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04-04-2011, 11:41 AM   #1
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First trials with 645D and HDR

Messing with 645D and HDR. A friend I met here (Richard Jones, aka Aeros) suggested I try using CS5 HDR Toning, rather than Merge to HDR. He also suggested you can use one shot, bring into ACR, and make one 2 stops over, one 2 stops under and combine with a "correct" exposure. The first shot was done that way. Second shot also used HDR Toning, but combined three shots 2 stops apart made in camera, tripod used.
I'm still learning.....
Dave G in NJ THANKS AGAIN RICHARD!

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04-04-2011, 12:08 PM   #2
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To my taste it's already some overcooked HDR. I wonder if 645D really needs so many manipulation and if so smart tone mapping would not be enough.
04-04-2011, 12:38 PM   #3
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Almost..

I love HDR when it brings everything you see into the final output.

In your 2nd photo, I think the lower half is pretty good. However, the sky (As in most HDR) is where my eyes see a problem. This, IMO would look great with the sky toned down a lot.

Also, I'm new to this as well, so I have no idea how it's done, but would love to hear some input about how to tone it down.

Thanks for sharing the idea, the pictures & your results you use, as we all get better in the end.
04-04-2011, 02:54 PM   #4
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I subscribe to "Less is better", preferring to understate. I agree with the preceding comments by Zav and glee46. That said, it's all very subjective and a result of personal taste. The shots themselves are gorgeous landscapes. The editing though seems to have flattened the depth of field.

I would look at masking the sky to a gradient fade to lighter toward the horizon, and the same treatment from bellow the horizon up to the base of the sky. I feel this would add a lot of depth to the image. I do this instinctively when painting in oils and try to get the same effect when doing a post edit on a photo.

Not all things in nature are needle sharp to the eye, and in landscapes we have to consider that air has mass. That mass has density and it causes distant objects to opaque. When we manipulate an image and focus entirely on sharp focus and sacrifice soft focus, the result is a flat image. Geez I sound like I’m preaching to the choir here, sorry for that. As a painter sometimes I loose sight of the big picture and get too focused on a detail and loose the feel for the rest of the picture.

When I started with photography more than forty five years ago, I came to understand light a lot better and as a result was able to apply that to my painting which resulted in a huge improvement in my work as a painter. I am convinced that photography made me better at painting because it taught me a lot more about light and the interaction with various materials, atmospheric conditions and distance.

I have been getting some of the best tutorials from a magazine out of the UK. I refer to an article in there (see my thread “I don’t give a toss”). Well my pain in the ass brother in-law redeemed him-self by sending me eight DVD’s from back issues. I was so impressed with the quality (the accents started to grate on me after awhile) that I subscribed to the mag. Extremely big bang for the buck! If you want more info on the magazine I will be glad to provide it.

Hope this helps.
RJ.
www.aeros.bz

aeros@aeros.bz


Last edited by aeros; 04-04-2011 at 04:51 PM. Reason: typo
04-04-2011, 05:03 PM   #5
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personally both are a bit overcooked and over saturated, for me HDR is about detail and subtlety. For many photographers the temptation is high to go ahead and smash the midtone and go for a high contrast look, but that aesthetic gets tiring after looking at the third image. I merge my HDR images by hand, it gives me more control over how the final output will look- and with my technique I never get HDR halos.
04-04-2011, 05:18 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
personally both are a bit overcooked and over saturated, for me HDR is about detail and subtlety. For many photographers the temptation is high to go ahead and smash the midtone and go for a high contrast look, but that aesthetic gets tiring after looking at the third image. I merge my HDR images by hand, it gives me more control over how the final output will look- and with my technique I never get HDR halos.
Yes the dreaded halos are quite visible, I agree there is a trend to overstate the HDR look. I have a pro shooter friend who did a corporate profile cover, and went overboard with the HDR edit to get a very radical look. The cover just lying around got him a pile of work.
I feel it depends on ones individual concept and how well the subject responds. There are no exact rules, although I do agree with all the other comments here.
04-04-2011, 05:31 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by aeros Quote
I have a pro shooter friend who did a corporate profile cover, and went overboard with the HDR edit to get a very radical look. The cover just lying around got him a pile of work
I suppose it sells and that matters a lot to a professional, however aesthetically it's denigrating the technique to the point where certain photographic competitions do not allow the entry of HDR images.
04-04-2011, 05:58 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I suppose it sells and that matters a lot to a professional, however aesthetically it's denigrating the technique to the point where certain photographic competitions do not allow the entry of HDR images.
Anyone making a living from their craft has to respond to market trends and demands, that said, I'm still empathic to the aesthetic ideal. I would compare it to politics, "Trying to keep three balls in the air without losing your own" I think of the Jazz musician who plays his gig, then goes home and listens to Mozart.
I have visited your impressive portfolio. I understand your comments from viewing your very creative work. I noticed the shot of the Parakeet was done with layers that give a distinctive 3D look. It appears you separated the foreground tree and shaped the layer along the top edge of the tree and sharpened it with a slightly sharper focus than the bird, then added a thin shadow behind the tree; a good example of your technique for subtlety, very fine work.

