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01-07-2009, 12:55 PM   #1
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HDR (High Dynamic Range)

Have any of you all wise pentaxians done much with HDR? Any insights from a picture taking or picture processing view, including tools used?

A couple links...

High dynamic range imaging - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

HDR photo software & plugin - Tone Mapping, Exposure Blending & HDR Imaging for photography

01-07-2009, 01:12 PM   #2
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Bracket 5 shots at 1 stop apart. Merge them w/ the free version of Photomatix. It's pretty simple...
01-07-2009, 01:29 PM   #3
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Well I'm just a beginner and all that, but have done almost all my landscape shots with HDR technique just to prevent the highlight burnouts without a cokin type system. I do use Photomatix Pro 3 software for combining the exposures. Here a short checklist which I have found useful:

-Heavy duty tripod
-Remote launcher
-camera set to full manual mode (automatic programs **** up the apertures when bracketing)
-Bracketing of at least 5 photos with 1 EV steps (3 exposures with 2EV steps ens up with lots of noise usually) which means that with K200D I have to dial in shutter multiples manually in very rapid fashion to catch the moment succesfully
-multisegment metering is very very useful as the starting point for bracketing (0, -, +) although you can use spot and figure out a useful average exposure
-RAW files can be stuffed into photomatix directly (if you want to convert to TIFF or JPG go ahead, but do not adjust curves in individual images)
-alignment is usually not needed in Photomatix with good quality tripod
-Photomatix CA removal setting works wonders if there is need to do such thing
-Photomatix noise removal is pretty aggressive so better do this later with photoshop etc.

How to get juicy results with Details Enhancer method:

-Strength 80+
-Saturation + HDR makes aggressive colors but I leave this to default setting of 50 and use PS later to play with colors
-Light smoothing -> Very high (important for natural look) which gives very nice final exposure if bracketed exposures are well balanced around the initial exposure metering
-Micro contrast -> 8+
-Use white point adjustement to control the brightness (very usefull for snow scenes) and black point to get some shadows look natural
-Temperature 2+ adds some warmth
-Micro-smoothing -> high level
-Highlights smoothing gives bright skies and distributes the light around the sources like sun

After this I take the tone mapped image to photoshop and do the usual tinkering with levels/curves to finish up the image. Sharpening with USM as the final step.
01-07-2009, 01:30 PM   #4
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master of HDR:

The Best of Ben: The Photography of Ben Willmore

01-07-2009, 03:17 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Maffer Quote
Well I'm just a beginner and all that, but have done almost all my landscape shots with HDR technique just to prevent the highlight burnouts without a cokin type system. I do use Photomatix Pro 3 software for combining the exposures. Here a short checklist which I have found useful:

-Heavy duty tripod
-Remote launcher
-camera set to full manual mode (automatic programs **** up the apertures when bracketing)
-Bracketing of at least 5 photos with 1 EV steps (3 exposures with 2EV steps ens up with lots of noise usually) which means that with K200D I have to dial in shutter multiples manually in very rapid fashion to catch the moment succesfully
-multisegment metering is very very useful as the starting point for bracketing (0, -, +) although you can use spot and figure out a useful average exposure
-RAW files can be stuffed into photomatix directly (if you want to convert to TIFF or JPG go ahead, but do not adjust curves in individual images)
-alignment is usually not needed in Photomatix with good quality tripod
-Photomatix CA removal setting works wonders if there is need to do such thing
-Photomatix noise removal is pretty aggressive so better do this later with photoshop etc.

How to get juicy results with Details Enhancer method:

-Strength 80+
-Saturation + HDR makes aggressive colors but I leave this to default setting of 50 and use PS later to play with colors
-Light smoothing -> Very high (important for natural look) which gives very nice final exposure if bracketed exposures are well balanced around the initial exposure metering
-Micro contrast -> 8+
-Use white point adjustement to control the brightness (very usefull for snow scenes) and black point to get some shadows look natural
-Temperature 2+ adds some warmth
-Micro-smoothing -> high level
-Highlights smoothing gives bright skies and distributes the light around the sources like sun

After this I take the tone mapped image to photoshop and do the usual tinkering with levels/curves to finish up the image. Sharpening with USM as the final step.
Looks like some good insight for a "beginner"

Thanks!
01-07-2009, 03:18 PM   #6
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5 exposures at 1 or 1.5 ev intervals seems to work well for me. I use aperture priority so that DOF doesn't change and I use CS3 since I already have that. There's a lot of trial and error involved.
01-07-2009, 03:36 PM   #7
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Oh yes, lots of trial and error. One more thing I have found useful with sunset scenes is that spot metering sun with +1.5-2EV compensation usually works nicely as the initial exposure for bracketing. That's something this k200d will take before starting to totally blow the sun.
01-07-2009, 04:03 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Prairie Dog Quote
That stuff is astounding! Thanks for the link!

