Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: « 1 [2] 3 4 ... 17 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Do you hate HDR too?  (Read 264525 times)
rustyjaw
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 26


« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2008, 06:49:33 PM »
ReplyReply

I used to be quite anti-HDR, but this was mainly due to my own ignorance about the technique. I think everyone who knows the term "HDR" probably associates it to some degree to over-saturated, cartoonish images often riddled with halo-like blobs surrounding areas of contrast. Unfortunately, those images get all the attention because they stand out so much, and eventually a lot of people understandably come to think that just IS what HDR is about.

I started to get a better sense of what is possible using HDR after finding scattered examples here and there, mainly at flickr, of beautiful HDR images. After seeing enough of these, I decided to check it out for myself. I quickly discovered that in one of the HDR tools-of-choice, Photomatix, getting that 'overcooked' look is pretty easy. Some of the sliders (particularly "light smoothing") will instantly make blobby halos in any image. But if one is interested in something more realistic, it's usually quite possible to achieve with a light touch on the controls and some experimentation (at least at first).

I am now a big proponent of the technique, and have spent the last year eagerly learning more about when to use HDR, how to shoot with it in mind, and how to process images. I still find that some shots just won't work no matter what I do in photomatix. I did try Photoshop's HDR function, but was not very happy with the results.

Here are a few of my favorite HDR images:









Logged

[span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']flickr[/span] | [span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']website[/span]
kaelaria
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2228



WWW
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2008, 06:51:58 PM »
ReplyReply

It just gives such a boring, low interest, low contrast look to me - almost a rendered quality.  None of those look interesting to me, especially due to the boring composition.
Logged

DarkPenguin
Guest
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2008, 06:56:06 PM »
ReplyReply

Love the first one.
Logged
rustyjaw
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 26


« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2008, 07:04:14 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
It just gives such a boring, low interest, low contrast look to me - almost a rendered quality. None of those look interesting to me, especially due to the boring composition.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=171368\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Setting aside the composition, I can attest that all of these images actually look more like they did in person than any of the individual exposures does. None of them look exactly like they did to the eye, but that's not possible with any photographic technique. All photos lose some part of the orignal scene that the eye saw, and a compromise is made. Traditionally, one compromise is to simply lose detail in shadows and highlights that were actually visible to the eye. But with HDR and tonemapping, that detail can be preserved (albeit in dynamically compressed form, which is the compromise of HDR).

But because all of us (unless we are very young) have grown up looking at the compromise of more traditional photography, when we see these details in HDRs they look 'fake' - but in fact they are no more fake than the loss of shadow or highlight detail, just different.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 07:09:25 PM by rustyjaw » Logged

[span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']flickr[/span] | [span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']website[/span]
kaelaria
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2228



WWW
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2008, 07:11:52 PM »
ReplyReply

I don't doubt for a second that this is how the scene looked to the eye.  My point is, it's also boring to my eye.  To me, capturing a scene like that, necessitating HDR - doesn't make for a compelling image.  Without contrast - drama - it's just a snapshot to me.
Logged

Gordon Buck
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 409



WWW
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2008, 07:15:13 PM »
ReplyReply

Not speaking to the most recently posted images ...

The "problem" with HDR is not HDR.  The "problem" is in the post processing or tone mapping of the composite HDR image.

On the other hand, it is the tone mapping that can take advantage of the 32bit assembly to create those surreal "HDR" images.

Sometimes I really like the surreal HDR effect.  Looking at the submitted images by rustyjaw, I like the 3rd one.
Logged

bill t.
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2693


WWW
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2008, 07:17:14 PM »
ReplyReply

I shoot a lot of HDR, in moderation it looks realer than real, a good match for the memory pictures recorded in our grey matter.  But tonal reversals, windows darker than interior walls, greyed out skies, and HALOS (aaaargh!!!) drive me nuts.  Andy's stuff I like. great work.  Is that an HDR Ghost standing on the rock?
Logged
rustyjaw
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 26


« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2008, 07:22:41 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
I don't doubt for a second that this is how the scene looked to the eye. My point is, it's also boring to my eye. To me, capturing a scene like that, necessitating HDR - doesn't make for a compelling image. Without contrast - drama - it's just a snapshot to me.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=171376\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

OK, that's fine, I certainly don't expect everyone to dig these images. I was mainly responding to the suggesting that they look like 'renderings' which I took to mean fake.

I'm curious though about what you mean by low-contrast. With the exception of the last one, to my eye these all have a wide range of contrast. Some even have blowouts and pure blacks. So it makes me wonder what you mean by lack of contrast.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 07:24:52 PM by rustyjaw » Logged

[span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']flickr[/span] | [span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']website[/span]
kaelaria
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2228



WWW
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2008, 07:25:37 PM »
ReplyReply

The part that really bugs me, and why they look rendered - is because that is NOT how the scene is perceived when you are actually there.  Yes, each separate part of the scene may look like that.  But that's not how our brain works.  For example on the pier shot: When you are there, looking at the lights - you are not seeing the sky at anything but black.  You are not seeing all the detail at your feet.  You are not seeing the water as if it were afternoon.

