Are you asking if we think this image has a high dynamic range, or whether it has been processed using one or other of these processes that take several images and blend them together?
It certainly isn't HDR now because it's impossible to display an HDR image on a standard monitor, but no way of knowing if it was originally a HDR scene.
My question was, partly, based on ignorance, because I don't use any of that specilaist software to blend images.
But, more than that, to my way of thinking. I still do not undertand this notion of 'an HDR image' To me a photograph is a photograph, is a photograph.
By what process a person gets it to its final state is irrelevant. The photographs are not, to my way of thinking, HDR. The scene that is captured may be an HDR scene. And several images might be required to be blended together in order to make an accurate and artistically pleasing photographic representation of that scene. The final product is still 'just' a photograph.
So, I do not understand what people mean when they speak about an 'HDR Image'. To me there is a realistic representation of the scene or there is one of those photographs, of which I am not a fan, that is very obviously a blend of a number of images made by one of the specialist software products.
My opinions may flow against the tide of accepted interpretation of what is meant by the term HDR, for which I do not apologise!
Last edited by Donald; 12th August 2010 at 12:14 PM.
For me, the answer to your question is yes, it does look like it has undergone processing to obtain a greater dynamic range. I must admit I also struggle with this concept. It seems to be based on the idea that the camera cannot capture (in one shot) the same dynamic range that the human eye is technically capable of registering. However, from a purely artistic point of view this is irrelevant since replication of the human visual function is rarely the aim. It is the stimulation provided to provoke interpretation by the mind that makes an image interesting.
To me, at best these "HDR" images provide a replication that is so 'correct' that our minds see them as artificial. This is because our brains are used to subconsciously filling in the blanks of the "imperfect" imagery that we encounter every day. That function creates a reaction that will, to a lesser or greater extent, provide a stimulation. The greater the stimulation the more successful the image. That is why impressionism, cubism etc are so successful in painting. Filling in the blanks is a natural function of the brain and is required to operate or even survive in conditions of poor light, poor operation of the eye or extreme weather. It is a survival reflex and as such creates a pleasing or distressing sensation.
HDR imagery on the other hand is alien to the eye in its everyday function. That is why, whilst technically supplying a high dynamic range they are interpreted as false in most human brains. It is presenting the brain with something that is outside of its normal operating envelope. The result is an image that at best looks like a screen capture from a HD video game and at worst like something painted on a Hells Angels motorcycle helmet. In other words our technological advancement has enabled us to create a technically correct series of algorithms that our brains are to clever to accept. If we lived in a world of 'HDR' images our brains would evolve and adapt but I expect that is the point when art would cease to function as a stimulant and that would be sad.
Last edited by Wirefox; 12th August 2010 at 07:34 PM.
HDI refers to the dynamic range of the original scene to be captured (and the ensuing techniques that are used to capture it), not the resultant image. What pops out the other end is ALWAYS low dynamic range. Case in point - if we examine any jpeg image here in the site (be it "HDR" or otherwise), the lowest pixel value we'll see is 0 (black), and the highest is 255 (white) - so the dynamic range of ALL images displayed ends up pretty much the same.
99.9999% of monitors in the world today can only display an effective dynamic range of around 6 stops (still more than paper which is around 4 stops), but there is no way a monitor could display the full 13 or more stops that would be contained in a true HDR image, so when we create an HDR image the only time it's truely HDR is when it's in the memory of the computer as an "electrical model"; as soon as we display or print it compression & tone mapping have already been applied.
I wrote an article about this some time ago that you might find interesting.
By the way, excellent job on your image ... 99.99% if images produced with Photomatix are brutally over-processed - almost to the point of association in my mind where I see a grossly over-saturated / over-sharpened HRD image I think of it as being "Photomatixed".
I expect this is the technical reason why we see something that is manufactured. If we were to see the image on an screen capable of the full range our brains would accept the image as true. It sort of begs the question of the point of it all reallyHDI refers to the dynamic range of the original scene to be captured (and the ensuing techniques that are used to capture it), not the resultant image. What pops out the other end is ALWAYS low dynamic range.
Donald, Steve and Colin:
I´ve been carefully reading all your comments. The way used to explain the reasons why our brains use to generally consider HDR's unreal is really very interesting. Actually, I never thought about it that way.... your arguments make a lot of sense! Moreover, I'm becoming more and more bored of seeing some weird imagery which is taking away the art from photography.
Thanks for all the input.