A Blomage: Episode 1 – Leanne Cole

One of the things that I have really, really enjoyed about starting my blog is that I now read a crap load of them myself.  The blogging community is a social one, and if you post good(ish) content regularly, you get followers and friends.

But your fandom and almost freakish stalking of a particular blogger can sometimes go unnoticed…and that’s where the ‘blomage’ comes in.

As you have probably guessed, I have rather ingeniously combined ‘blogging’ with the word ‘homage’ and, well, I’m sure you will figure the rest out.

Anyway, the first in what I hope will be quite a long series of ‘blomages’, is to the wonderfully talented Leanne Cole.  Leanne is a photographer in Australia, and she posts spectacular HDR images on an almost daily basis.  I discovered Leanne because she kindly liked my page.  I followed her ‘like’ and saw her work.

And I have been reading her blog ever since.

Now – for those of you who don’t know, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and there are some simply wonderful photographers out there who use it beautifully. Leanne is definitely one of them, but I must also tip my hat to the amazing Trey Ratcliff who writes the ‘stuck in customs’ blog.

Out. Standing.

There are also a billion idiots who just rape your eyes with their attempts with the technique.  Please quickly go on Google right now, click on the images and search “Bad HDR”.   It’s OK, I will wait…you really have to see what I am talking about to fully appreciate just how awesome Leanne is.

Done it yet?….

SEE WHAT I MEAN?!!  Why would anyone think that is acceptable?!

But I digress.  I love Leanne’s work, and I hope that you do to.

One of the things that I like so much about her page, is that she explains (as best she can) her process to get where she wants to, and, shock of all horrors, she shares her original images too.

This is so, so brave – and I love her for it.

In order to make an HDR photo, you must take a set of at least three photos, in exactly the same spot at varying exposures. So, at the most basic, you would take one slightly under-exposed, one bang on the money, and one that is overexposed.  You then merge these bad boys together with an appropriate program, and play with the tonal mapping.  This allows you to expose the entire scene absolutely perfectly.  You can bring out details in the shadows that would just be black in your ‘bang on the money shot’, or bring down highlights that would otherwise be completely overexposed.

Bearing this in mind, you still need to compose correctly, and you need to know what you want your photo to look like in the end…otherwise you end up with something like this.   And no one wants that.


But by sharing the original, Leanne faces the age old ‘oh, it’s just Photoshop – you’re just pressing buttons – that’s not photography’ bullshit.  And that is really unfair.  Post processing is part of photography now.  Sorry if you don’t want to hear that, but it is.  Photoshop is as important nowadays as the lens you buy, and if you don’t use it, you’re either a liar or an idiot or both.

What Leanne does, masterfully, is draw your eye to what she wants you to see.  She blurs out areas she thinks distracts, she blends tones and adds contrast where she thinks it is needed, and I would hazard that she spends just as long (if not longer) processing the shots as she does shooting them.   Unlike Snapseed and Instagram – which have their place and I do not knock them at all – Leanne has 100% control of her images.   She decides what the software does, not a computer.  Just like black and whites, Leanne understands which scenes suit the technique best – often abandoned buildings and old industrial sites, and she works her magic.

And with that, I leave you with my first blomage – an HDR exposure from Venice.  I wanted to bring out the graffiti on the wall, screaming from behind the beautiful hand carved and ancient second hand furniture.  This image is made up of nearly thirty layers (I counted them especially) with an array of blurs, blend modes, exposures, contrast, textures and noise…I hope you like it.

And if you’re reading Leanne, I hope I understood your last 50+ posts!!!

Thanks for reading guys 🙂

I have moved

Do you hate crap HDR as much as I do?  Please feel free to post any links to corkers you find in the comments below, and I will speak to you all again at the weekend 🙂

8 replies
  1. Leanne Cole
    Leanne Cole says:

    I think you understood them just fine Fergus. I love what you have done to this image, it looks great. Thank you so much for this, I feel very honoured, if you could see me, you would know that I am blushing slightly. I am not used to this sort of thing. 🙂

    • Fergus Ford
      Fergus Ford says:

      Aw Leanne – you came!! You read, you saw and you liked – thanks for taking the time. 🙂

      I think I am going to enjoy this whole ‘blomage’ thing, sharing the wonderful bloggers I have found over the last few months with my three adoring fans 😉

      Like I have said numerous times now, please keep up your amazing work, and I shall continue to look forward to seeing your piccies every day 🙂 x

  2. susaneleanor
    susaneleanor says:

    Ferg – I love this photo (picture?) – it has such rich tones. I couldn’t believe the original – it looks so ordinary! I think I understand what you do, but to have the imagination to know how you want it to end up is awesome! xxx

    • Fergus Ford
      Fergus Ford says:

      Thanks Sue 🙂 Yes, I knew when I looked at it that it needed crazy contrast to get what I wanted. I originally thought Black and white would suit, but after a bit of headscratching, HDR was clearly the route to take 🙂 Glad you like it – and thanks for the comment 🙂 Did you check out Leanne’s stuff yet?x

  3. Felicity Ford
    Felicity Ford says:

    I had not heard anything about this technique, but I love what you have done with your photo, and thanks for introducing me to Leanne’s work! Good job, Ferg, and well done for exploring the social side of blogging. For me, that’s my favourite thing about blogging – the possibility to connect, comment, debate and share ideas socially.

  4. joshuagowphotography
    joshuagowphotography says:

    Hi Ferg,

    Great blomage! You totally nailed the Venice image, took an ordinary scene, in harsh light and moulded it into a subtle blend of photography and art. Nice work. I found a belter of terrible HDR too,


    Somehow this image made it on to a site for people to buy a poster of it!

    Looking forward to the next post. Keep up the good work buddy.

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