Your iris have contracted so you can see the detail in the light area you are looking at, and that's what you get.  Just the same if you were to stare at the ground, water or sky - and let your iris open up to see the detail.  You aren't seeing the details around each light bulb, or on the brightly lit ground - it's washed out in your perifrial vision.

It's like looking at the difference between film, with motion blur and depth of field - and a video newscast, with no motion blur and infinite DOP.  One looks real, the other doesn't.  HDR never looks real to me, and never looks like a good photograph - it always looks manufactured in at least some way.

Our eyes have a wider f-stop range than our cameras, but we certainly can't see everything at once like HDR.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 07:28:13 PM by kaelaria » Logged

kaelaria
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2228



WWW
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2008, 07:26:53 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
I'm curious though about what you mean by low-contrast. With the exception of the last one, to my eye these all have a wide range of contrast. Some even have blowouts and pure blacks. So it makes me wonder what you mean by lack of contrast.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=171381\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


The overall scene may have a wide range of tones, but they aren't next to each other.  No part of the image has a real hard line.
Logged

rustyjaw
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 26


« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2008, 10:05:39 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
The part that really bugs me, and why they look rendered - is because that is NOT how the scene is perceived when you are actually there. Yes, each separate part of the scene may look like that. But that's not how our brain works. For example on the pier shot: When you are there, looking at the lights - you are not seeing the sky at anything but black. You are not seeing all the detail at your feet. You are not seeing the water as if it were afternoon.

Your iris have contracted so you can see the detail in the light area you are looking at, and that's what you get. Just the same if you were to stare at the ground, water or sky - and let your iris open up to see the detail. You aren't seeing the details around each light bulb, or on the brightly lit ground - it's washed out in your perifrial vision.

Yes, you have a point, but the point cuts both ways. When looking at a scene with your eyes, you actually can only see detail at the fovea, something like 5% of the visual field at the center, outside of that it's shocking how little can actually be perceived, color perception included (it falls of rapidly outside the fovea). Everything at that fovea is in focus, DOF is strictly a peripheral phenomenon.

So in every photo a compromise must be made about where to focus that will not match up with the experience of "being there" and DOF will be made explicit, no longer peripheral.

Unless the effect of only seeing detail at the fovea is pointed out, few people ever notice it because the visual system is not a camera, it constructs an impression of a given scene based on a succession of rapid (and unconscious) saccades. It's an automatic process that continuously scans the environment for salient details. The impression does not include portions without any detail (unless conditions are extreme, like looking toward a bright sun or at a bare lightbulb).

I think it is not a distortion to say that people actually "see" well exposed scenes, complete with detail at nearly every point, deep shadows and bright highlights. We certainly see more in a given scene than a single exposure can replicate.

If you prefer to isolate a single saccade, and compare it to a photograph then surely the photo and the saccade will be roughly similar, but no one actually sees this way. In fact it's extremely difficult to consciously override the automatic scanning system, and stare at only a single point (if you've ever taken a vision test you understand). And even in this case, because we only see detail at the very center, I think you'll agree that a photograph of the same scene looks quite different (in part because you can actually look directly at the bokeh).

So the compromise in HDR is simply different, not better, not worse than a single exposure, but different. It is to move toward duplicating the impression of "being there." Focusing on the result of the way the visual system compiles many separate, unconscious glances into a coherent, well-exposed whole. Certainly it departs from the experience by presenting it all at once (and also by compressing the dynamic range from many thousands of bits to just 8 if it's a jpeg), but I really don't think there's a solid argument that this is any deeper a compromise than the one a sinlge exposure makes. And I maintain that we are simply so used to looking at photos where the details that would be seen are not there due to the limitations of the medium, that a well-done HDR is interpreted as "fake" looking by comparison. This tendency has started to fade for me, although it's much easier with my own photos that with others.

All photos represent a compromise when compared to the scene as seen by the brain. in my mind it's just a matter of which sort of compromise you prefer to make.

EDIT: I want to add that I realize HDR isn't appropriate for every scene, even when the goal is to capture the most detail. Part of the learning process for me is finding when to use it and when it's superfluous. I do find that many artificially lit night scenes can be faithfully captured in HDR.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 10:31:44 PM by rustyjaw » Logged

[span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']flickr[/span] | [span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']website[/span]
Eric Myrvaagnes
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8081



WWW
« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2008, 11:28:20 PM »
ReplyReply

For me your third image makes a good case for (careful) use of HDR. I have been very skeptical until now.
Logged

-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
Bradley Proctor
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 150



WWW
« Reply #32 on: February 01, 2008, 02:03:16 AM »
ReplyReply

rustyjaw,

I love your images, they are fantastic.
Logged

amcinroy
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 54


« Reply #33 on: February 01, 2008, 08:34:41 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Is that an HDR Ghost standing on the rock?
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Bill, all is not as it seems.

