Week 225 Theme Reveal

Today I reveal the 2020 Photography 139 Calendar images for September and October.

2020 Calendar - September

The September image is of the Union Pacific Big Boy. It was taken a few miles east of Boone, near Jordan. It was taken on August 2, 2019. The Big Boy was on a tour to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.


Camera: Sony ILCA-77M2
Focal Length: 28mm
Aperture: f/8
Exposure: 1/400
ISO: 100

2020 Calendar - October

The October image was taken in the Discovery Garden at the Iowa State Fair. The subject is a monarch butterfly on top of a zinnia. The picture was taken on August 19, 2018.


Camera: Sony ILCA-77M2
Focal Length: 200mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure: 1/320
ISO: 400


If things go right, by the time you read these words I will be somewhere in Illinois or Missouri or maybe even Kentucky on my way back from Orlando, still high from a Cyclone victory of Notre Dame.

Therefore, when I get home from Orlando I will publish all the submissions for last week’s theme CANDID PORTRAIT.

However, just because I’m out cruising through the country, doesn’t mean you should be delayed on starting this week’s theme:

WEEK 225 - HDR

HDR! What a great theme! Wait a second. What the Hades is an HDR image?

Okay, so this is the one that I was pretty sure would end the double digit submission streak. If the holidays didn’t end it already, but CANDID PORTRAIT is a pretty easy theme especially when, is there a better CANDID PORTRAIT opportunity then little kids opening presents on Christmas morning?

But none of that answers the question what is an HDR image? HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Here is a great explanation from Digital Trends:

HDR stands for “high dynamic range.” For those who aren’t so acquainted with this high-tech shutterbug lingo, dynamic range is basically just the difference between the lightest light and darkest dark you can capture in a photo. Once your subject exceeds the camera’s dynamic range, the highlights tend to wash out to white, or the darks simply become big black blobs. It’s notoriously difficult to snap a photo that captures both ends of this spectrum, but with modern shooting techniques and advanced post-processing software, photographers have devised ways to make it happen. This is basically what HDR is: a specific style of photo with an unusually high dynamic range that couldn’t otherwise be achieved in a single photograph.

The best way to think of it is several pictures taken at different exposure levels, combined to create one image.

How the hades am I going to do that? Well, it isn’t as hard as you think. Pretty much every camera (including your phone camera) has a setting that will do this for you automatically. For example on my Pixel 2:

I can turn off and on HDR. Or even enhanced HDR. Look under you camera settings, you can find it there too.

You can also try to get fancy and take individual pictures yourself and try combining them yourself. You can even use an HDR toning program to create an HDR image from just one image.

As you can see, this isn’t an intimidating theme at all. You can literally take a picture of anything, as long as you change a setting on your camera before you take the picture.

It is almost too easy!