01-07-2009, 06:18 PM   #9
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Some additions to the checklist...

QuoteOriginally posted by Maffer Quote
Here a short checklist which I have found useful:

- [Great stuff found in the original post]
I would add to that these tidbits from my experience.

On the technical side:
- Use lower ISOs (100-400) whenever possible, and no "D-Range"!
- Vary the shutter speed, not the aperture or ISO.
- Shoot more brackets than you need (exp. comp. by +-3 to get 8 unique brackets)
- Spot meter a shadow and the biggest bright spot that isn't a light to know the range needed for detail in both (think of a shooting a black car on a white sand beach).
- Use Photomatix to generate your HDRs, even if you have Photoshop CS3 - Pshop CS3 (and CS2) have some bad HDR flaws, and even the "free trial" of Photomatix Pro can generate and save HDRs for tonemapping in Pshop or elsewhere.
- The "auto-alignment" and "ghosting removal" of Photomatix can only do so much for hand-held HDRs, so if you don't have a tripod, use fast shutter speeds and brace your arm.

On the artistic side:
- Avoid swiftly moving subjects (windy days, cars, crowds, fidgety people) unless you are prepared for kinda weird results, with blurs, unremovable ghosts, and stairstepping.
- An HDR file has way more dynamic range than your monitor can display - never trust what you see on screen until you tonemap it.
- When tonemapping, be gentle: remember that *this is still a photograph* so viewers expect some contrast... and maybe even black shadows and blown out highlights.

On the "way-too-much-trouble" side:
- Try basic exposure-blending that *isn't* HDR! Photomatix has 4 ways to do this... and the killer tip is to try "Enfuse" (google it) which will do fancy exposure blending with as many brackets as you throw at it.
01-07-2009, 06:23 PM   #10
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Enfuse It!

QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
and the killer tip is to try "Enfuse" (google it) which will do fancy exposure blending with as many brackets as you throw at it.
This needs its own post.

If you're using Mac, put your brackets into the Enfuse-GUI called Bracketeer to get near-magic exposure blending results. Not the typical "Flickr HDR" effects, but tough to beat when exposure gets tricky and you hit AEB. Has some limited controls, but in general only produces images that look "well-exposed" and balanced.

There are other front-ends for Enfuse that run on Windows and Linux, if that's your bag, but none of them have the features and UI that Bracketeer has.

-Mark
01-07-2009, 08:38 PM   #11
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Some HDR picture posts would be great!
01-07-2009, 09:58 PM   #12
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I like HDR and have just started playing with it.

I use Photomatix with the free plugin for Lightroom (makes it sooo much more convenient)

I'm not a fan of the overdone HDR effect with large exposure brackets.

Here's my first attempts with only a 1/3 bracket for a more natural effect: HERE
01-08-2009, 05:32 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by krs Quote
Some HDR picture posts would be great!
I normally shoot HDR these days, even hand held. The K20D 'one push AEB' helps a lot. I have also automated my initial processing of HDR images with a .NET application that will:

1 - Copy files from one directory tree to another (from camera to disk) and create a backup copy
2 - Parse the files and rename any auto bracketed files to "_AEB", as well as adding EXIF keywords to identify them as HDR
3 - Run photomatix from the command line, creating the .hdr and two .tif files
4 - Update the .tif files to add EXIF keywords to the .tif files to identify them as HDR results

I can now run the application to process all my images and then suck the results into Lightroom.

Here are a selection of HDR images:

















01-08-2009, 07:50 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jfsavage Quote
I normally shoot HDR these days, even hand held. The K20D 'one push AEB' helps a lot. I have also automated my initial processing of HDR images with a .NET application that will:

1 - Copy files from one directory tree to another (from camera to disk) and create a backup copy
2 - Parse the files and rename any auto bracketed files to "_AEB", as well as adding EXIF keywords to identify them as HDR
3 - Run photomatix from the command line, creating the .hdr and two .tif files
4 - Update the .tif files to add EXIF keywords to the .tif files to identify them as HDR results

I can now run the application to process all my images and then suck the results into Lightroom.

Here are a selection of HDR images:

Some great pictures!

It seems that pictures 1-3 have a reasonably "normal??" look while pictures 5, 6, and maybe 8 are a bit more "surreal?". Does this have to do with the number and/or breath of the fstops on selected pictures being combined?
01-08-2009, 07:56 AM   #15
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Some of the pictures are very fine...I like the one in the house with the fire...

any other ones was a little "too much"....but in general, it's nice with HDR.

Despite the fact that it can be a little booring look much of them , you did a great job

and it's great photos from de beginning that sets up the good HDR image.

The most important when t comes to HDR
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