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Prospero
06-25-2007, 02:30 PM
High Dynamic Range Photography

A long time ago I promissed some people that I would write a HDR tutorial. Now I finally did it. I hope you will enjoy it and can use it when creating HDRs

What is High Dynamic Range Photography?
In some scenes, it is very hard to find the right exposure. The exposure you chose is often a compromise. Either the sky looks great and the foreground is too dark, or the foreground is exposed properly but the sky is completely blown out.

In such scenes, High Dynamic Range photography (HDR) can help out. HDR photography is a technique where you blend various exposures of the same scene to get the whole image exposed properly.

This guide will go through the process of creating a High Dynamic range picture step by step. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them. In the guide, the following software will be used: Adobe Photoshop CS, Photomatix, and PTGUI.

Step 1: Taking the pictures
There are multiple ways to take the source pictures of a HDR. The one thing that all approaches have in common is that the pictures used have a different exposure and that the different exposures cover the whole range of the scene.

Take a look at the following example. I took three pictures, they are all two stops apart.

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The first picture is two stops underexposed. You can clearly see in the histogram that most of the data is on the left side of the histogram. A part of the scene is even cut of the histogram. This means that the detail in some parts of the picture is lost. However, you can also see that there are no highlights cut of. Therefore this picture covers the highlight of the scene nicely.

The third picture is two stops overexposed. Here you can clearly see that the highlights are all blown out. However, the dark parts of the picture are properly exposed. This picture covers the shadows of the scene.

The middle picture is right in between the two. This picture covers the mid-tones of the scene.

You can take as many different exposures as you like. I took only three here, but you can also take pictures at steps of 1 f-stop, meaning you would have 5 pictures. However, I find that more pictures does not necessarily give better results. In fact, fewer pictures means that the time taken between all the shots is minimal and this often gives better results with the sky.

The best way to take the pictures is by using a tripod and the bracketing function of the camera. If you are too lazy to use a tripod (like me) you can also align the images later (see step 2). If your camera does not have bracketing, you can also adjust the exposure manually. You need to do this real quick, though, because cloud movement between the shots can have a drastic effect on the result.

Personally, I always take the source files of the HDR without a tripod but with the bracketing function. I set the exposure difference at 2 stops and take three images. Most of the time this covers the dynamic range of a scene.

One thing to keep in mind, is that you must always keep the aperture constant during the shoot. Changing the aperture will change the depth of field, and may therefore cause difficulty with aligning the images.

Step 2: Aligning the images
Photomatix, the software that we will be using to create a HDR, can align images. It does that by rotating and shifting the pictures. When you use a tripod, this is often sufficient. In that case you can skip to step 3.

When you are not using a tripod, the difference between the shots will be greater. In that case, Photomatix often cannot align the pictures. This especially occurs if the pictures were taken with a wide angle lens. With such a lens, minute changes to the way the camera is pointed has quite a big effect on the perspective. Photomatix cannot correct this and therefore cannot align the image.

PTGui is a panorama program. This program is a lot more powerful in aligning images, since it can warp them so that they will match perfectly.

The following needs to be done:
- Load the images into PTGui
- Set the lens focal length and the crop factor (if this is not done for you)
- Generate the control points
- Check the result with the panorama viewer
- If you like the result, the ‘panorama’ can be created
- When saving the panorama make sure that you select the maximum picture
size available and that you export each layer separately. You should not
save the result as a blended panorama.

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The result of this step is that you have a couple of perfectly aligned images which can be used to create a HDR in Photomatix.

Step 3: Creating a HDR in Photomatix:
Now we can start creating the HDR file in Photomatix. To start, click on the HDR menu and select Generate. You will get the following screen. Here you can select which files to import:

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If you did step 2, load the files created with PTGui. If not, just load the original image files.

Original image files will have the EXIF still attached, which means that Photomatix will automatically detect the exposure of the images. With PTGui files you will have to set the exposure values manually. In this case we fill in -2 for the dark shot (2 stops underexposed), 0 for the middle shot, and 2 for the bright shot (2 steps overexposed):

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Next you will get the following screen:

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If you aligned your images using PTGui, always keep the box “Attempt to align images” unchecked. If you took the images with at tripod you can check this box. I always chose “Attempt to calculate tone curve applied” but I think you can also select one of the other options. I tried the different modes several times and didn’t see much difference between the results.

Photmatix will now create the HDR. If you let it align the images, this will take a bit longer. The result will look terrible. Don’t be afraid, though. It will get better in the next step.

Step 4: Tone Mapping
Tone mapping is by far the most important step of the process. The tone mapping can be started by going to the HDR menu and selecting Tone Mapping. You will get the following screen:

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Here is a small list of the things you can set and the result these things will have:

Strength: I generally set this at 80 or 90. Be careful not to set this too high, it may make the result look unrealistic. Even at medium settings, the program will still enhance the details. The strenght must be set low if the light smoothing is reduced (see below).

Colour Saturation: It is default, and you can keep it that way. The program is not very consistent when it comes to saturation. It often looks different than the preview. It is therefore easier to set this later in Photoshop.

Light smoothing: This must generally be set at the highest setting. Setting this lower will only give good results if you severly reduce the Strength of the tonemapping. If you set this slider in the middle, the strength must be lower than 50%. One step lower will force you to reduce the strength below 30%.

