John Santoro's blog

2014 HDR Contest Winner Goes Pro

We were thrilled to hear from 2014 HDR Contest winner Nuurs Ortiz that he's taken his photography to the next level and turned pro. Based in the Miami, FL area Nuurs has found a living working in the real estate and architectural markets. His knowledge of HDR photography is very valuable in this area of photography because of the need to tame huge differences in brightness levels.

Nuurs' personal story stands out because he is an imigrant from Cuba who arrived in the U.S. before the current detente. He's an example of all that is powerful about the drive of new arrivals to the U.S.

We had a chance to chat with Nuurs and find out how his life has changed in the last year.

UCT: You won the 2014 Unified Color HDR Contest with a fabulous photo of the Florida coastline that was so good we’ve run in on our homepage ever since. How has that image affected your photography?

Ortiz: This image changed my photography because it is an example of never giving up. A lot of crazy things happened on the way to that location like really fast changing weather, getting lost despite using a GPS and hiding our car from the police because parking is really restricted.

Finally we got into the beach and waited until the last rays of sunset and then the sky cleared. I remember that I did a lot of bracketed sets and I was not sure if I got something usable. I was a bit disappointed because my lens got wet but I never gave up.

When I arrived home and checked what I had in my computer I became exited because that particular image was the most beautiful one of the whole set. I have many more but that is may favorite. It showed me that when you have passion for what you do, when you love what you do and never give up everything is possible.

Check back here tomorrow for more of the conversation with Nuurs and more of his images

Get In On the 2015 HDR Contest

We're excited about the quality of the images we're receiving in for the 2015 Unified Color HDR Contest. Here is a beautiful image by Sankar Raman of a flower field just after sunset. Nicely done Sankar.

Keep those entries coming in! Check out the details at the contest page.

Still Time!

There is still time to submit your entry into the 2015 Unified Color HDR Contest for the chance to win a $500 B&H Gift Card. Check out the contest page for details.

Don't forget. It's FREE to enter.

Here's a nice recent entry from Mark Tamosiunas.

2015 HDR Contest - Silhouette and Color

The entries for the 2015 HDR Contest keep coming in but there's plenty of room for your entry. Let's get out and shoot this weekend!

Here's a colorful, silhouette image of an ocean pier by Rich Barger. We love the color and the horizontal composition. Notice the seagulls on the water's surface sitting between the reflections of the pier.

Do you think the image makes good use of HDR? Let us know on our Facebook Fan Page.

Using HDR Expose 3 Within Lightroom

Many of you would like to do your HDR processing in Lightroom. But, even with Lightroom's new HDR features the only way to do full 32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom is with the HDR Expose 3 Lightroom plugin. The plugin comes free with your HDR Expose 3 purchase and the 30-day free trial download. Don't give up full 32-bit processing, especially when you doing high dynamic range photography in Lightroom.

Here's a great tutorial in our Video Tutorials section that shows you how to get great HDR results using the HDR Expose 3 Lightroom plugin.

Straightforward and Natural

Here's an HDR Contest entry by photographer John Adams that came in recently. The composition is straightforward and the HDR processing very natural.

Thought Provoking

Here's an interesting still life entry in the 2015 HDR Contest by Jane Coelho. She brings in the much brighter outside light to add depth to the image while preserving details in the shadows of the foreground. Well done Jane!


This year we're really seeing a shift in the style and quality of HDR Contest submissions. In previous years we saw tons of over-processed, sureal looking images; nothing like you'd find in nature. This year we're seeing images that make full use of our HDR technology while still looking real and believeable.

Here's a balanced composition from Denver based photographer Vic Moss that tames a wide range of brightness while looking completely natural.

Enter the 2015 HDR Contest. It's free. We're taking entries until May 21. Check out the contest details HERE

Center Or Not? What Do You Think?

Here is a great 2015 HDR Contest entry from William Flynn of the abandoned cellblock at the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philiadelphia.

What caught our eye in this well executed image is the off-center vanishing point. Most would argue that the vanishing point is correctly placed. Others would envision how the great movie director Stanley Kubrik would put this vanishing point in the absolute center of the frame, a no-no for traditionalists but well used by Kubrick and in the Academy Award nominated film Budapest Hotel.

Let us know what you think on our Facebook page.

You should enter the contest. Check out the contest details at

HDR Contest Entries Arriving

The is the exciting time we look forward to each year. The entries for the 2015 HDR Contest are starting to come in. Here is a nice waterfall image by Doug Deleaver. Well done.

It's free to enter the contest. Check out the contest overview and get shooting. We're accepting entries until May 31, 2015.

Syndicate content