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Thread: HDR - View of North Wales

  1. #1
    RockNGoalStar's Avatar
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    HDR - View of North Wales

    Hi All,

    Would love some C&C for this image. It is a 3 shot HDR processed in CS5.

    Nikon D90 | Sigma 10-20mm @ 10mm | f/11 | ISO 200

    HDR - View of North Wales

    Thanks for looking and thanks in advance for your thoughts.


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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    I'm not really a fan of HDR, but in this case I think you did very well. It's not gaudy, rather done very tastefully. Excellent job. The only critique I would give is that there is no real focal point. There is just so much going on, it's hard to realize what the viewer should be looking at. I'm sure others will give you a much better crit and pick out all of the missing details.

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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Nice pretty natural look. Bit on the dark side though.

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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Looks good, I like HDR landscapes, especially when clouds are involved.
    My only comment is perhaps it needs a little de-saturation on the yellow channel...

    May I ask - why you shot at ISO200 - was it windy?

    I would like to see the original 0EV image for comparison, if possible.

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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Hi Tommy,

    I like the sky and clouds treatment, plus the shadows in distant left landscape, but the closer you get to the camera, the more it goes 'unnatural' for me. The wall and grasses in right foreground are the biggest problem for me.

    I do wonder if some of it is just an over zealous final sharpen?

    I actually quite like the composition, the eye can wander around at will, wall, clouds, trees, clouds, their shadows, fields, back to wall, etc.

  6. #6

    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    What a lovely, brisk view! I mean, really lovely! Very pastoral and natural....except that....the light on the scene looks really strange to me - it even looks to me, at the front of the wall, nearest to us, like you used your flash. maybe, for the reasons that Dave suggested? It seems that, with such a countryside scene, the light shouldn't feel manufactured (unless you're making a sarcastic commentary?) So...., Tommy, I'm not used to HDR and I certainly don't know everything! I'm just kind of giving you an honest impression. In other words,... what in the world do I know?

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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Hi Tommy and welcome to the wonderful world of HDR! I'm going to assume that you are looking for HDR specific feedback.

    One of the typical issues with daylight HDR is the way the tonemapping process can make clouds on a bright day look very dark, even black at times. I would use layers and masking to blend back in some of clouds from the best image of the three to lighten the dark cloud centers.

    Another common issue is the tendency to get unrealistically intense foliage. In almost every case I find that I need to blend back in 'some' of the original green to make it look more natural.

    Where the tops of the trees are against the sky they tend to be dark and often have halos in the sky. Correcting this can be tricky because you are trying to lighten the branch tips right where you also want to darken the sky. Again, some very delicate blending with the most appropriate original can help. In some cases it is helpful to apply an adjustment layer for Brightness/Contrast and play with the setting to get the best level match before you do the blending. Fortunately, everything is un-doable if the attempt is less than satisfactory on the first or second try.

    When I process HDR, my goal is to get folks to say 'Oh, Wow' without realizing that there was any HDR processing involved. You can sometimes turn a fairly ordinary image into spectacular one with the judicious use of HDR techniques. Hope this helps!

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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Hello, Tommy. I like the shot, a very nice scenery indeed. As with the previous comments, I have to agree with Chris when he said: "The only critique I would give is that there is no real focal point. There is just so much going on, it's hard to realize what the viewer should be looking at." Having everything sharp and with outstanding details, it's very hard for the eyes to find a strong focus point. If you may entertain my opinion, if this is my shot, I'd probably recommend these adjustments:

    1. Make the meadows my main focus point. I would brighten up the field and retain its sharpness so even if the eyes would wander to see all the detail on your image, the viewer's eyes will keep on coming back to that area.

    2. Using a reverse clarity adjustment on the image, I will apply a negative clarity on the foreground and the clouds to make it softer compared to the main subject I chose. This would soften the foreground grass and the shadow part of the half-wall giving a distinction as to where is the foreground and where is the middleground.

    3. I would apply a very subtle layer of vignette to further enhance the emphasis on the green fields. If you may, something like this:

    HDR - View of North Wales

    Just my own spin on the image, Tommy so pardon the edit.

  9. #9
    RockNGoalStar's Avatar
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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Many thanks to all of you for your helpful comments and feedback. I was quite overwhelmed when I woke up this morning to see how many of you had posted.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCard View Post
    May I ask - why you shot at ISO200 - was it windy?

    I would like to see the original 0EV image for comparison, if possible.
    Hey Rob, here is the 'straight out of the camera' 0EV JPEG. I shot at ISO 200 as that is the lowest the D90 will go...

