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  1. #1
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    For the photogs - an HDR resource and tips thread

    Hey all - yeah yeah, I know everyone's feelings about HDR, but point in fact is that at times it is a very very useful tool. It can be done to produce realistic images, and it is probably the only way to capture the dynamic range (dr) of an image that has up to 14/15 EV. So I thought I'd post some resource material. Here's a good place to start: http://www.hdrlabs.com/book/index.html The tools tab lists a lot of good HDR utilities. I'm using Essential HDR right now - much better and quicker tool than Photomatix for what I do.
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  2. #2
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    I have Photoshop Extended and will probably add a plug-in to that. I'm most interested in blending multiple exposures to increase DR but not all the way to an HDR look. I want it to look on paper as it looked to my eye. The test will be my trip through the Grand Canyon in a week. I keep telling myself to bracket, bracket, bracket each shot. Since I'm taking a tripod I'll set the camera up to auto bracket +/- 2ev 3 exposures. Hopefully that will cover the range I need from rim to river and I can blend them to print what I saw at the time.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    I have Photoshop Extended and will probably add a plug-in to that. I'm most interested in blending multiple exposures to increase DR but not all the way to an HDR look. I want it to look on paper as it looked to my eye. The test will be my trip through the Grand Canyon in a week. I keep telling myself to bracket, bracket, bracket each shot. Since I'm taking a tripod I'll set the camera up to auto bracket +/- 2ev 3 exposures. Hopefully that will cover the range I need from rim to river and I can blend them to print what I saw at the time.
    HDR can look very natural - there are a lot of variables. The tonemappers are the culprit - not HDR itself. There is a difference. Tonemapping and HDR are two different things. You do HAVE to tonemap a HDR image, as a HDR image has too much info to be displayed properly otherwise. Tonemappers 'guess' how you want things to look. They usually give you a lot of variables to control that will affect how natural/unnatural the tonemapped final image will look. Of course that is subjective.

    The tonemappers in Extreme HDR (there are two) both produce much more natural effects/images than Photomatix (one of the more popular editors around). Photomatix is particularly bad about producing halo effects. Extreme HDR is much much better about that. Exteme HDR is also faster and cheaper than Photomatix - plus it can produce a HDR image from a single RAW file.
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  4. #4
    was kung-fu fighting lodi781's Avatar
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    Ya know what i find funny about this hdr thing. To me the whole point IS to have it look artificial. From my own experience, the "natural" look of HDR can be achieved with a little patience for the right time of day to shoot, and proper use of a flash and buffer. Just my two cents tho.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lodi781 View Post
    Ya know what i find funny about this hdr thing. To me the whole point IS to have it look artificial. From my own experience, the "natural" look of HDR can be achieved with a little patience for the right time of day to shoot, and proper use of a flash and buffer. Just my two cents tho.
    Actually there are times that it is nearly impossible to do it any other way. For example doing a shoot of a house interior out by the lake. Of course the owner would want the view of the lake to be properly exposed as well as the interior of the house. And lets say due to scheduling constraints you have to shoot mid day (this really happens, btw). So you now have a situation where what is outside is well over 10 EV of what's inside. I guess you could get some expensive studio strobes, take a lot of time/care setting them up, then gel all the artificial light sources to balance the color temp of the strobes, and MAYBE get the interior of the room in the ballpark of what's outside. Or you could use hdr.

    Dont confuse the cartoony surreal examples you've seen me and others post - not all hdr is like that. Some of it is very natural looking. Theres a broad range of 'looks' you can get from it that are up to the user.
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  6. #6
    Dumb@s$ Jarhead mrt10x's Avatar
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    I have been taking 5 shot 1ev spreads at most on most of my photo trips over the last month or so.. using the free version of phototmatrix pro to see how they look.. I have a HDR book in the morning lounge that I get through a couple of pages a day in.. I havnt decided which program I will be going with yet... my neighbor, who is an amazing photographer has CS4 down to an art and gets amazing HDR like photos simply from layers... I am slowly beginning to realize that it is all about PP these days
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  7. #7
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    check out this guys work for some more natural HDR's. Really dug his balcony view section.

    http://www.digitalcoastimage.com/
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  8. #8
    was kung-fu fighting lodi781's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenmore View Post
    Actually there are times that it is nearly impossible to do it any other way. For example doing a shoot of a house interior out by the lake. Of course the owner would want the view of the lake to be properly exposed as well as the interior of the house. And lets say due to scheduling constraints you have to shoot mid day (this really happens, btw). So you now have a situation where what is outside is well over 10 EV of what's inside. I guess you could get some expensive studio strobes, take a lot of time/care setting them up, then gel all the artificial light sources to balance the color temp of the strobes, and MAYBE get the interior of the room in the ballpark of what's outside. Or you could use hdr.

    Dont confuse the cartoony surreal examples you've seen me and others post - not all hdr is like that. Some of it is very natural looking. Theres a broad range of 'looks' you can get from it that are up to the user.
    I totally get that...your right.I should have said, a flash works just as well for what I do. i wasn't criticizing or anything. i personally think the artificial look of HDR has its place. Very artistic if done right. And I understand it's implications in certain situations....
    " The love you withhold is the pain you carry, lifetime after lifetime."

  9. #9
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    I have Photoshop Extended and will probably add a plug-in to that. I'm most interested in blending multiple exposures to increase DR but not all the way to an HDR look. I want it to look on paper as it looked to my eye.
    That's pretty much impossible. The human eye & brain work together to compress a very wide dynamic range into a logarithmic scale. You simply cannot reproduce that range on paper. HDR will compress that range linearly to prevent washing out the highlights and shadows. Then tonal-mapping is done to reduce the gamut even more to fit within what's reproducable on paper, but it still won't look like it does to your eye.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 04-23-09 at 05:52 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    Btw - the imaginary house on the lake example I cited above? Just got back from doing EXACTLY that shoot, lol. A bed and breakfast on Lake Travis. Nice. Dumping the cards now to begin hdr editing.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    That's pretty much impossible. The human eye & brain work together to compress a very wide dynamic range into a logarithmic scale. You simply cannot reproduce that range on paper. HDR will compress that range linearly to prevent washing out the highlights and shadows. Then tonal-mapping is done to reduce the gamut even more to fit within what's reproducable on paper, but it still won't look like it does to your eye.
    Perhaps not, but HDR allows you to get a lot closer than before.
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    Mean people are like slinkys. They're really not worth much but still are rather entertaining to watch tumble down the stairs.

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