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Author Topic: To HDR or Not To HDR  (Read 16675 times)

pdirestajr

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #30 on: October 24, 2011, 12:49:35 AM »
A simple curves adjustment on the histogram can help expand the dynamic range without clipping, crazy color shifts, halos or added noise.
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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #30 on: October 24, 2011, 12:49:35 AM »

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #31 on: October 24, 2011, 08:33:12 PM »
Is it me, or is there an island and a fountain missing from the lake? (and aren't those towers finished yet?)
Love the shot though.

The island and fountain are still there as far as I know, only just outside the frame. The date on the picture(s) is august 30, so the towers aren't finished yet (government buildings, so they cost twice as much and take three times as long to complete) 
I've been messing with HDR lately, using Hugin on linux, and i'm coming up with a lot of good tips for myself. First one is that moving targets, waves on the beach, people walking past, wind blowing the trees, clouds moving position, etc, really mess up the shot. Just got myself an ND8 filter, i'll try some night-time long-exposures to minimise some of those problems when the weather gets better...

I know, days without wind are rare in Holland. Trees can become a problem, waves and moving clouds can be quite pretty if the exposure is long enough. Water gets a milky or misty quality that I like.

My HDR is a ND grad, the thing which screws on the front of a lens... Sadly, when I tried to check the local camera stores for them (Fort Lauderdale area), NONE of the attendants knew what they were...

That works great for landscapes where you have a nice and even horizon, or shots where one side of the picture is dark and the other light, but if the light is scattered throughout the picture, they’re useless.

A simple curves adjustment on the histogram can help expand the dynamic range without clipping, crazy color shifts, halos or added noise.

That only works if the data is in the (raw) file.

HDR through multiple exposures is useful if the dynamic range of the scene is larger than the camera can capture. Crazy color shifts, halos or added noise can be avoided. Good HDR-images take time and skill in post processing. There is a lot more to it than one or two mouse clicks in Photomatix or other HDR software.   

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #32 on: October 25, 2011, 06:55:27 PM »
Good example there pelebel   8)  That photo works with a little HDR. A few months ago I was toying with the idea of delving into ND filters and graduated filters, to try and get some decent contrast between dark landscape foreground and bright skies. Then I bought a G12 and found that with a tripod and sticking the thing in HDR mode, I could get properly exposed images. Not the arty HDRs, but properly exposed images. If using HDR techniques is cheating to properly expose photos, then logically, wouldn't using ND filters be cheating too? For me, personally, the biggest selling point of the 1DX is its multi exposure HDR capability.

+1:

 ND filters reduce the contrast, so does HDR. Remember the days when photoshopping was considered cheating too?

I too like the HDR feature of the 1Dx, but $6.8k is too much for me  :-\
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wickidwombat

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #33 on: November 22, 2011, 08:03:07 PM »
Of the 500+ pictures I take per month, I go HDR for 1, sometimes 2 shots. It's a great technique, but it won't be enough for a lack of talent. The worst thing happening to HDR is mediocre pictures getting processed to impress the non-converted!

Here's my landscape/etc portfolio if you want to try and find the ONLY HDR picture that's hidden in it: http://www.pelebel.com/galleries/paysages/


i'm sorry to say its not really hidden it sticks out like dogs balls, not subtle at all. just my opinion though

when i first encountered HDR i was blown away purchased photomatix straight away and made my own attrocities now i rarely think about using photomatix, some scenes it works ok though. I have been searching for ways to get away from the epilepsy inducing tone mappings most slider based programs produce and the best I have found is the stuff from tony kuyper (http://goodlight.us/) this guys luminosity masks are amazing, this method is not quick, not easy at all but I think produces results. I'm still learning how to do it all but it truely has a feel of crafting something amazing. It would be good if it got developed further into a plugin that was easier to use, i think practice practice practice and it might speed up the workflow though.
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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #34 on: November 22, 2011, 09:59:02 PM »

I have to agree with wick, it stands out plainly. Mostly, I think it's the haloing.

