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Thread: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

  1. #1

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    Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    Forum Members,

    I have posted a couple days back under the new members section. I start a new thread here with more specific questions.

    I have traveled to London recently and shot the The Palace of Westminster, the Clock Tower and Westminster Bridge at dusk.

    I am trying now to find my style with HDR tone mapping and am open to both the real and the hyperreal presentations of the pixels. At this junction I am leaning more to the realistic perspective with color saturation punched up just a bit.

    First a list of my equipment.

    Equipment: Canon Rebel T1i Camera with Canon EFS 18-135 mm zoom and Canon EF 70-200 mm zoom lenses.


    I am for the most part trying to follow the methods projected in the following two books.

    1) “A World in HDR” by Trey Ratcliff
    2) “Practical HDR: A Complete Guide to Creating High Dynamic Range Images with Your Digital SLR” by David Nightingale

    The example I share here is bracketed at 0, 2, -2 EV settings.

    The image montage that I share here covers 6 images. The first three are for the source images and the last three are for the tonemapped images.

    Note that I used both Photomatix Pro and HDR Tools to process the images.

    The second book above which has more technical depth suggests that HDR Tools may generate more realistic images. In my initial attempts, this seems to be my experience too, although I admit I am just getting the hang of things.

    For the HDR Tools I have included two entries, the last image in the sequence creating what I felt were more realistic colors and hues.


    I have just created a photo gallery that can be accessed at the following URL:
    http://gallery.me.com/jtmcdevitt

    One of the albums here is entitled "HDR source files". The folder includes both the Cannon RAW images as well as JPEG files.

    The direct link to this album can be found at:

    https://www.me.com/gallery/#100195



    What I am hoping to secure from the forum are suggestions for how I might tweek the process.

    Is this a good case for HDR?

    I have not attempted to manage the noise. Do you see regions in the image that need this treatment.

    I would love to see how a more experienced used would process this image. A better target goal will provide me motivation to further my skills in processing.

    Bottom line is I need a little advice and welcome comments and suggestions.

    Thanks a bunch, John T
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2

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    Have a guess :)

    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    Hi John,

    My initial impression is that probably just a little work with a RAW converter with the "0" RAW version will probably be just fine, but (a) I can't find the CR2 file in the first link, and the 2nd requires a login ... so can't to any more for you at this stage I'm afraid.

  3. #3
    David's Avatar
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    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    Hi John - Detailed and complex questions to answer simply. If you are after photo-realism how about:

    Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice



    I copied the files from http://gallery.me.com/jtmcdevitt as the originals are probably in the password protected area. I used Picturenaut (free and very good in its own way) and what is called the adaptive algorithm for tone-mapping. I then tweaked the image in the Gimp to straighten the perspective, lighten the buildings and sharpen.

    Nightingale's book is very good; I'm currently working my way through it. Although I have been practising HDR for a couple of years and thought I knew something about it, Nightingale's comments and techniques are worth following. You mention noise, and he has some things to say about that, notably to use more than the "standard" three shots. He seems to go for 5 or 7 at 1 stop intervals. Also, note what he says about the brightest exposure being such that the shadows are really well into what we would call the mid-tone range of the histogram. However, the whole business of noise in tone-mapped HDR images is very complex.

    Anyway, these are just quick thoughts and responses to your probing post.

    Cheers

    David
    Last edited by David; 22nd June 2010 at 06:48 AM. Reason: problem with image; now two!

  4. #4

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    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    Colin,

    Thanks for taking a look at the albums that I had posted with the original source files. Sorry you had problems getting the files.

    I can set up a dropbox to exchange the files if you like. I have looked at your web site and found an email to send this, but I will wait to see if you can use the information below to get access.

    By the way, you have very nice images on your site. I love the one with the water blurred over and around the rocks. This is a very clever shot and the colors and composition are fantastic.

    Back to the original issue. I have did a little trouble shooting of the mobile me site where my albums are posted and developed two options that may work to provide access as follows:


    Option #1) The album entitled “2) HDR Source Files (jpg)” is located at the following URL:

    https://www.me.com/gallery/#100210

    This as the name implies has only the compressed files (both source files and tonemapped options that I posted with this orginal message, but included here in their full sizes).


    Option #2: The album entitled “1) HDR Source Files (ZIP of CR2 & jpg)” is located at:

    https://www.me.com/gallery/#100195

    This too has both the original source files and the processed ones. However, here included are both the RAW files and the jpg packaged as a compressed ZIP folder.

    Both of these albums have been set up as public folders without need for password. There may be compatibility problems that prevent the download from the second option.

    Thanks again for your comments.

  5. #5

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    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    David,

    Thanks a bunch for the comments and suggestions.

    Unfortunately, I read the books from Trey Ratcliff and David Nightingale after taking these images. Thus, I can not add in the additional images now to reduce the noise. I will keep this in mind for future shots.

    Just curious if you see any major noise issues in the image as you processed it?