04-04-2011, 11:52 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by aeros Quote
I noticed the shot of the Parakeet was done with layers that give a distinctive 3D look. It appears you separated the foreground tree and shaped the layer along the top edge of the tree and sharpened it with a slightly sharper focus than the bird, then added a thin shadow behind the tree; a good example of your technique for subtlety, very fine work.
That isn't what I did at all with the image 'Ranibow lorikeet V' - that image is a consequence of skilled balancing of ambient exposure and flash and use of a long focal length - I don't like altering the content of my images by adding something that is completely foreign to it - editing the image to make the added object look like it belongs there is just too much work - I would rather be outside taking photos

thanks for the compliment.
04-05-2011, 08:57 AM   #10
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Thanks all for your valuable comments. That's why I post here, to get input from talented people. As my original post said, these are my first tries at HDR, and, obviously I can do better. "I'm still learning".....74 yrs old, an still chuggin' along, and havin' a ball.
Dave
04-06-2011, 10:17 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
That isn't what I did at all with the image 'Ranibow lorikeet V' - that image is a consequence of skilled balancing of ambient exposure and flash and use of a long focal length - I don't like altering the content of my images by adding something that is completely foreign to it - editing the image to make the added object look like it belongs there is just too much work - I would rather be outside taking photos

thanks for the compliment.
I'd like to be outside taking photos too, but there's still three feet of snow drifts in my back yard. Gives me lots of time to learn Photoshop.
04-06-2011, 11:24 AM   #12
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I generally don't like to comment too much on another artists work. However, these images do not work for me on a number of levels even though I like many of the extremes that HDR can provide.

First, compositionally, the subject matter is dubious but I assume that you are just testing the reaches of HDR on the camera.

Additionally, yes the HDR aspects ofoverly saturated colors and distracting halos are there. In the first image it looks as if the sky was so heavily altered post HDR manipulation that it does not even look like the sky balances with the terrain lighting.

On the second image the color balance appears to be off the mark and causes a further weakness in the image. There is too much cyan, blue and perhaps a little indigo that needs to be balanced out as well as a reduction in the contrast (which in this case may well account for a subtstantial amount of the blue shift). Another weakness, if I am seeing it correctly, is that the clouds have a stepping quality which really can be distracting and throw visual reality right out the window.

Interesting how you put the identical flocks of geese in both images.

While not always possible, you can improve these images without HDR. Take your bracketed images (3 or 5 images) and make layers and masks in CS5. Mask in the appropriate sky density and terrestial images around your properly exposed image and you will eliminate many of the problems associated with scenic HDR. In most cases you can get the image to look natural just by altering the visible layer that expresses most closely the scene as you recalled it. It is a technique I have had to rely on when doing scenics or architectural images with fast moving clouds. It is amazing how fast a cloud moves in a scene in the few seconds it takes to fire off 5 to 10 bracketed images.

All this is meant in a positive and constructive manner.

Stephen
04-06-2011, 08:19 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by SCGushue Quote
It is a technique I have had to rely on when doing scenics or architectural images with fast moving clouds. It is amazing how fast a cloud moves in a scene in the few seconds it takes to fire off 5 to 10 bracketed images.

Stephen
Stephen; I have developed the habit of shooting one RAW and making a copy with over exposure, and a second copy under exposed and bring them into CS5 HDR for final post. Do you have any comments on this particular technique? I can certainly see the advantage in a windy sky condition and thus rapidly changing light and cloud position.
04-08-2011, 07:34 PM   #14
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aeros,

I think bracketing is a great idea. Personally, I would bracket 1.3 to 2 stops (in RAW of course) in either direction and on certain occasions (really bright skies and sunrises) perhaps 4 stops.

Unfortunately, I have always found CS to be weak on HDR, though CS5 is better than the last iteration. What I prefer to do is fusion blending (on panoramas) using PTGui or some other pano image editing software that can do a really fine job of taking the best qualities of all the bracketed images without the often overwrought problems associated with HDR. I also use fusion blending on single images too. Generally, it is a superior image rendering modality compared to the "normal" exposure.

If I recall, CS5 actually has a fusion/blend images option on the menu. You might give that a try.

As I stated above, the best results are done with masking and layers. Through that modality you can literally pick and choose the zones that render the image as the mind saw it. Unfortunately, there isn't a camera out there that renders an image the way the eye and mind actually see it. So, it is PP that we translate what the camera records.

Stephen
04-09-2011, 09:41 AM   #15
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I have had better results with layer masking, as you stated, it gives more control. I still like HDR on some of my images. I feel now, after several attempts, that no two images can have the same cooky cutter formula applied. Just like tools on my bench, I use the one that I need at the moment.

When I elect to use HDR, I know I'm in for a lot of retouching to get rid of the halo's. Thank's for your insight Stephen.
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