That said, I still like the picture a lot. Great feeling and mood. For me, that's what pictures are about, and I don't care much how people get there.

When I try HDR I use Unified Color's HDR Expose. It provides a lot of control, but it's demanding of the processor and memory. They have an HDR Express product that is much faster and easier to use, but I haven't tried it.



Of the 500+ pictures I take per month, I go HDR for 1, sometimes 2 shots. It's a great technique, but it won't be enough for a lack of talent. The worst thing happening to HDR is mediocre pictures getting processed to impress the non-converted!

Here's my landscape/etc portfolio if you want to try and find the ONLY HDR picture that's hidden in it: http://www.pelebel.com/galleries/paysages/


i'm sorry to say its not really hidden it sticks out like dogs balls, not subtle at all. just my opinion though

when i first encountered HDR i was blown away purchased photomatix straight away and made my own attrocities now i rarely think about using photomatix, some scenes it works ok though. I have been searching for ways to get away from the epilepsy inducing tone mappings most slider based programs produce and the best I have found is the stuff from tony kuyper (http://goodlight.us/) this guys luminosity masks are amazing, this method is not quick, not easy at all but I think produces results. I'm still learning how to do it all but it truely has a feel of crafting something amazing. It would be good if it got developed further into a plugin that was easier to use, i think practice practice practice and it might speed up the workflow though.
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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #35 on: November 22, 2011, 10:31:45 PM »
Like various people have already indicated in earlier posts, there is a lot of scope for natural looking HDRs to improve an image (also using Photomatix).  However there are so many poor examples (soft, colour balance out, halo-ing, etc).

My preference is to use Photomatix for most of my HDR (which are usually landscape), and I use it to minimise any of the blemishes listed above.  However there is the occasional time when I will need to use other photo post-processing software to undertake precision HDR work (eg using layers, etc).

As some others have written, if your preference is for 'natural looking' (ie as the eye sees) photography, carefully used HDR can have its place. 

All the best

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #36 on: November 23, 2011, 03:03:01 AM »
I use HDR when the camera cant manage - like this one where to get detail in the black floor the view through the window would be blown out.

I use Nik HDR-eFex

« Last Edit: November 23, 2011, 03:06:17 AM by briansquibb »

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #36 on: November 23, 2011, 03:03:01 AM »

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #37 on: November 25, 2011, 07:07:12 PM »
To me HDR is just another tool to help out. How it is used and abused is up to the artist. I think it is an area that goes beyond photography after a point.

I guess I could sum it up in 3 levels: natural looking, dramatic, and overcooked.

Natural is what camera HDR tries to do, get you a decent amount of detail in both shadow and highlight regions.

Dramatic is turned up a notch. It's beyond real, but without looking too fake. I love the threatening cloud effects you can get out of that, used in moderation. It can be a fine line between dramatic and the next category...

Overcooked is beyond that again. Too much saturation. Fake, artificial colours, and the biggest eyesore to me: haloing. Just say no!

I've never used HDR myself, but you can some people who use "Natural HDR" for celebrity/sports star portraits for magazines/newspaper supplements and it does make for nice punchy portraits without the "overcooked" feel. I'm not a fan of images with too much saturation or halo effects, but if that's what some people like who am I to judge.

At the end of the day, some people love it,

pelebel

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #38 on: November 27, 2011, 08:20:07 AM »
Wow! so much traffic on my website since I posted that link!
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cheeseheadsaint

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #39 on: November 27, 2011, 12:59:52 PM »
I love HDR but I know it doesn't work on all photos. I was also intrigued when I first saw such photos. They were breathtaking.. at least the first few I saw. Later, I observed HDR photos that were too overdone but that didn't make me hate it.

I don't think it will be an expected standard for all photos as it just doesn't work on all photos. Personally, I do not like the effect on people but on landscapes, it can be amazing.

I tried dabbling in HDR. I use Picturenaut (a free program) to merge photos but then I edit in PSE7 as I am not too familiar with all the tools in Picturenaut..