Luminosity: The way this has to be set varies from image to image. Most of the time, you can keep this in the center. Sometimes, moving it to the right or left will improve the contrast.

Micro Smoothing: Setting this high will reduce the noise, but also the local contrast. I generally keep this at 3 or 4. I get little noise that way, but retain much of the local contrast.

White Clip and Black Clip: These can be used to enhance the contrast. Setting them higher will give a higher contrast. Be careful, though. Setting this higher will make you loose detail in the highlights or shadows. I generally keep the sliders no more than 3 or 4 clicks from the left.

You can save the settings. However, different scenes will often require different settings, so there is not much point in doing this.

Photmatix also has a Tone Compressor mode in the Tone Mapping screen. I find that this mode will generally give a lot less interesting results. The results are a lot more dull. Therefore, I will not discus that mode now.

If your done, click OK and check the result. Sometimes it looks a lot different than in the preview. If that is the case, you can undo the tonemapping (HDR >> Undo Tone Mapping) and try again with different settings, until you are happy.
After that, save the image and exit.

Step 5: Finishing the HDR
A HDR made in Photmatix often requires some work in Photoshop. Here are a couple of things you can do to make it better:
- Levels: Using levels, you can shift the white or black point a little. In that
way you can give the scene more contrast.
- Curves: Using curves, you can make the shadows a bit brighter, darken the
highlights, or increase the contrast. As a rule of thumb, you can say that
the steeper the curve, the higher the contrast is. With careful use, you can
raise the contrast without destroying any of the highlights.
- Unsharp Mask: The unsharp mask can be used in two way. First, if your
scene looks a bit dull, you can raise the local contrast to make it more
dramatic. This can be done by selecting values such as (20, 50, 0) – a high
radius with a low strength. Secondly, you can sharpen the picture with
values such as (80, 1, 0) – high strength with a small radius.
- Hue/Saturation: Using this tool you can adjust the saturation of the result
to your liking and reduce colour casts resulting from the process. This last
thing can also be done using the colour balance tool.
- Burn tool: If you raised the white clip in Photomatix too high, you can
sometimes recover this a little using the burn tool. This is sometimes easier
then setting it lower in Photomatix, because with the white clip at very low
values, Photomatix will output a very dull file requiring lots of work in
Photoshop.

Sometimes it is hard to get the colours right. In that case, you can also convert the image to black and white. HDR images will often make amazing black and whites. This can of course also be done with HDRs for which you did get the colour right.

Step 6: The Result
If you are happy with the way it looks in Photoshop, you are finally finished. Here’s the result I got with the example image:

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Note that many people have different tastes when it comes to HDR. Some like realistic results, while others like the crazy colours and contrast some HDRs have. There is no right or wrong here. Just experiment and try to find what you like best.

Some more notes

HDRs with a single RAW file
You can create HDRs with a single RAW file. A Raw file has a bit more latitude than a JPEG file, which can be used for the HDR. However, more often than not, the single RAW file does not cover the entire range, which will cause weak results. Also, this method may result in a lot of noise in the shadows. Finally, you can often achieve the same results with a RAW converter. Nikon Capture NX has D-Lighting and control point with which you can do almost the same thing.
In any case, it is not necessary to create different exposures. Photomatix accepts raw files and can Tone Map them without further action. It may give a colour cast to the picture, but that can easily be fixed in photoshop.

HDRs with a single JPEG file
This cannot be done. A JPEG has not enough dynamic range. Creating different exposures will not help; details lost in highlights or shadows cannot be recovered. Instead of trying this, you can also play around with tools like the shadow-highlight tool, curves and the unsharp mask. This will do a much better job in raising shadows, darkening highlights and enhancing details.

HDRs without Photomatix
There are other programs to create HDRs. I have not tried any of them, but I suppose decent results can be achieved with these programs too. I have tried the Photoshop plug-in, but I find that Photomatix works a lot easier.

DSLRs vs. Compacts
You can create HDRs with any type of camera, as long as you can set the exposure manually. Most Compact cameras do not have bracketing, which might make it more difficult, but it can be done.

Using TIFF
If you shoot RAW, you can deserve some of the extra dynamic range by working in 16 bits TIFF throughout the process. This will theoretically give better results. All programs used here, support 16 bit TIFF files. However, using TIFF will slow the process down enormously and it will require a lot of memory. Personally I find that the benefits of using TIFF are too small, so I work in JPEG all through the process.

coldrain
06-29-2007, 08:18 AM
Hi Prospero... here is a semi-DRI/HDR.
(DRI = Dynamic Range Increase)
The top photo is the standard RAW developed photo.
The 2nd one is the result of developing the RAW at -2EV, 0EV and +2EV, then running them through Photomatix Pro. No alignment needed here, of course.

Prospero
07-01-2007, 07:18 AM
Nice picture, Coldy. The treatment with photomatix definitly improves the picture by strengthening the autumn atmosphere.

In these situations I don't use HDR most of the time, though. I use Nikon Capture NX which has a tool called D-Lighting. Using this tool, you can brighten the shadows and darken the highlights.
The tool uses the extra dynamic range of the RAW file, and therefore gives great results. It is also a lot quicker than creating several versions and blending those.

By the way, did you try to import the raw file with Photomatix yet? I found that it can also tone map a single raw file, so that there is no need to create multiple exposures.

coldrain
07-02-2007, 08:37 AM
When you use 3 RAW-developed "exposures", you have the ability to selectively filter noise, and you can determine the whitebalance in teh RAW convertor. So it does have at least these two advantages...

