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Author Topic: Not all HDR is bad  (Read 4639 times)
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2009, 11:46:04 PM »
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Indeed, it is possible to get pretty natural results, but I am 99% sure that a single capture of the same scene with an efficient usage of shadow recovery tool would be very hard to distinguish from your images.

Here is one example where the dynamic range was really large (I did bracket 6 stops), it was key to keep enough detail in the sky and distant mountain range since it is the very theme of the image.



Done with PTgui enfuse algo.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
Tim Gray
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« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2009, 08:21:35 AM »
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While if you work at it, you can get natural looking results from Photomatix (the source of most of the garish HDR's that grate on some folks' nerves like salt on an open wound) I find it easier to get natural looking results from Enfuse (as Bernard notes above) I use the Lightroom enfuse plug in, but often a simply mask with 2 images will be enough.  Finally I agree that with the tools available today and high bit depth raw capture you can dig an amazing amount of detail from a scene that you think would require bracketing.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2009, 08:26:31 AM by Tim Gray » Logged
RSL
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« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2009, 09:58:06 AM »
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Quote from: BernardLanguillier
My very thoughts.

Cheers,
Bernard

Bernard, Jeremy, I'm really sorry I can't find a comparable single shot to show you the difference. This is Florida in fairly bright sun, and the sun is coming from above the trees on the right. Without HDR the reflections of the clouds in the water are nearly impossible to preserve, and detail in the shore at the right gets lost. Bernard suggests an "efficient use of the shadow recovery tool" might do as well as HDR. Yes, you can come a fairly long way up with a shadow recovery tool like Shadows/Highlights in Photoshop, or by selecting areas as layers and using "screen" blending, provided you start with a properly exposed raw file, preferably at 14 bit color depth and Adobe RGB. But noise is the tradeoff. If you try to bring up the details in the right shore using a technique like that you soon reach the point where noise breaks things down.

None of which is to say that the single exposure of the same scene isn't good. I'd accept it immediately if I hadn't seen what HDR would do with the same scene. This one, and several others like it were test shoots I was doing when I first started playing with HDR. I've had a lot of fun with HDR, but, of course, it's useless for my favorite work, which is street shooting.

Here's another one from about a half mile up the river from the spot in #1. I've shown it before, but I show it again because it's another example of a picture I've shot a couple dozen times, coming back in the morning at the same hour each time I shot it. The HDR is far superior to any single shot I was able to get with my D3.

[attachment=17030:Morning_...atlakaha.jpg]
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popnfresh
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« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2009, 11:09:35 AM »
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These are excellent examples of HDR, both when it enhances a photograph and when it detracts. HDR is a special effect, and like any special effect it's easy to go overboard with it. HDR is best used sparingly and only in shots that really need it. It's all too easy for HDR to make a scene look artificial and just plain weird, as in the last example.

The first two shots are absolutely gorgeous. The last one looks like a badly hand-tinted black and white photograph.
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RSL
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« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2009, 01:40:35 PM »
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Pop, You're right. But there are a few situations where there's no hope of anything worthwhile without HDR. Here's one I've posted before, but I think it belongs here in a discussion of HDR. This is Thomas Edison's lab in southern Florida. It's an HDR made from 9 exposures, hand-held with a D3 and a VR lens -- but I was able to brace my elbows on a railing while I shot. I got lucky with the sunbeam. It was there just long enough for me to shoot; then the sun disappeared and never came back the rest of my stay. None of the individual exposures is usable alone.

[attachment=17077:Edison_Lab.jpg]
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popnfresh
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« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2009, 06:07:14 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
Pop, You're right. But there are a few situations where there's no hope of anything worthwhile without HDR. Here's one I've posted before, but I think it belongs here in a discussion of HDR. This is Thomas Edison's lab in southern Florida. It's an HDR made from 9 exposures, hand-held with a D3 and a VR lens -- but I was able to brace my elbows on a railing while I shot. I got lucky with the sunbeam. It was there just long enough for me to shoot; then the sun disappeared and never came back the rest of my stay. None of the individual exposures is usable alone.

[attachment=17077:Edison_Lab.jpg]
Another terrific shot! Clearly, there are times when HDR is called for, and this was one of them. You obviously know when and when not to use it. Not that many people do. BTW, a 9-exposure HDR HANDHELD is pretty effing incredible, dude--even with VR.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2009, 06:21:50 PM »
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Quote from: popnfresh
... BTW, a 9-exposure HDR HANDHELD is pretty effing incredible, dude--even with VR.

I do this frequently, although not often with 9 exposures.    CS4's "Auto Align Layers" makes it possible.  You do lose a little due to cropping, but in situations where a tripod isn't possible, it works wonders.
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popnfresh
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« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2009, 06:48:38 PM »
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Well, I was impressed for a while.  
« Last Edit: October 09, 2009, 06:51:32 PM by popnfresh » Logged
RSL
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« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2009, 09:02:43 PM »
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Pop, The other thing that helps is that I keep the D3 set up to run through 9 bracketed exposures from 4 stops under to 4 stops over in burst mode. When I do that I'm not framing and pressing the release on each shot. The D3's burst is very fast, though it slows toward the overexposure part of the sequence since you have to keep aperture and ISO constant and vary shutter speed for the bracketing. All in all, it's not as incredible as it sounds, and as Peter points out the post-processing software helps a lot. Photomatix does an even faster job of registering the frames than does CS4.
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