson incorporating images taken in and around Central Texas will be hanging in the Dragonfly Gallery at Rosedale, 4007 Marathon Blvd, Austin from June 1st until July 8th, 2010. The gallery is open from 10am until 5:30pm Tuesday through Saturday.
A slideshow of the images in the exhibition may be viewed here.
The miracle of sight is taken for granted by most of us. Seldom do we stop to realize how wonderful a job our eyes are doing as we gaze over a beautiful landscape, simultaneously enjoying the texture of the sunlit clouds and the colors of the pebbles in a shaded stream. We are used to being able to distinguish between an enormous range of brightness levels.
The world is a very different place when seen through a camera, however. Even the very best cameras available today can capture only a fraction of the information in a scene that our eyes routinely process. This is one of the main reasons that our photographs so frequently disappoint and fail to capture the place as we remember it – skies are blank or foregrounds are dark. Over the years, photographers have developed various tricks and techniques to work around the camera’s limitations and, with the advent of high resolution digital photography, new software-based approaches are becoming widespread. Among these is the technique of “High Dynamic Range” photography (HDR) as used in the great majority of images in this exhibition.
HDR photography seeks to capture the full range of brightness information from a scene while recognizing the limitations of the camera sensor. The photographer takes multiple images of the same scene using different exposures – some brighter, some darker – then merges these into a new image using a computer. The resulting image is then further processed to pull out detail in shadow and highlight areas and yield an image closer to the way the photographer originally remembered it.
While HDR techniques can be used to create realistic-looking results (“Capitol Dome HDR” or “Austin Skyline at Dusk”), altering the processing can yield very much more artistic imagery by greatly exaggerating texture in the picture. This “hyper-real” approach is extremely effective with monochrome subjects (“First Stage Engines, Saturn V” and “Chevron Tower, Houston”) where fine texture is critical to the composition but also creates striking results in color photography where previously unseen texture can be accentuated to create a totally different feel (“Old Gas Station, Driftwood, TX” or “Texas State History Museum 1/2/3”). Materials such as leather and textiles also benefit greatly from HDR treatment (“Lucchese Boots at Allens”, “Vintage Boots at the Wild West Store”, “Wild West Store”) as fine grain and stitching patterns become very much more apparent.
Dave Wilson, June 1st, 2010