Rooz
07-02-2007, 06:10 PM
one of the best tutorials i have ever read.
thanks for taking the time m8. faved for sure. :)

Prospero
07-05-2007, 03:13 PM
one of the best tutorials i have ever read.
thanks for taking the time m8. faved for sure. :)

Thanks Rooz. I am glad you like it.

zmikers
07-05-2007, 05:17 PM
one of the best tutorials i have ever read.
thanks for taking the time m8. faved for sure. :)

Yup! Love to see people putting so much effort into helping out. Cheers:D Hopefully I can do the samefor someone in need one day

Wirraway
07-13-2007, 03:06 AM
Thank you Prospero for this great tutorial, I found it very informative indeed, up untill now I've been using HiTech graduated neutral density filters and will give Photomatix a try in the near future.

Sony DSC-F707 using 2 x HiTech GND filters:

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/119/293762001_7eeaa13da7_o.jpg

debu_17
07-13-2007, 12:25 PM
i saved the full tutorial, and am going thru it, step by step, as if a text book.

i have not seen a more lucid treatment of the subject, with examples , even in the trade magazines.

Prospero, many thanks for it.

Robert Besen
07-13-2007, 07:38 PM
Beautiful image, Wirraway.

Gintaras
08-30-2007, 02:06 AM
Prospero, great tutorial, most helpful. G.THX!!!

Bynx
09-13-2007, 05:38 AM
Prospero would you mind giving me any advice on my first HDR pics. The subject is boring but I was interested in the effect. Thanks so much.

Prospero
09-13-2007, 10:49 AM
Prospero would you mind giving me any advice on my first HDR pics. The subject is boring but I was interested in the effect. Thanks so much.

I think you did pretty well. The entire scene is well exposed for both cases. The picture looks realistic and does not suffer from halos.

One thing you could improve on is keeping the white clip a bit lower, so you can get more detail in some of the highlights.
This may make your image a bit less contrasty, but you can improve that in Photoshop with the curves tool.

Zmikers, Wirraway, debu 17, thanks for the replies. I'm glad you liked the tutorial. I am sorry for replying so late, I hadn't checked this thread in a while.

erichlund
09-13-2007, 12:43 PM
For those of you that can either not afford Photoshop, or just don't intend to pay that much for an editor, the newest version of Paint Shop Pro, designated X2, has added HDR capability. If you buy the full version, it's about $100, the upgrade is about $60. There's a free trial that has some capabilities crippled, but does have the new HDR capability. That's what I'm currently using while I wait for the boxed version to arrive in the mail.

My first attempt with this was rather disappointing. It worked, but I could have done as well with Capture NX control points, and it somewhat wrecked my colors.

However, there are several potential reasons for this. First, I was using a single image with software generated exposure compensations for the bracketing. I understand this is not optimal. Also, at the time, I had just installed the application, and it was not correctly set up to work with the default colorspace, so it was making colorspace conversions of each of the photos as it loaded them, the likely culprit for the wrecked colors.

I will play with it more this weekend, using some genuinely bracketed shots, to see if I can get some good results out of it.

Bynx
09-13-2007, 01:22 PM
Thanks Prospero for your help. My Fuji S-700 has bracketing but only + or - 1 f-stop max. Next time I will try 2 f-stop manually. But the clouds were moving pretty fast yesterday so I relied on the cameras auto bracketing feature. I suppose 2 f-stop difference between pics will result in better range in the final. Thanks again. This HDR is pretty good, a bit of work but worth it. Now its a matter of finding the right subject to really make it shine.

Prospero
09-13-2007, 01:51 PM
Thanks Prospero for your help. My Fuji S-700 has bracketing but only + or - 1 f-stop max. Next time I will try 2 f-stop manually. But the clouds were moving pretty fast yesterday so I relied on the cameras auto bracketing feature. I suppose 2 f-stop difference between pics will result in better range in the final. Thanks again. This HDR is pretty good, a bit of work but worth it. Now its a matter of finding the right subject to really make it shine.

The source images are fine here. The detail of the clouds is there in the underexposed image. In this situation you wouldn't need an image with an even lower exposure. The loss of detail in the highlights is only a result of the settings in Photomatix
By the way, if the clouds are moving fast, the results will be better with bracketing, even it means you miss some detail.

Thanks for sharing the info on paint shop pro, Eric. I am curious to see the results you can get with the program.

faisal
09-18-2007, 07:13 AM
great tutorial...I had no idea what HDR was...now I know everything I need to know for HDR photography....thanx.... :D

TheObiJuan
09-18-2007, 04:31 PM
Haha, this is awesome.
I just got back into HDR this week since I now have a DSLR again.
I now have the latest version of Photomatix and love it.

I found your tutorial very helpful.
Here are some other sites dedicated to HDR.

http://www.naturescapes.net/072006/rh0706_1.htm
http://hdrphotos.net/content/view/11/25/
http://www.vanilladays.com/hdr-guide/ <stunning work>

NOTE: I usually take the photo from Photomatix into PS to adjust contrast with curves, punch up the colors, and make the pic more real.
I notice it makes the photo a lot better.