The HDR ghost was cloned from a 100 year old cigarette card. The person is therefore long desceased is therefore a real photographic ghost.

You might like to read the full story at

[a href=\"http://www.andymcinroy.com/5port.htm]http://www.andymcinroy.com/5port.htm[/url]

Andy
Logged

Andy McInroy Photography
Landscapes of Ireland and Great Britain
http://www.andymcinroy.com
rustyjaw
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 26


« Reply #34 on: February 01, 2008, 10:05:12 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
You might like to read the full story at

http://www.andymcinroy.com/5port.htm

Andy
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=171501\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's cool! Thanks for sharing that.

Quote
rustyjaw,

I love your images, they are fantastic.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=171434\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thank you!
« Last Edit: February 01, 2008, 10:05:59 AM by rustyjaw » Logged

[span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']flickr[/span] | [span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']website[/span]
Tim Gray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2002



WWW
« Reply #35 on: February 01, 2008, 11:53:34 AM »
ReplyReply

I still bracket fairily heavily.  But I'm finding more and more (particularly with the new 14 bit Canons) that as long as I don't blow the highlights, that I'm able to dig an amazing amount of detail out of the shadows.  At least as often as not, when I'm in the field and expect to need to bracket based on what I see from the (jpg based) histogram that when I get back to LR I can get a perfectably acceptable shot with some (admittedly aggressive) use of the recovery and fill light sliders.

If that doesn't give me the quality I want I use a mask (luminosity mask ctrl, alt ~ for the real fidley stuff).  I just don't use the PS HDR method.  Photomatix can look OK with a light touch, but not enough better or easier than masks to warrant paying for it.
Logged
Geoff Wittig
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1017


« Reply #36 on: February 01, 2008, 05:56:45 PM »
ReplyReply

For me there are lots of really interesting sunrise/sunset images that just can't fit within the confines of a 16 bit 'box'. I'm still stumbling my way through some basic HDR techniques, using masks or Photoshop's HDR function, and I'm just starting to try out Photomatix.

I find it a bit frustrating that I can't really visualize what's going to happen with the image as I work it, at least not like I can tell ahead of time how a 'standard' capture will turn out with a bit of massaging. A few complex stitched + HDR images have turned out beautifully, while others are just dead on arrival. Sort of feels like 20 years ago when I was first shooting K64, and every yellow box was full of surprises because I had no idea what the hell I was doing.

'Course, it's probably just me.
Logged
rustyjaw
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 26


« Reply #37 on: February 01, 2008, 06:32:57 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
For me there are lots of really interesting sunrise/sunset images that just can't fit within the confines of a 16 bit 'box'. I'm still stumbling my way through some basic HDR techniques, using masks or Photoshop's HDR function, and I'm just starting to try out Photomatix.

I find it a bit frustrating that I can't really visualize what's going to happen with the image as I work it, at least not like I can tell ahead of time how a 'standard' capture will turn out with a bit of massaging. A few complex stitched + HDR images have turned out beautifully, while others are just dead on arrival. Sort of feels like 20 years ago when I was first shooting K64, and every yellow box was full of surprises because I had no idea what the hell I was doing.

'Course, it's probably just me.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=171653\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

No, I don't think it's just you, I said something similar in my first post above. I think part of it is because Tonemapping is a fairly new process, the algorithms are new too, it's an immature technology. But, if you are just starting out, you will find that you'll be better able to judge how to shoot and get the result you want with some practice. But so far, despite a year's practice for me, I still find that some shots just don't work.
Logged

[span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']flickr[/span] | [span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']website[/span]
Gordon Buck
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 409



WWW
« Reply #38 on: February 01, 2008, 07:35:20 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
For me there are lots of really interesting sunrise/sunset images that just can't fit within the confines of a 16 bit 'box'. I'm still stumbling my way through some basic HDR techniques, using masks or Photoshop's HDR function, and I'm just starting to try out Photomatix.

I find it a bit frustrating that I can't really visualize what's going to happen with the image as I work it, at least not like I can tell ahead of time how a 'standard' capture will turn out with a bit of massaging. A few complex stitched + HDR images have turned out beautifully, while others are just dead on arrival. Sort of feels like 20 years ago when I was first shooting K64, and every yellow box was full of surprises because I had no idea what the hell I was doing.

'Course, it's probably just me.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=171653\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


It's not just you -- and it's probably not just you and me.  Sad to admit, but I've been trying to use Photomatix and HDR for over a year now (well, not every day!).

The main thing that I *think* I've learned is that if a good histogram can be obtained with a single exposure then an HDR variation does not work out for me.
Logged

PhillyPhotographer
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 334


« Reply #39 on: February 01, 2008, 10:33:53 PM »
ReplyReply

I find using HDR can add a new perspective to a subject that's been shot to death.



Logged

Pages: « 1 [2] 3 4 ... 17 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad