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Thread: Trying out HDR

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    iPhillip's Avatar
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    Trying out HDR

    Over the past few weeks of holidays I've been trying to get a good HDR shot, but I haven't been able to be successful in this venture, I've trying several attempts but have failed miserably (sometimes there's excessive noise or Halo artifacts or sometimes they just look plain washed out) I'm using Photomatix Pro 3.0 and have PS CS4..

    The attached images are my latest attempts, If any of you have some hints or see anything I'm doing distinctly wrong help is much appreciated. I've looked through some tutorials here but they haven't put me on the right track, maybe one of you guys can

    sunset-vertical.jpg

    sunset.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by iPhillip; 25th January 2009 at 05:14 AM.

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    don't look like a hdr image, foreground is to dark
    do you have the original 3 images, so I can try if you want to

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    Like Vandenberg said, it doesn't quite look like an HDR image,
    but somehow I really like the composition and colours.
    You made some great result out of the golden hour;
    If you have the multiple exposure images, they have some great potential; I'd like to give it a shot too; try to merge them into HDR see how it turns out.
    PM me if you don't mind sending me the files
    Last edited by McQ; 13th November 2010 at 08:16 PM.

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    Phillip - I agree with Vandenberg, neither of these shots seems to have the characteristics of an HDR image. Post the originals and we can have a go at creating HDR versions.

    Cheers

    David
    Last edited by McQ; 13th November 2010 at 08:16 PM.

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    Phillip,
    I said that you looked at the HDR tutorial here and I didn't help you;
    personally, the HDR-tutorial page here is the first that got me interested in HDR and made me read search further.
    I suggest you to take a look around the web, there are tons of article explaning HDR photography in details.
    Here's a good step by step tutorial, it helped me a lot to get started last year on my compact camera:
    (it uses Photoshop instead of Photomatix, you should give it a try)
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/hdr.shtml

    Hope this helps,
    don't hesitate to post further tests!

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    or try this video from kelby training

    http://www.kelbytraining.com/player/index.html#150

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    Cheers guys, Originally I used 5 brackets for this shot. In RAW which makes each shot around about 16mb. I'm going to have fun with my connnection if I want to upload that

    I don't know maybe I'm underexposing the shots? I'll take a look at those tutorials and see how it goes.

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    You could just upload the hdr file before it's tonemapped (like in openEXR) and zip it up. I've experienced the washed out thing and am yet to get an HDR image I'm truly happy with. I'm very new too HDR photography and suspected the washed out effect is a necessary evil due to tonemapping but found adjusting curves adds contrast again. If there is a way of avoiding this I too would like to know.

    One thing I have found from experimenting (which I'm still in the early stages of) is I only need to use 2 (or sometimes 3) exposures to get same effect. I take one with capturing highlight/far right (not politically ) detail in mind and one to get all the shadow detail and expose for that. I also take one for the mids. I have taken a number of exposures in various situations and later tried different ones out. 2 images selected from those that have perfect shadow and perfect highlight detail seem to give an equal or better result to using images captured between these ranges as well. In fact the more images seem to add nothing or to actual degrade the output.

    Maybe it's not standard to do this or others know why you shouldn't but I've found 5 images might not be necessary if you can capture the whole range in 2 or 3. For me it seemed to be a step in the right direction.

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    Quote Originally Posted by nocturne View Post
    You could just upload the hdr file before it's tonemapped (like in openEXR) and zip it up. I've experienced the washed out thing and am yet to get an HDR image I'm truly happy with. I'm very new too HDR photography and suspected the washed out effect is a necessary evil due to tonemapping but found adjusting curves adds contrast again. If there is a way of avoiding this I too would like to know.

    One thing I have found from experimenting (which I'm still in the early stages of) is I only need to use 2 (or sometimes 3) exposures to get same effect. I take one with capturing highlight/far right (not politically ) detail in mind and one to get all the shadow detail and expose for that. I also take one for the mids. I have taken a number of exposures in various situations and later tried different ones out. 2 images selected from those that have perfect shadow and perfect highlight detail seem to give an equal or better result to using images captured between these ranges as well. In fact the more images seem to add nothing or to actual degrade the output.

    Maybe it's not standard to do this or others know why you shouldn't but I've found 5 images might not be necessary if you can capture the whole range in 2 or 3. For me it seemed to be a step in the right direction.
    I figured out my problem, I didn't understand HDR properly. I was trying expose the single image correctly, not exposing for highlights, shadows, sky and foreground. I was just wasting the 4 extra photos or so. I will try 3 brackets today, but I think 5 brackets could be better in certain circumstances when you can't get all the detail exposed correctly in just 3 shots.

    I will try again today with my mind set on getting it right

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    I Have Gone tryed again with your comments in mind and tutorials as well.