NoobS3
09-18-2007, 04:44 PM
For those who can't afford anything, theres a free software out there for use with HDRI. http://sourceforge.net/projects/qtpfsgui/

toriaj
09-18-2007, 10:40 PM
I tried qtpfsgui, and couldn't get good results. Have you? Can you post examples with your settings?

Razr
09-19-2007, 11:48 AM
The rules of photography have not changed because of digital. Many say there is no need for filters in that the digital camera and Photoshop et.al can “mimic” filter effects.
Even as that is 100% true, post processing should be used to finalize your
shots, not “fix” them.
For HDR images then, the proper application and judicious use of ND and/or Polaroid filters (all Polaroid filters are also one-stop ND filters) will make most HDR images “behave”.

For example: you have a three to four stop foreground-sky image (as in the representative OP images).

Technique one: in full manual mode, meter the foreground , then set the readings on your camera.
Spin on a Polaroid, recompose, adjust and shoot.

Technique two: in full manual mode, meter the foreground, setting the reading on your camera.
Spin on a ND grad/ND filter, recompose and shoot.

Technique three: in full manual mode, meter the foreground, setting the reading on your camera.
Using a bellows hood (w/slots), add Polaroid/NDs to suit to bring the exposure into proper exposure balance.

Many photographers do not own ultra-sophisticated cameras with on-board filter modes nor Photoshop or anything close to PS.
Most amateur shooters with P&S cameras are happy with blown-out (HRD) skies as opposed to ten to fifteen minutes per image manipulations while more assiduous shooters don’t seem to mind fixing the occassional** HDR shot.

**The “pros”, me among them, generally use filters in that the proper filters do what filters are designed to do: modify incoming light in order to help balance exposures.
Better taking 20 seconds to spin on an ND or Polarizer filter than spending minutes per image post processing keepers.
Even better, our workflow is minimized whenever we use filters.

TheObiJuan
09-19-2007, 02:56 PM
Although I agree with your use of filters, the use of multiple exposures is required for MANY types of HDR images where a ND or other filter would not cut it.

Example: Inside a church with stained glass windows.
I tried this with a 2 stop ND filter and got poor results. It took multiple exposures.
Film has more latitude for EV range, remember that.

Bynx
09-19-2007, 03:09 PM
I have a Fuji S-700 camera. When I put a polarizing filter on it I cant see any difference when I rotate it. Is there a reason for this? Also when you add filters to do different effects such as ND, Polarizing, Close-up etc. does this not affect the sharpness of the image. There is certainly a lot more work making sure all the lenses are pristine clean. Ive used filters on my 35mm for years. And Ive used Photoshop for years. I prefer Photoshop by a mile because you can do so much more than just fix a picture. Filters or Software are tools. Each to his/her own.

TheObiJuan
09-19-2007, 04:44 PM
Filters tend to reduce sharpness and introduce flare and ghosting.

Is your polarizing filter a linear or circular?

Razr
09-20-2007, 09:43 AM
Although I agree with your use of filters, the use of multiple exposures is required for MANY types of HDR images HDR is digispeak for "High contrast shot" and that usually meaning more than 3 stops between high and low contrast.
...usually where a ND or other filter would not cut it. There are some shots you should never make: a four-hundred yard shot on a Moose with a 30-30 rifle for example (I know but an impossible shot is most times also unwise-Moose or Church window.
Example: Inside a church with stained glass windows. I tried this with a 2 stop ND filter and got poor results. It took multiple exposures. May have used the wrong technique.
I would have used the back of a pew or any solid support to steady the shooting platform.
Next, I would have spot metered the walls near the windows for an ambient reading, set that on my camera in full manual mode, covered the lens with a ND .6 and shot.
Alternately, I could have used an ND-Polarizer combination then made the shot.
Film has more latitude for EV range, remember that. using the proper exposure technique, that Church shot could have easily been made with ISO 25 film.
Technique masters gadgetry nearly every time.

Bynx
09-20-2007, 10:52 AM
ObiJuan my polarizing filter is a linear one. Its given me many years of good service on my 35mm camera. I guess I probably need a circular one for my digital Fuji S-700. I also agree about flare and ghosting when you start stacking filters on your lens.
Raz, Im not sure what you are trying to say. Is this a debate over HDR vs. Filter photography? I imagine everyone would like to take the perfect picture every time. But the price of cameras dont allow this for most of us. Besides a great photo will always be one which was 'fixed' in one way or another. Photoshop or a program similar makes it relatively easy for everyone to be able to make that photo look exactly the way they want. HDR is a pretty good method to really make photos shine. I suppose anything can be done with filters. But photography is often spontaneous and HDR certainly fits the bill for that. Fiddling with filters etc to get your shot is, to me, a waste of time better spent getting that shot. I really cant see how you can argue against the tools people use to get their photo the way they want. One other thing I have to take exception with is your statement that the rules of photography havent changed since the introduction of digital cameras. The principles havent changed but the rules certainly have. Light doesnt work exactly the same on film as it does digitally. Allowances have to be made for this. You have to play by the new set of rules. If anything I would say digital pics are the opposite to film pics. With film you can always improve the overexosed areas and are stuck wtih the underexposed areas. With digital you can improve the underexposed areas and are stuck wtih the overexposed areas.

Razr
09-20-2007, 02:49 PM
(SNIP) I also agree about flare and ghosting when you start stacking filters on your lens. A proper fitting lens hood (Which every camera should have), filters or not, stops most flare and ghosting, especially at night.

