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Author Topic: Two HDRs I thought they were ok but Im being critisized  (Read 13608 times)
sanfairyanne
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« on: May 08, 2011, 07:44:03 PM »
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I took these two beginner shots earlier this year. Because theyre both high contrast images I did HDRs. The waterfall was actually taken with the B and W 10stop ND filter, that particular filter was a bit too dark for my liking because I wanted depth of field but at say f13 Id have had an exposure so long the water would have had no definition. So I comprimised and shot at f7 with iso 500.

The other shot was much more straightforward but still required HDR.

Other than the clouds being uneven I was quite happy with them at the time. Now after being critisized Im a bit disheartened.

Anyone like them? Embarrassed
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2011, 08:45:07 PM »
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... Anyone like them?

Like what!? Oh, wait... you mean those post stamps? Well, at that size everything looks great (or not) Wink
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Slobodan

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sanfairyanne
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2011, 08:54:10 PM »
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Sorry I guess I need to learn to use the website. Maybe easier if I just dump these shots in the trash, I only spent three months waiting for the shots.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2011, 09:55:28 PM »
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In all seriousness, they do look interesting, so no need to trash them, just post something bigger, say at least 800 pixels on the longer side.
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Slobodan

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sanfairyanne
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2011, 10:18:05 PM »
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I think I might have the uploads correct this time. Im not used to PCs
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sanfairyanne
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2011, 10:33:59 PM »
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Heres another HDR, I dont think it looks unnatural, I actually quite like it. Ok again the clouds are uneven.
I guess the important thing is if I like a picture then thats the most important thing. The thing is we all like to be complemented on our work, Im not asking for compliments I just want an honest opinion, are these three shots ok or should I bin them.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2011, 10:47:34 PM »
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Actually, they are quite nice. HDR is not that obvious (a good thing). The only nitpick would be that the foreground seems brighter than the clouds (especially in #1 and #3), which may or may not be a consequence of the HDR approach. If the real lighting was such, so be it... although I would still tone it down (the foreground) a bit in post-processing.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2011, 12:45:47 AM »
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I agree.  Those shots show some good potential, but I was a little curious about the lighting. 

Now, as to criticism, everyone gets to have an opinion, and nowhere is it written that said opinions need to match yours.  Nowhere is it written either that you need to give the opinions of others more credence than yours.  It depends on what these 'critics' have to say, and whether or not you believe that what they have to say has merit.  I've often said that if you're shooting for a client, then the client gets to decide what the final image looks like.  If you're shooting for yourself, you get to decide what the final image looks like.  If someone says, "I don't like it", that's not a criticism, that's an opinion.  They don't have to like it.  If someone says, "Have you considered..." that's a critique.  Critiques can sometimes be harsh, but they can also open doorways to ideas that you may not have considered.  Think also of the alternative: if nobody says anything, they may feel that you work isn't worth commenting on.  My 2.

Mike.
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2011, 01:20:04 AM »
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Well, I like them: the waterfall is spectacular, and I also found the lake very nice, but the other one not so much.

All three have a little "Orton-like" effect (or "misty" or "defocus" effect, do not know how else to call it), quite common in HDR's made with some software, that I particularly dislike; other than that, there is nothing else that says "HDR" in those, nor I consider them to be over-processed.

Just my two cents.
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2011, 04:05:45 AM »
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As HDR's go, they look pretty good. I really don't like the look of a lot of such images. One thing though - it doesn't look as if the dynamic range is so great that it couldn't have been captured in a single exposure.
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k bennett
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2011, 06:52:49 AM »
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There is nothing "wrong" with any of these photos. The HDR is not obvious or heavy-handed at all, nor is there any obvious overprocessing. The first two are actually quite good.

+1 to what Mike said about criticism. You are creating art to please yourself and no one else. Sure, every artist should master their tools and technique, and every artist will get feedback from others. And many artists are not ever satisfied with their own work, which is what keeps us moving forward. Finally, sometimes an image just doesn't work out the way we wanted or expected. But as long as you are satisfied with the final image, or you are satisfied that you have learned from the attempt, then that work is worthwhile.
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sanfairyanne
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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2011, 07:03:51 AM »
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Thankfully I can now reply (something weird has been going on and I keep entering my username and password then getting thrown off)

Anyway in reply to Mike, I hear what you have to say about critisism, Im just disappointed that after spending 3 months trying to photograph these mountains usually only being able to see them for 1 day out of 10 that the one person (my father) whos opinion I respect most, doesnt like them.

The waterfall is probably not sharp in areas of the image I only had a 10stop filter, I wish I had a 6 stop. Ive a portrait version that may be sharp.

I only HDRd them because - and remember Im a beginner here - if I expose for the snow so theres no blown out highlights ALL the foreground becomes way too dark and thats not how the eye sees the view. I did the HDR in Photomatix Pro, which seems to be popular. I did absolutely no other work because I dont know how to. So their Photomatrix default HDRs.

It would be nice to sit down with an expert and have them post process them as though they were their own shots.  I wonder if its in fact possible to find someone to do that, seems to me a great way for a clever person to make money. I love photography but hate computers.