This is the 3rd hdr attempt i ever did... haven't really gotten a chance to try this effect more as now I do portraits.. xD

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #40 on: November 29, 2011, 09:41:48 AM »
LR/Enfuse http://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/lrenfuse.php

Exposure blending software, is donation-ware (cheap) plugin operates in Lightroom. No nasty HDR effects.

Highly recommend.

distant.star

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #41 on: November 29, 2011, 10:48:18 AM »

I think that's a good suggestion for folks who want to try HDR (and have LR). That's the first thing I used when I began to play with HDR. It has it's limitations, but it's a good (and inexpensive) place to start.



LR/Enfuse http://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/lrenfuse.php

Exposure blending software, is donation-ware (cheap) plugin operates in Lightroom. No nasty HDR effects.

Highly recommend.
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dr croubie

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #42 on: November 29, 2011, 06:11:28 PM »
I've been playing around with HDR for the last few days, I found some shots in my collection that i'd taken at +-1/3EV for the purpose of choosing the best exposed one. But now I thought I'd just HDR the brackets anyway.

I'm a Linux user, so all my software is 100% free, some of it you may be able to get for win/mac.
- Hugin Panorama Creator, it can auto-align but I prefer manually, it can output both HDR stacks and panoramae, in TIFF and EXR. This program has a lot of quirks sometimes (like the tendency to vignette all photos to a tiny spot and blow-out the barrel-distortion to a balloon), i've found out how to get around them all quickly, hit me up if anyone needs tips.
- Luminance HDR. This program can create HDRs from tripod-mounted bracketed scenes, but can't do panoramae, even differences in framing handheld it struggles with sometimes, so I tend to stitch everything into EXR using Hugin.
But it tonemaps nicely, the beauty is that you can choose the size to do, so I create a lot of 500x300 sized previews until I get the colours right, then do a full 18MP version once. It's also got a huge selection of different algorithms to use, some look a lot better than others in different situations.
(My biggest gripe with this program is that it uses only 1-core cpu power at once, so my hex-core PhenomII is being wasted a bit, tone-mapping a full-res scene can take 10-15 minutes or more, which would be 2-3 minutes if it used all 6 cores). It's recently started doing a weird thing, sometimes it tone-maps to an entirely black-scene, not sure if that's a problem with the scene or the input file though.

Anyway, here's one of my efforts from last night. Luminance (or Hugin) also doesn't handle blowouts well, the top-left corner turned into weird colours, I'm trying to fix it by masking out the blowouts in the +EV shots going into the Hugin-stitched file, but i'll share it anyway...

Also, two 50% crops from another shot, both tone-mapped from the same EXR file. The single difference between the two shots is the "detail" setting on the first is 30, whereas on the second it's set to 1. This is the difference between what I'd call "fake looking" or "bad HDR" and something that I'd print big. I'm still not 100% happy with any of the different version I've made so far, but my favourite is the detail=1 version (until I make new versions).
<edit, I'm also adding in the houseboat again, this time the darkest shot from the 3 input bracketed shots, to show what it looks like in a "normal" photo.>
« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 06:17:12 PM by dr croubie »
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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #42 on: November 29, 2011, 06:11:28 PM »

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #43 on: November 30, 2011, 11:40:54 AM »
Got your point... there's something not right with them, the non-HDR version with less overall detail looks less fatiguing. I see some camera shake blur reflected in the HDR versions too...

So we understand that it is not only the painterly effect but also the blur effect that goes against HDr, however, I still think done right it has it's merits.
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Caps18

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #44 on: November 30, 2011, 03:10:02 PM »
I like that my iPhone 4S has the ability to do HDR.  I wish the 5DM2 could do HDR in camera.  Instant panoramas would be nice too.

I like the HDR images when it makes things look more like reality.  The problem is I have pictures at different exposures, and when I get around to post-processing months later, I don't know if it is a bad image or something I took on purpose.

There have been some pictures that I could not have taken without different exposures.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2011, 06:27:23 PM by Caps18 »
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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #44 on: November 30, 2011, 03:10:02 PM »