    HDR - View of North Wales

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I like the sky and clouds treatment, plus the shadows in distant left landscape, but the closer you get to the camera, the more it goes 'unnatural' for me. The wall and grasses in right foreground are the biggest problem for me.

    I do wonder if some of it is just an over zealous final sharpen?
    Thanks Dave. Yeah I do have this tendency to go overboard with the old sharpening... I'll bear that in mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I actually quite like the composition, the eye can wander around at will, wall, clouds, trees, clouds, their shadows, fields, back to wall, etc.
    Thanks Dave, that's what I liked about the scene too

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    What a lovely, brisk view! I mean, really lovely! Very pastoral and natural....except that....the light on the scene looks really strange to me - it even looks to me, at the front of the wall, nearest to us, like you used your flash. maybe, for the reasons that Dave suggested? It seems that, with such a countryside scene, the light shouldn't feel manufactured (unless you're making a sarcastic commentary?) So...., Tommy, I'm not used to HDR and I certainly don't know everything! I'm just kind of giving you an honest impression. In other words,... what in the world do I know?
    Thanks Katy I like honesty and I am grateful for your comments. It's good to get an opinion or two off some people who are 'not used to HDR'. Your comments are as useful as those from an 'HDR pro' giving me advice on my conversion beacause you are looking at it more objectively. So thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    One of the typical issues with daylight HDR is the way the tonemapping process can make clouds on a bright day look very dark, even black at times. I would use layers and masking to blend back in some of clouds from the best image of the three to lighten the dark cloud centers.
    Thanks for your post Frank. I do quite like this aspect of daylight HDR images, however I do agree with you that you can go 'over the top' with it sometimes. Perhaps I did here with the Burn Tool. I manually darkened some areas of the clouds after the conversion. I am going to take on board your comments, and everyone else's, and redo the whole processing of this image later. Cheers

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    Hello, Tommy. I like the shot, a very nice scenery indeed. As with the previous comments, I have to agree with Chris when he said: "The only critique I would give is that there is no real focal point. There is just so much going on, it's hard to realize what the viewer should be looking at."
    Thanks Willie! This is a view from a bench that was put there in memory of a family friend who sadly died of cancer at the age of 36 a couple of years ago. It is on the hill just behind my family home in N Wales. Now living in Central London I want a sort of window into North Wales hanging on my wall. A familiar sight with which I can easily connect. I used to walk the dog past here every day. So from my point of view I don't think I necessarily need a strong focal point in this particular image. My wife has just pointed out that this is a massively subjective viewpoint and she agrees that the image needs to appeal to a wider audience than just the photographer! So maybe you're right and I need to rethink the composition / focus point.

    I like what you have done with the image and I am certainly drawn towards the fields in the middle ground as more of a focus. So thank you for offering that as a suggestion.


    As I said earlier, I will take on board everyone's comments about what you like / dislike and use some of the constructive PP advice you've given and try to redo this.

    Thanks everyone!

  10. #10
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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Just a further thought Tommy - I too like your shot, and like HDR in landscapes when used sensitively. I'm passing on what I found myself a while back - in the world 'out there', the sky is going to be lighter than the ground. If you make the sky darker than the ground, its going to look like a special effect - which you might want, but then again you might not. So, in your straight out of the camera shot, the blue of the sky is lighter than the green of the landscape. In your HDR version, its darker. On the other hand, if you make everything look entirely natural, it makes HDR a bit redundant, doesn't it?! All depends on what effect you want.

    best wishes

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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    How's this for "straight out of ACR" by comparison?

    HDR - View of North Wales

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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    I had a quick and I mean quick go on the jpeg with Topaz; just to see if the HDR is better, and I suppose it is.

    HDR - View of North Wales

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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Just another thought; I would have the 0EV as my base shot eg ; 0EV, 2EV, 4EV ect.

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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Thanks Colin and Steve for your attempts. Not sure how you managed to do an HDR from one single JPEG though For mine I used -1.3EV, 0EV, +1.3EV. I think I need to have another go and tone it down a little.

    What is the best HDR software out there? Is it Photomatix? CS5? I like HDR's that don't look too 'fake' and over-processed...

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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Hi Tommy,

    Quote Originally Posted by RockNGoalStar View Post
    Thanks Colin and Steve for your attempts.
    You're welcome

    Not sure how you managed to do an HDR from one single JPEG though
    Who did (now I'm confused) - HDR from a single exposure can't be done; it's impossible.

    For mine I used -1.3EV, 0EV, +1.3EV. I think I need to have another go and tone it down a little.
    Don't confuse tone mapping with HDR - they may often be used at the same time, but they're two distictly different processes.

