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Author Topic: To HDR or Not To HDR  (Read 18257 times)

samthefish

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #45 on: November 30, 2011, 04:21:54 PM »
I'm an "enthusiast" photographer - I only occasionally do paid work, so take this for what it's worth.  I find I get the most praise for photos that have a different "look" from what most people get with their point and shoots, whether it's taken from a different perspective, has more interesting composition, or is manually exposed/focused to achieve a different effect than what the default settings on most cameras give.  As much as I'd like to credit my skill I feel like a lot of it is the photo looks "different" from the bulk of what they see so they really notice it, "see" it, and it seems fresh to them for that reason.

HDR is another thing one can do to make a shot look "different" and perhaps more interesting because of that.

Once HDR gets more and more "common" (and I think it's getting there already) I think the shot won't look as different or interesting.

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #45 on: November 30, 2011, 04:21:54 PM »

dr croubie

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #46 on: November 30, 2011, 05:08:13 PM »
Once HDR gets more and more "common" (and I think it's getting there already) I think the shot won't look as different or interesting.

Yeah, true. I'll admit that i'd never heard of it until i began visiting these and other forums (i'm not the kind of guy that goes through flickr for fun).

If the iphone now does it, there's your recipe for it being overplayed and not too special anymore. The 1DX will also do it in-camera, no?

I'm not sure how well those in-camera ones will go, all of my 3-bracket shots are taken on 7D, High-Speed-Continuous, and even then sometimes the branches on trees are so freakishly out of place that I can't get them merged into a normal photo, with any amount of masking and deghosting algorithms.

Also, it depends on whether the cameras make the .EXR files, or whether they tone-map as well. The 'Manutiuk 06' algorithm that I've been using has settings for PreGamma, Contrast Equalisation on/off, Contrast 0-1, Saturation 0-2, detail 1-100. That's a lot of settings that make every shot look a lot different, and it takes hours of experimentation for me to decide which one looks best. Then there's another 10 or so different algorithms i've never even tried. If in-camera HDRs get tone-mapped as well, I think that's just going to lead to a lot more 'bad' HDR when the user has no input on the final product...
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dr croubie

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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #47 on: December 02, 2011, 02:16:18 AM »
Meanwhile, here's a bit of an example of what I was talking about, the differences between in-camera and lots of PP time. I took my camera down the river the other day when I was in town, took some bracketed shots, and made an HDR out of 6 shots.
(easy way with a 7D where you only get 3-shots in a bracket: Set bracketing to 4/3 stops apart, centre +1/3EV, take shots (so you get -1, +1/3, +5/3), then dial it to -1/3EV and take 3 more shots (so you get -5/3EV, -1/3EV, +1EV), so you 6-shots 2/3 EV apart with only 2 clicks of the RC-6 and once turning the dial 2-steps, so minimal chance of bumping the tripod (expecially important because I was using the gorillapod in about 30-knot winds).

Anyway, have a look at the attached.
First shot is a 50% crop using all 6 frames unaltered. Look at the noise in the darker parts, like the window.
Second shot, I've masked the dark bottom-half around the tree-balcony line, for the darkest shot (and masked out the bright sky from the brightest shot but you can't see that here).
Third shot, I've masked out the dark-half from the second-darkest image as well. Look how much better it looks, there's even a cable hanging from the ceiling inside the building you couldn't even see from the first two shots.
And 4th shot, the entire scene. Still has that 'fake HDR' look to it, but by changing a few more variables it might get better-looking. (extra points if you recognise the buildings and can guess where i live).

Basically, my point is that it took a lot of work over a few hours just to get this far, and i'm still not happy. Whether it's the fault of Hugin that is introducing the noise from the darkest shots in the dark-areas or what, I don't know. But I doubt that any automated-program or in-camera settings can get anywhere near this with no user input, at least for now...
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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #48 on: December 02, 2011, 09:21:52 AM »
Did you do a graduated exposure filt to the right of the frame? Looks very dark and a bit distracting. I agree with you it needs some work, but it also has potential... good footage to work with. The lead in lines have potential... I wonder if it is the modern architecture clashing with traditional in the background that is contributing to some of your grief...
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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #49 on: December 02, 2011, 09:45:54 AM »

Basically, my point is that it took a lot of work over a few hours just to get this far, and i'm still not happy. Whether it's the fault of Hugin that is introducing the noise from the darkest shots in the dark-areas or what, I don't know. But I doubt that any automated-program or in-camera settings can get anywhere near this with no user input, at least for now...

Don't know what your preferences are... but I did a quick PP using elements on your last image, using the following tools:

Reversed some darkening gradient effects to the right.
Shadow/ Highlights
Contrast & Brightness

You can do much better with PS/ or even Viveza. Your shot has lots of potential !
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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #50 on: December 02, 2011, 11:57:37 AM »

For those with a real interest in HDR, you might want to take a look at this collaborative work:

http://www.scottfrederickphotoblog.com/2011/11/15/al-capones-cell-hdr-collaboration/

Scott Frederick, a noted HDR specialist, donated the original exposures he made of the Al Capone cell at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia to other folks who wanted to do an HDR treatment. Interesting to see the variations derived. [ Scott's a Nikon shooter if that makes a difference to anyone! ]
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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #51 on: December 04, 2011, 10:31:46 PM »

For those with a real interest in HDR, you might want to take a look at this collaborative work:

http://www.scottfrederickphotoblog.com/2011/11/15/al-capones-cell-hdr-collaboration/

Scott Frederick, a noted HDR specialist, donated the original exposures he made of the Al Capone cell at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia to other folks who wanted to do an HDR treatment. Interesting to see the variations derived. [ Scott's a Nikon shooter if that makes a difference to anyone! ]

I've seen that before, I think Trey Ratcliff from stuckincustoms.com linked it before. Still has that soft fuzzy stoned feeling that all the algorithm based HDR software gives out this always spoils it for me as every image has the "sameness" to it. I have a massive interest in HDR Its just getting away from "that look" granted the look i'm trying to get away from with HDR seems to be the look most HDR enthusiasts are trying to go for.

As an aside for the HDR people reading how do you find number of brackets and the exposure gap to affect the final result. Typically I find taking 5 or 7 images at 1 stop gaps gives the cleanest blend, 2 stop gap and 3 exposures has a higher chance of giving that softened look I have found, I have found the 1Dmk3 seems to capture brackets better than the 5D2 probably a combination of better bracket control and the much higher shutter speed. I have tried magic lantern but its really hit and miss.
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Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« Reply #51 on: December 04, 2011, 10:31:46 PM »