    These are my results, its a windy day here so there is some ghosting artifacts. I didn't re-sharpen it when I down sized it so its not quite what I'd like it to be.

    Trying out HDR

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    Yup,
    We can definitely see some HDR features here. All the shadow and hightlight details are obvious.
    As for the ghosting problem, if its not too hard, Photomatix is pretty good at eliminating ghosting with it's mouvement compensation option (don't remember exactly what it's called)

    I like the way you conserved the 'photorealistic' look instead of making it 'painting' like. But I guess it still depends on the circumstances

    Glad you've figured the cause of the problems!

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyrize View Post
    Yup,
    We can definitely see some HDR features here. All the shadow and hightlight details are obvious.
    As for the ghosting problem, if its not too hard, Photomatix is pretty good at eliminating ghosting with it's mouvement compensation option (don't remember exactly what it's called)

    I like the way you conserved the 'photorealistic' look instead of making it 'painting' like. But I guess it still depends on the circumstances

    Glad you've figured the cause of the problems!
    I'm glad I've finally got what its means to make a HDR photo

    This was just Quick snapshot, I wasn't even using a tripod

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    In my opinion you really don't need 5 shots, the visible difference between an HDR with 3 stops, and one with 5 is minimal.
    3 shots will get you a very reasonably range, as nocturne said, the 3 important parts are covered - high mid and low.
    In fact I find that if I use too many shots the result can become very unrealistic, and the image tends to lose its artistic edge ( exposure too perfect / unreal ).

    [Mod Note: I've moved subsequent posts concerning Spaticle's images to a new thread in the Post-Processing forum]
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 29th January 2009 at 06:22 AM. Reason: Thread split - subsequent posts can be found in a new thread in the Post Processing Forum

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    Quote Originally Posted by iPhillip View Post
    The attached images are my latest attempts, If any of you have some hints or see anything I'm doing distinctly wrong help is much appreciated. I've looked through some tutorials here but they haven't put me on the right track, maybe one of you guys can :)
    Hi Phillip,

    The problem isn't in your HDR convertion - it's in your normal processing. With shots like this you have to get agressive with contrast / saturation / vibrance etc - here's a 2 minute hatchett job to show you what I mean - it could be improved a lot more with additional working of the red / orange / yellow channels.

    Trying out HDR

    You're also zoomed in a little too much for this kind of shot - the colours are transitioning over too much of the image for the shot to look it's best (the ideal is to appreciate the orange glow in the context of the rest of the picture, whereas in this shot it pretty much IS the picture).
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 29th January 2009 at 02:50 AM.

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    Thanks Colin, I was using my Sigma Zoom lens at the time so really I was seeing what I could make out of it, and I didn't want to go away empty handed. I did take some other photos but because they aren't HDR they haven't been posted.

    The sun was actually setting on a 90 degree angle to this shot, it was quite superb maybe if I had waiting a couple of minutes longer a could've gotten a less dominating shot of the glow.

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    You're welcome.

    To be honest, I wouldn't have thought that you'd have needed HDR techniques for that image (I do lot like that and I don't need to use HDR). HDR is really only applicable in situations like this when you want to protect shadow detail - if the shadow "detail" is nothing more than silhouette, then it really doesn't matter what happens to it - so if you have something wider - in RAW - and not blown then it's probably useable.

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    Heres one of the Not HDR images from that night, its more open so you may like it.

    Trying out HDR
    Last edited by McQ; 14th February 2010 at 06:52 AM. Reason: removed broken link

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    I like the basic colours, but the "trick" is to get these in conjunction with a "less generic composition" eg ...

    Trying out HDR

    or ...

    Trying out HDR

    Both of which used GND filters by the way. To be honest, I think you're probably better off taking a couple of bracketed shots and masking them (per digital GND) then you are trying to achieve the classic sunrise or sunset via HDR.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 29th January 2009 at 10:46 PM.

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    Thanks again Colin, I went round to Matts today, and hes shown me a few tricks such as masking. Which to be honest I've used for other things but never really thought I could apply it to post processing photos.
    Last edited by iPhillip; 30th January 2009 at 09:54 AM.

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    Re: Trying out HDR

    Quote Originally Posted by iPhillip View Post
    I've been round at Matts today, and hse shown me a few tricks such as masking. Which to be honest I've used for other things but never really thought I could apply it to post processing photos.
    It's really easy to fake a GND filter using them - you simply stack 2 identical compositions with different exposures, and then paint a soft-edged mask to reveal only the good bits of both. Personally I still like to try and get it right in camera using filters, but if you get your transition zones right then doing it digitally is also very effective.

    If you're interested, you'd probably get some serious benefit out of Scott Kelby's 7-Point system book - it's got lots and lots and lots more lots of examples of using masks and other valuable tools.

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