Raz, Im not sure what you are trying to say. Is this a debate over HDR vs. Filter photography? I merely stated that the proper use of filters can lower the contrast in an HDR (2-3-4 stop) exposure: no debate: fact.
There are those who have never owned a film camera nor a film SLR. Those of us who have know a 3 to 4 stop image is trouble. We more often than not didn’t even bother to shoot. But then again we own and use hand-held light meters which told us what we were up against.
In those instances where we had to shoot, we long ago figured out how to balance 2-3-4 stop exposures with Polarizers and ND filters.
It is no difference with exposing with sensors. It’s even better: my Oly E-500 and E-510, along with my Panny “superzooms”, tell me when I’ve entered HDR territory.
Those of who know what to do about shooting in HDR territory-do it with filters.
I imagine everyone would like to take the perfect picture every time. But you also have to learn when there are diminishing returns and simply don’t shoot 3-4 stop images.
But the price of cameras dont allow this for most of us. Patience and an adroit skill level with nearly every camera with full adjustments makes many more “perfect images” in the camera than does post processing.
Besides a great photo will always be one which was 'fixed' in one way or another. That is not an argument which would hold sway with the Pulitzer Prize committee. As you know, their prize winning images tell stories and with a caption, reveal much truth.
Pulitzer images are also “found images”: what you see what was “…seen at the scene”: no post processing allowed.
And most “great” “artistic/” images are [i]planned, not spur of the moment.
Photoshop or a program similar makes it relatively easy for everyone to be able to make that photo look exactly the way they want. “The way they want” (or recall) being the operative phrase.

HDR is a pretty good method to really make photos shine. HDR images never get inside my cameras. I will [I]not spend the time to correct what is 9 out of 10 times a mistake I made.
I suppose anything can be done with filters. But photography is often spontaneous and HDR certainly fits the bill for that. But remember, you do not have to shoot HDR shots-ever.
Fiddling with filters etc to get your shot is, to me, a waste of time better spent getting that shot. Not to those of us who don’t shoot HDR shots.
Besides, a skilled photographer knows when they may likely be in an HDR environment and is already prepared to shoot so no “fiddling” is needed.
I really cant see how you can argue against the tools people use to get their photo the way they want. I cannot see why they should waste time “post processing” if they are prepared in the first place.
As for “…the way they want”: unless theyhave a serious artistic bent, “they”, like me and you, want perfectly exposed, perfectly composed images.
A cook who is to prepare a dinner must have all the ingredients on hand before they begin.
A skilled photographer, like the cook, should never find themselves wanting for equipment to do the job correctly.

Coming from the “old school”, I often remind others of the seminal question my Dad often asked us as he assigned chores:
“If you don’t take time to do it right, when are you going to find the time to do it over”?
One other thing I have to take exception with is your statement that the rules of photography havent changed since the introduction of digital cameras. The principles havent changed but the rules certainly have. Light doesnt work exactly the same on film as it does digitally. Light is one of the immutable universal constants and acts the same no matter what the circumstances.
i.e.: an f/2.8 aperture, regardless of the actual dimension of the hole, passes the same light values (f/2.8) through to the film plane/sensor; an immutable law of physics.
And yes, light striking digital sensors through "analog" lenses certainly does have trouble but that is not the fault of light but an on-going poor lens-sensor interface paradigm.
Allowances have to be made for this. You have to play by the new set of rules. Not regarding exposure values.
If anything I would say digital pics are the opposite to film pics. With film you can always improve the overexosed areas and are stuck wtih the underexposed areas. Dead Wrong. OK, half wrong: only slide/transparency film acts as you suggest.
What most who shoot digital do not know is you must shoot digital precisely the same way you shoot slides: which is why so many digital shots have “blocked up” shadows if you do not.
1/3rd stop or more underexposure (dialed into the body) usually gets you dead on exposures with digital and slides both.
[i]1/3rd stop or more underexposures with print film gets you grain (noise) at any ISO. So you must bone up on exposing slide film to make more perfect digital images.
With digital you can improve the underexposed areas and are stuck wtih the overexposed areas. Not if you make it habit of using the proper filters. :D:D

TheObiJuan
09-20-2007, 03:00 PM
HDR is digispeak for "High contrast shot" and that usually meaning more than 3 stops between high and low contrast.

No kidding, you're telling me this why? I'm fully aware of the definition, but it seems you've hopped into another thread to flame bait.
-Hook, Line, and Sinker....

Methinks your intent here is insidious (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=insidious).




There are some shots you should never make: a four-hundred yard shot on a Moose with a 30-30 rifle for example (I know but an impossible shot is most times also unwise-Moose or Church window. May have used the wrong technique.

Is there a painting that should never be painted, a sculpture never sculpted, or drawing never drawn?
It's ridiculous to make a claim like this. There should never be any limitation to art.

I can see you criticizing photographers a hundred years ago that would hand paint photographs to add color. You would have said the colors are not accurate enough or true, so we should wait around for COLOR film to be developed!
High HDR sensors are on there way, give it time.



I would have used the back of a pew or any solid support to steady the shooting platform.
Next, I would have spot metered the walls near the windows for an ambient reading, set that on my camera in full manual mode, covered the lens with a ND .6 and shot.

Why not a tripod? You assume a .6 is enough, but throw it out like if you know how much dynamic range would exist in the frame.



Alternately, I could have used an ND-Polarizer combination then made the shot. using the proper exposure technique, that Church shot could have easily been made with ISO 25 film.
Technique masters gadgetry nearly every time.

I'm aware of this possibility, hence the mention of film.

I do not see how implementing exposure blending from multiple photographs qualifies for the level of disdain you show. Is it because it is captured on a digital medium?
Would you be more accepting if it were captured on film and manually blended using film techniques in a darkroom?

Prospero
09-20-2007, 04:52 PM
While I agree that filters can help improve the image saving you time in the post processing, there are many situations where they will not do any good.

For instance the church shot described by ObiJuan. A polarizing filter would not do any good, because the light coming through the windows is not polarized. The only thing the polarizer might do is cut out the reflected light from parts of the interior of the church (which would be a bad thing). A ND filter will lower the exposure value of the entire scene (so no advantage here either). A ND grad would absolutely not be an option in this scene.

If you go to my flickr gallery, you will find a HDR I took in a church. Granted, I could have used an exposure two stops below the pictures I blended to retain even more detail in the stained glass windows, but the result is a lot better than it could have been with a single exposure. No matter how many filters would have to be used.

For the record, the picture I used as an example in this thread was taken by using a polarizing filter, which, if you look at the three exposures was not enough. True, a ND grad could have been used since the horizon is straight, but in many cases the horizon is not.

When shooting high contrast scenes in a city, a straight horizon occurs only rarely. In mountainious landscapes there are no straight horizons either. Additionally, when there is a tree in the foreground, the use of ND grads would create a change in exposure of the tree.

Furthermore, as the others said, the use of filter can cause flare and ghosting. I agree that a lens hood can prevent flare, but ghosting may still occur, especially when strong light sources are in the picture (the setting sun for instance). Along with that, they can cause inner reflections which may make the picture look hazy.

Now, regarding the desire to get shots as good as possible in camera; I am all for that. However, not in all situations satisfactory results can be obtained, no matter how hard you try.
Also, shooting digital means that a lot can be corrected, especially if you shoot RAW. If I use ISO200 I can change the exposure by up to 2 f-stops with hardly any degradation in image quality. Getting the perfect exposure in camera is desirable, but if you don't get it exactly right, you can still get fantastic results.

Much like using filters, HDR is a technique. It is not just gadgetry. The fact that the technique has only become availabe when people started shooting digital does not mean that it is nothing but gadgetry.
And like using filters, HDR does not work in every situation. In situations where there is a lot of movement for instance, the technique will not work. In strongly backlit scenes where there is no detail in the sky to speak of I don't use the technique either. In fact, I often don't take the shot at all.
But let me emphasize that there are many situations where the technique can make the difference between getting the shot or getting a badly exposed picture.

Besides, it is not like the technique is entirely new. Exposure blending was already done with film. Also, in the film era, photography was not entirely post processing free either. There are many darkroom techniques like dodging and burning which were used to get the result the photographer had in mind and it was not just to correct mistakes either.

I don't care that you can not win the Pulitzer price when you post process heavily. The price is geared toward press photography, which is entirely different from what I am doing.

Finally, we are shooting digital. The rules of photography may not have changed (for as far as they exist, anyway), but there are many new techniques that have opened up allowing us to get the result we want.
Why not use those techniques??
In the end it is the result that matters.

Razr
09-20-2007, 05:17 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Razr
HDR is digispeak for "High contrast shot" and that usually meaning more than 3 stops between high and low contrast.
No kidding, you're telling me this why? We both know I was not addressing you.

I'm fully aware of the definition, but it seems you've hopped into another thread to flame bait.
-Hook, Line, and Sinker....

Methinks your intent here is insidious. I speak (spoke) as a person who addresses the topic whereas you have not. I spoke as a person who genuinely intended to input new information in the thread so the OP could use that new knowledge in his quiver of photographic skills. I also know what I am is talking about; no other motive attends my input as you infer and innsiuate.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Razr
There are some shots you should never make: a four-hundred yard shot on a Moose with a 30-30 rifle for example (I know but an impossible shot is most times also unwise-Moose or Church window. May have used the wrong technique.
Is there a painting that should never be painted, a sculpture never sculpted, or drawing never drawn? As skilled as I was in drawing the comparison between the futilty of shooting Moose with a .30-.30 and shooting "HDR" images, you still missed it.
Of course you would, in your attempt to draw me into your trite game, say things that have nothing to do with the OP topic.
There are shots which should not/never be made: period. Any dolt knows that.
It's ridiculous to make a claim like this. Only because you insist on taking my post and comments out of context.
There should never be any limitation to art. ?
I can see you criticizing photographers a hundred years ago that would hand paint photographs to add color. More of the same oblique comment that borders on silly.
You would have said the colors are not accurate enough or true, so we should wait around for COLOR film to be developed! And where, in any part of this thread, did I "critisize" anyone?
High HDR sensors are on there way, give it time. ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Razr
I would have used the back of a pew or any solid support to steady the shooting platform.
Next, I would have spot metered the walls near the windows for an ambient reading, set that on my camera in full manual mode, covered the lens with a ND .6 and shot.


Why not a tripod? Right! Set up a tripod in a Church.
You assume a .6 is enough, but throw it out like if you know how much dynamic range would exist in the frame. You (and others) insist on calling such church shots "high dynamic range" when what it was/is is a 2-3-4 stop high contrast shot. That I know how to shoot without post processing or the tedious job of "blending", as I suggest in all my posts in this thread.
And no, a .6 ND is where you start. Then again, having used (ND filters) for decades, experience was speaking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Razr
Alternately, I could have used an ND-Polarizer combination then made the shot. using the proper exposure technique, that Church shot could have easily been made with ISO 25 film.
Technique masters gadgetry nearly every time.


I'm aware of this possibility, hence the mention of film.

I do not see how implementing exposure blending from multiple photographs qualifies for the level of disdain you show. Who's picking a fight, casting asperisions now? "Disdain"? Offering a valid, provable alternative methodology for mastering high contrast (HDR) shots is "disdain"? On what planet?
Is it because it is captured on a digital medium? As I noted, you don't have to shoot "HDR" shots. And if you must, use filters, in particular when using an SLR, which means no excuses and laboring over a monitor to get what you could have if you (photographers) knew how to use filters.

Would you be more accepting if it were captured on film and manually blended using film techniques in a darkroom? No because "blending" would not be needed if you made use of the proper filters in the first place: my main and only point.

TheObiJuan
09-20-2007, 05:20 PM
Ik ga met uw beweringen akkoord.
Good job, Prospero. :)

Prospero
09-20-2007, 05:25 PM
A church is absolutely not a 2-3-4 stop scene, at least not during daytime.

8-10 stops would be much more accurate. The most under/overexposed shots that I took for the picture in my flickr gallery were 8 stops appart and still did not cover the full dynamic range.

But this does not mean that the shot should not be taken simply because the dynamic range is too high.

Prospero
09-20-2007, 05:30 PM
Ik ga met uw beweringen akkoord.
Good job, Prospero. :)

Dank u, TheObiJuan :). U spreekt dus ook Nederlands? Komt u hier vandaan of spreekt u maar een paar woorden Nederlands?

Bynx
09-20-2007, 06:48 PM
Well, this has been a hell of a day here. Ive enjoyed reading every word. I appreciate you tearing apart my post to you Razr and I will be reading your reply a couple more times. This is the food of stuff that will help us all be better photographers. I have to admit to you that Ive used filters for many years with my 35mm. I dont have them all but certainly more than my share. I also know how to use Photoshop and I prefer that to using filters. In my mind I want the best picture I can get with my camera, raw without any filters then doing my post production on the computer. Simply because I enjoy that. Having said that, I will be using my filters a little more after having read what you have said. Is there any way that Prospero and Razr can show us their best example of each type of High Dynamic Range shot? Get together and set your limits and then lets see the difference between filters and Photomatix.

AdamW
09-20-2007, 08:54 PM
Please don't feed the trolls. :cool:

Bynx
09-20-2007, 09:26 PM
Please don't feed the trolls. :cool:

What the hell is that supposed to mean?

TheObiJuan
09-21-2007, 01:13 AM
Dank u, TheObiJuan :). U spreekt dus ook Nederlands? Komt u hier vandaan of spreekt u maar een paar woorden Nederlands?

Ik spreek slechts een weinig nederlands; ik heb vrienden van amsterdam.

TheObiJuan
09-21-2007, 01:35 AM
What the hell is that supposed to mean?


Perhaps its a reference to Razr's pention for hopping into threads and stirring things up.

Razr
09-21-2007, 03:10 AM
Perhaps its a reference to Razr's pention(SIC) for hopping into threads and stirring things up."Stirring things up"?
So to you, my offering those who don't have the time, imaging programs or skills (or the need for undue machinations) a time proven method first to identify, then successfully shoot high contrast ("HDR") scenes with filters is "stirring things up"?
I must then presume you have a workable alternative to the OP (or my) solutions when shooting high contrast (HDR) scenes?

TheObiJuan
09-21-2007, 04:52 AM
Stirring things up with your tone, positions, and knack for argument mongering.
It is my belief that you form strong opinions and feel a need to justify it to everyone.

Workable solutions?
I gave references to other tutorials and HDR websites.
I also gave info on my techniques to improving the images.

I suppose once again you are firm in your belief, and like a Crusading Knight, you will not stop your indignation of HDR photographers for not using potentially ineffective filtering.

I suppose this image should never have been captured.
Poor Pete Carr, I'll send him an email and tell him to give up HDR if a ND filter wont make the shot.
http://www.vanilladays.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/IMG_4167_9_8-2.jpg


Feel free to roam around:
http://www.vanilladays.com/gallery/category/hdr

Vich
09-21-2007, 09:48 AM
Stirring things up with your tone, positions, and knack for argument mongering.
It is my belief that you form strong opinions and feel a need to justify it to everyone.

Workable solutions?
I gave references to other tutorials and HDR websites.
I also gave info on my techniques to improving the images.

I suppose once again you are firm in your belief, and like a Crusading Knight, you will not stop your indignation of HDR photographers for not using potentially ineffective filtering.

I suppose this image should never have been captured.
Poor Pete Carr, I'll send him an email and tell him to give up HDR if a ND filter wont make the shot.
http://www.vanilladays.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/IMG_4167_9_8-2.jpg


Feel free to roam around:
http://www.vanilladays.com/gallery/category/hdr

Off topic. Wow, Interesting similarity of churches! See this post.
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showpost.php?p=3907710&postcount=10

AdamW
09-21-2007, 03:08 PM
What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Re-read some of the posts in this thread--and other threads posted in by the same folks--in light of this. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29)

TheObiJuan
09-21-2007, 03:21 PM
Off topic. Wow, Interesting similarity of churches! See this post.
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showpost.php?p=3907710&postcount=10

What an uncanny resemblance of style!
Good catch, Vich!

