When A Photograph Is Better Than Real Life

In today's world of digital photography, it is easy to see how almost anyone can take good photographs.  Just start snapping that shutter 100 times and you're bound to have a few "good" photos to post to Facebook.  For most, this photography revolution is liberating and satisfying.  To South Florida native, William Wetmore, it just means it's time to take it to the next level.

Bill is a man of many talents...an understated, down home kind of guy with a ton of technology knowledge.  Both intense and relaxed at the same time, he uses every minute of his day to its fullest.  One of his favorite things to do with his time is to capture life using HDR photography.  HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, but in practical terms it means photography that transcends.  "Regular photos often fall flat, literally and figuratively," says Wetmore. "Using HDR techniques adds back the missing vibrance and clarity.  It often allows me to express emotion in the frame too."

And, to many of his friends and family, Bill's hobby does just that.  His artwork showcases Miami from a very unique perspective. "I like to take pictures that access my childhood.  There are fewer and fewer places left from my youth and not only do I get to revisit them, but I get to share them with others."

Bill uses his camera and skilled, artistic eye during the course of his regualr day.  When he can, he scouts out locations and returns later to catch the light at just the right time.  Bill says the best times for taking pictures are often sunrise and sunset.  He explains, "You get these long shadows and rich colors that don't exist at other times of the day."  On average, Wetmore gets in 2-3 hours a week of shooting time, typically done in 10-15 minute bursts.

Once a photo shoot is over, the real work begins.  HDR photography uses computer software to combine three identically-framed shots, captured at different exposures.  The software then allows the artist to take advantage of each shot's exposure to draw out and highlight desired colors and contrasts.  The results are often dramatic and always unique.

What sets an HDR artist apart from a digital photographer is their ability to look ahead and see in their mind's eye how they will process the final piece in the HDR settings.  Bill was quick to point out that none of his work is artificial.  He does not paint with Photoshop, add or subtract elements, or otherwise change what was originally in the frame.  Instead, he simply gives weight and meaning to certain parts of his subject.

As a Miamian, I am moved by Bill's pieces.  Even though I can experience gorgeous South Florida sunrises and sunsets directly, his photographs are often more powerful.  His perspective on landmarks and nature make me think differently.  He even brings beauty to graffiti.

Bill's artwork is appreciated by many walks of life.  There is a woman in Great Britain who loved his photos and couldn't afford to buy them at full price.  After speaking with Bill through email they worked out a deal where she made dozens of greeting cards featuring his work at a reduced price.  "It's about sharing my pictures and my emotion," expressed Wetmore.  "Sometimes a friendship is worth more than the value of the art."

Among his favorite Miami landmarks to shoot are the Bacardi Building, Freedom Tower, Marine Stadium, the Biltmore Hotel and the Garment District.  In fact, one of Bill's fans is a location scout for the USA TV Network's show, Burn Notice.  Wetmore recently saw an interesting correlation between his posted Garment District photos and the backdrops to one of the show's scenes a few weeks later.

Like many artists, Wetmore doesn't make a lot of money with his works, but does immensely enjoy the craft.  I highly recommend you view his stuff online to gain a greater appreciation of Miami and perhaps to patronize this honest and hard-working artist.

You can find Bill's unfiltered photo postings at http://www.redbubble.com/people/njordphoto.  Bill is says he posts almost everything there and is sometimes surprised by which photos elicit fan response.  Once he finds time to filter, he posts subsets of the work he is most proud of at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/william-wetmore.html.  Of course, you can find him at both Twitter and Facebook as well.