EduPerez, the one you say you dont like was a direct copy of a shot I saw in a professional gallery. The only difference being that the pro shot had no clouds. Mine actually has better fall color, I had thought the clouds gave it more drama, now when I see them all lopsided I feel the shot is non symmetric.
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stamper
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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2011, 07:40:32 AM »
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if I expose for the snow so theres no blown out highlights ALL the foreground becomes way too dark and thats not how the eye sees the view.


If you expose for the snow to avoid the foreground becoming dark then spot meter for the snow and raise the EV on the camera by two stops. This will mean that the snow is still exposed well and the foreground is lightened.
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stamper
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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2011, 07:46:51 AM »
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As HDR's go, they look pretty good. I really don't like the look of a lot of such images. One thing though - it doesn't look as if the dynamic range is so great that it couldn't have been captured in a single exposure.

The last sentence is spot on. A lot of people use the HDR without thinking first about if it is justified. It should only - imo - be used if the dynamic range exceeds the camera's SBR. It is amazing what you can tweak from a RAW image without using HDR. Once you commit the images to the HDR program then it is cross your fingers and hope it isn't overcooked. Cry
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2011, 08:17:22 AM »
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The last sentence is spot on. A lot of people use the HDR without thinking first about if it is justified. It should only - imo - be used if the dynamic range exceeds the camera's SBR.

Not necessarily. The Signal to Noise ratio in the shadows of a single exposure is much worse than in the shadows of an HDR bracketed exposure. If, and that's the crux, the shadows need significant processing then an HDR exposure will stand much more abuse before the artefacts becomes noticeable. When the hurdles of subject motion and ghosting are taken, an HDR file will always give a better basis for processing.

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It is amazing what you can tweak from a RAW image without using HDR.

I agree that many images survive basic tonemapping, as long as the tweaks are limited to global ones. Tonemapping of the details is where it really counts.

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Once you commit the images to the HDR program then it is cross your fingers and hope it isn't overcooked. Cry

I disagree. It's usually not the program that makes a mess of things, but the person using it.

Cheers,
Bart
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sanfairyanne
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« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2011, 08:51:06 AM »
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Stamper,

Ok back to being a beginner here, Im using the history graph on my LCD, if I see my test shot of the snow shows highlight clipping I reduce the exposure until theres no longer clipping. At that point that is where the darker areas of the image are too dark.

From what I read into your reply are you saying I shouldnt be too concerned with highlight clipping. If I raise my aperture by two stops I go from say a 100th of a second to a 25th of a second which is surely going to blow my highlight to hell. Forgive me please if I appear like a stupid dumb sh#t.

Bart, thanks for youre reply but I really dont understand you.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2011, 09:14:02 AM »
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Stamper,

Ok back to being a beginner here, Im using the history graph on my LCD, if I see my test shot of the snow shows highlight clipping I reduce the exposure until theres no longer clipping. At that point that is where the darker areas of the image are too dark.

That's exactly the scenario where HDR can help.

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Bart, thanks for youre reply but I really dont understand you.

No problem, the response was not directly an answer to your question, but rather a reaction to "Stamper". Your images look fine, not overprocessed into something surreal, so I don't understand the critique you apparently received.

The whole point of HDRs is that at all the relevant brightness levels, the signal has a high quality. That (technical) quality is often expressed as a ratio of signal to noise (S/N ratio). That means that there were 'enough' photons used to record the image detail and lift it above the noise theshold. Due to photon statisctics, shadows are going to be 'noisier' than highlights, and when lifting those shadows in postprocessing that matters a lot. Shadows in HDRs are relatively free of noise, so they can be pushed further before it becomes noticeable. This is especially important when postprocessing/tonemapping midtone and shadow detail.

Cheers,
Bart
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PeterAit
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« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2011, 10:08:27 AM »
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Actually, I think the HDR is very obvious. Within 1 millisecond of viewing my brain said "HDR." They do not look natural at all to me. Now, that's OK if it's what you want, what you're after. They seem pretty well done. To me, it's unappealing.
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Peter
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sanfairyanne
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« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2011, 10:56:21 AM »
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Peter,

This is essentially the criticism I get, they look false. Stomper tries to explain how to expose correctly I just dont really understand him. The snow is the brightest area of the photograph. So I take a shot, check the Histogram, dial my exposure in so that I have no clipping and take the shot. Of course most of the rest of the dark areas of the image, foliage etc are under-exposed.

Thats why I go for an HDR, I hate it when you see those ridiculous HDRs with bizarre clouds. I want my shots to look natural but it seems in these conditions when photographing snow and foliage my 5DII just doesnt have the dynamic range necessary.

I realise they are crap photos but one day I just might take a good one and it would be nice to be correctly exposed.

Is Stomper trying to tell me to accept some blown out snow as a trade off for better exposed dark areas.
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2011, 11:13:10 AM »
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The colors are very saturated.
I can imagine thats a problem for some.
But I'd say its a matter of taste.

Maybe a bit like a sandwich with too much butter on it.

High prettiness factor but ... ?
Where are YOU in the images ?

Hope these questions might be helpful...
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 11:17:08 AM by Christoph C. Feldhaim » Logged

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