    On a second but related theme, I find it difficult at this point to communicate what my HDR style is. Part of my trouble here is that I do not yet have a full understanding of the language to describe the various styles. Like French impressionism, each artist had their own distinct style.

    In my recent reading I have found different styles described, but like a white light, there is a whole spectrum of options that are spread out here and serve to define the techniques.

    In a rainbow, we can point to red, green, blue but this is only a crude description of color. Or more precisely scientifically we can break down colors to very specific wavelengths. I guess my point here is that I am looking for the language and the method to describe the end point of the style.

    Some options I suppose may include the following:

    1) cartoon (over the top)

    2) hyper real (photo realistic, but with boosted saturation and punched colors)

    3) photorealistic (what you saw at the site)

    Are there any other major categories missing?

    Like in Monet's case where he painted the haystacks many times under different light conditions, I am hoping to explore how other artists see these images and how they would process them without the restrictions I may have imposed in my original posting.

    There are indeed many variables like software and choices of parameters, followup processing, etc.

    In any event, I appreciate your comments and getting this started.

    I hope to better learn the language and see what other artists see as I work to define my own style.

    Thanks again, John

  6. #6
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    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    Pushing the limits of HDR. I shot this with the Nikon P90 jpeg format, converted to TIFF for three exposures, used FDRTools to tonemap, and processed with Photoshop Elements 8.

    Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

  7. #7

    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    Hi John
    this conversion was done using Photomatrix pro if you require more info on using this software go to photomatrix help/ online help it has some very good tutorials

    Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    John

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    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    John W - Looks good. This is what I would class as a photorealistic image from HDR and tone-mapping. Yet another Scotsman leading the way!

    Cheers

    David

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    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by David View Post
    Hi John - Detailed and complex questions to answer simply. If you are after photo-realism how about:

    Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice



    I copied the files from http://gallery.me.com/jtmcdevitt as the originals are probably in the password protected area. I used Picturenaut (free and very good in its own way) and what is called the adaptive algorithm for tone-mapping. I then tweaked the image in the Gimp to straighten the perspective, lighten the buildings and sharpen.

    Nightingale's book is very good; I'm currently working my way through it. Although I have been practising HDR for a couple of years and thought I knew something about it, Nightingale's comments and techniques are worth following. You mention noise, and he has some things to say about that, notably to use more than the "standard" three shots. He seems to go for 5 or 7 at 1 stop intervals. Also, note what he says about the brightest exposure being such that the shadows are really well into what we would call the mid-tone range of the histogram. However, the whole business of noise in tone-mapped HDR images is very complex.

    Anyway, these are just quick thoughts and responses to your probing post.

    Cheers

    David
    I used to work it out all by myself; hardly reading anything and came up with a formula where I started with a dark image and just kept doubling light until the low tones became mid tones.
    Then I discovered I could just set the camera to -2,0,2 ev and became lazy, and now you say I was right all along. I'm so used to setting exposure by choosing the brightest thing and over exposing it by 1+2/3 ev then checking for blinkies that it is actually hard for me to choose the -2 ev start point.
    For instance in a recent shot of a signal box I set the brightest window at 1+2/3 ev over exposed and got 1/2500 at f4 but then forgot to set 1/625 or close.
    Should blinkies be flashing or is it better to play safe?

  10. #10

    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    Here's my contribution. I loaded the properly exposed RAW file (the 0 EV CR2) into DXO, selected the HDR preset (this reduces global contrast and bumps up local contrast). This is the result. I personally think it looks very realistic and doesn't have the look typically associated with HDR.

  11. #11

    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    I feel very good idea.
    here is your picture SNS-HDR Lite processed and final adjustments in Photoshop:

    Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    and here another version more careful. Previously I have corrected the color temperature in Lightroom and I exported the photos to tiff, and then I merged with HDR SNS Lite. The postprocessing is with Photoshop

    Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    HDR is the essence of the resulting color, if we can correct it with precision, we get a much more natural
    Last edited by alvarito; 17th July 2010 at 12:01 PM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by alvarito View Post
    Here is your picture SNS-HDR Lite processed and final adjustments in Photoshop:

    Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    and here another version more careful. Previously I have corrected the color temperature in Lightroom and I exported the photos to tiff, and then I merged with HDR SNS Lite. The postprocessing is with Photoshop

    Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    HDR is the essence of the resulting color, if we can correct it with precision, we get a much more natural
    Hi Francisco,

    I prefer your 'careful' (second) version of all in this thread, it addresses all of the problems in the capture; e.g. WB, flare, perspective, etc. and looks brilliant at the 1,600px × 1,087px you posted (even though it means I have to scroll around it on my small screen).

    Thanks,

  13. #13
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    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    The second one is possibly the best pic of that dump I've ever seen. How did you get the birds in it and so sharp?

  14. #14

    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    SNS-HDR Pro 1.2.0
    Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

  15. #15

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    Re: Comparison of Various HDR Modes: Newbie Seeks Advice

    Very Nice. Thanks for the suggestions.

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