    What is the best HDR software out there? Is it Photomatix? CS5? I like HDR's that don't look too 'fake' and over-processed...
    HDR isn't a "look" - it's a set of techniques for capturing a scene when the dynamic range of that scene is too great to be captured in a single exposure -- it's nothing to do with how an image looks (by the time you see it on your screen or in print it's already low dynamic range) (we currently don't have technology commonly available to display or print a true HDR image).

    What many mis-understand to be an "HDR look" is really nothing more than over-saturated - over-sharpened - flat - "kludge"

    It even ranks in at #5 on the Photo Editing Offences list!

    My suggestion is to simply shoot a properly-exposed RAW frame and then use the fill light slider to reveal as much of the 12 or so stops of dynamic range already captured by the sensor (or which the majority is usually discarded).
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 31st August 2011 at 08:57 AM.

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    RockNGoalStar's Avatar
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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Thanks for your reply Colin.

    My understanding of the reasoning behind an HDR image is to combine several images of bracketed exposures in order to capture a scene that has too wide a dynamic range to be captured successfully by my camera with one single exposure. The desired result is to produce an image with no clipping on either extreme of the histogram.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    My suggestion is to simply shoot a properly-exposed RAW frame and then use the fill light slider to reveal as much of the 12 or so stops of dynamic range already captured by the sensor (or which the majority is usually discarded).
    Let me see what I can do with one of the RAW files then, but I have a feeling this particular scene requires the combination of at least 2 images.

    I understand what you are saying about the "HDR Look". Indeed you're description of it being "nothing more than over-saturated - over-sharpened - flat - "kludge" pretty much sums up my first attempt in this post

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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Quote Originally Posted by RockNGoalStar View Post
    Thanks Colin and Steve for your attempts. Not sure how you managed to do an HDR from one single JPEG though For mine I used -1.3EV, 0EV, +1.3EV. I think I need to have another go and tone it down a little.

    What is the best HDR software out there? Is it Photomatix? CS5? I like HDR's that don't look too 'fake' and over-processed...
    I like the colours in the dry stone wall, but I've never seen a wall like it in reality. I didn't do any HDR but I used extreme software where I can colour jump between complementary colours, and control more accurately local contrast, called Topaz Detail and PSE layers.
    I only use Picturenaut for HDR since I hardly ever do it anymore, unless I can lean against something to keep the camera very steady.
    CS5 should be very good for HDR, but there are some new ones http://www.oloneo.com/

  18. #18
    RockNGoalStar's Avatar
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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Quote Originally Posted by RockNGoalStar View Post
    Let me see what I can do with one of the RAW files then, but I have a feeling this particular scene requires the combination of at least 2 images.
    I have just surprised myself in that I can get one properly exposed image from one of the RAW files. Amazing! I just need to inject some contrast into it now...

    ...OMG I am talking to myself!!!

  19. #19
    RockNGoalStar's Avatar
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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    And here it is...

    HDR - View of North Wales

    I'll throw my original in for comparison...

    HDR - View of North Wales

  20. #20
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    Re: HDR - View of North Wales

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    What many mis-understand to be a "HDR look" is really nothing more than over-saturated - over-sharpened - flat - "kludge" .

    It even ranks in at #5 on the Photo Editing Offences list!
    I agree 100%, there are so many example of over-done HDR that it has now been given a bad name, thankfully there are still some good masters of the use of HDR.

    My personal "hero" is this guy on Flickr - here is an example of what "I" like in a HDR here

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    It even ranks in at #5 on the Photo Editing Offences list!
    Here's the first 5 items of that "Photo Editing Offences" list and "my personal rap sheet"

    1. Framing
    The process of putting a few extra pixels and lines around your digital image to add 'impact.'
    Me - GUILTY AS CHARGED

    2. Watermarks
    The needless rape of a photograph because the photographer is big headed enough to believe someone will come and steal his/her photo to profit from it.
    Me - GUILTY AS CHARGED

    3. Selective Colouring
    The process of converting an image to monochrome, but leaving one element coloured, such as a tram, or lady in a red dress.
    Me - GUILT AS CHARGED

    4. The Flood Filter
    A Photoshop plugin introduced a few years ago that everyone went crazy for. Everything for about a year was submerged in perfectly generated rippled water.
    Me - NOT GUILTY

    5. Highly Overprocessed HDR
    The latest new FAD... HDR techniques have been around for over 100 years (Yes they have.) But overprocessed tone mapping nonsense from the likes of Photomatix users are all the rage right now.
    Me - GUILTY with MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES.



    EVIDENCE for the PROSECUTION...

    HDR - View of North Wales

    OUCH that is sharp !

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