Bynx
09-21-2007, 03:22 PM
Gee I learn something new every day. Sometimes its stupid stuff like this troll thing. But its kind of funny too. I wondered about the reason someone would just be so contemptable against HDR method described in Prosperos tutorial. I thought it was Filters vs. Digital PP. Which is a bit ridiculous because no amount of filters can do what Digital PP is capable of. Assuming we are talking about a single filtered shot vs. 3 or 4 bracketed shots assembled with Photomatrix and Photoshop. I think the church interior shots in this thread are absolutely stunning. The last one here looks like a high quality piece of art done at the height of Disney animation.

Vich
09-21-2007, 04:51 PM
Gee I learn something new every day. Sometimes its stupid stuff like this troll thing. But its kind of funny too. I wondered about the reason someone would just be so contemptable against HDR method described in Prosperos tutorial. I thought it was Filters vs. Digital PP. Which is a bit ridiculous because no amount of filters can do what Digital PP is capable of. Assuming we are talking about a single filtered shot vs. 3 or 4 bracketed shots assembled with Photomatrix and Photoshop. I think the church interior shots in this thread are absolutely stunning. The last one here looks like a high quality piece of art done at the height of Disney animation.
Funny coincidence. In that thread I linked, the guy was making the point that he didn't like how Photoshop unstretches things, as opposed to the old fashioned way of shooting it that way.

Razr
09-21-2007, 10:31 PM
Stirring things up with your tone, positions, and knack for argument mongering. Debate, formal or informal, always has as part of its structure those who posit or advance a theory for one side and those who posit another, some even positing a parallax view for the other.
You have done neither in two separate threads. Your only contributions have been baseless and accusatory (as above) or libelous.
Worse, you do not (never) advance a theory or posit of your own, just moan like an abandoned child.
As in another thread, it is you who was the first to cast unwarranted aspersions.

I am allowed to post my opinion in a thread and furthermore, I am expected to defend my theory or posit, which you, with your unneeded interuption, try to stop.
You are expected to take one side or the other, lending new or ancillary information to the discussion.
Instead, you lend or add nothing to this or any other thread I've been involved in.
It is my belief that you form strong opinions and feel a need to justify it to everyone. Tell me (us) what you can add (or have you added) to one or the other posit in this thread? Anything?
As for my “strong opinion”, I taught photography, have written books on the craft and know, with the same certainty I know my home address about even the most difficult exposure techniques: to wit: high contrast (HDR) exposure, something you perhaps learned in the past 12 years or so but something I have known for at least four decades.
(SNIP) I gave references to other tutorials and HDR websites.
I also gave info on my techniques to improving the images. Which should, if sound techniques, serve those who choose to follow them with good results.
I suppose once again you are firm in your belief, and like a Crusading Knight, There you by-damn go again, with baseless inferential slurs.
I know what I know and know this, again with a certainty I know the President of The United States, I can execute my high contrast exposure techniques with filters and a manual operation dry to dry JOBO processor whereas you are adrift without your computer, which I also would not need.
Your argument against filters (the decades old-100% proven alternative for those who need to balance exposures without computers or Photoshop) rings hollow in the face of years of evidence and experience to the contrary.
It is you who seems to be the Hamlin Piper, energetically eschewing a logical alternative for the mores of digital manipulation of images.
…you will not stop your indignation(SIC) ?
of HDR photographers for not using potentially ineffective filtering. As the saying goes: “I could care less” which technique a photographer uses to overcome the many problems inherit in high contrast images, even the OP technique.
But what I have seen of the HDR technique as promoted here, demonstrates a very convoluted, time wearing-even difficult to leaarn paradigm in order to be able to achieve a positive result.
I suppose this image should never have been captured. What I have seen of the technique (bracketing, insuring two of the shots are over/under exposed) then performing the tedious chores of making the heavily manipulated images “sync”, says the technique might be less tortuous if the foundation (first image) was properly filtered, then exposed: again, my only point.
As I looked at the OP (middle-more than likely "correct" image), I wondered why proper Photoshop procedures simply were not applied to it?
Poor Pete Carr, I'll send him an email and tell him to give up HDR if a ND filter wont make the shot. You’d be wrong in that you would be advising him incorrectly.

TheObiJuan
09-22-2007, 12:56 AM
I could respond to all of your "points" but then I would just be joining your game.
Since you showed up in this thread, the subject has changed from HDR to you. I've had enough.http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/6287/270850donotfeedtrollay6.jpg


BACK ON TOPIC: (ie, not addressed to RAZR)

Anyone want to start some regular submissions? A themed HDR submission, for fun?
Perhaps a theme this week of stairs and incorporating HDR into the mix?

Razr
09-22-2007, 05:42 AM
I could respond to all of your "points" but then I would just be joining your game.
Since you showed up in this thread, the subject has changed from HDR to you. I've had enough. Wasn't it you who attacked me first (post #28) while I was defending filters (submitted by me as a proven alternative to HDR) manipulations?
How is it then that you now have forgotten it was you who first personalized this thread in post #28 by addressing me-directly:
but it seems you've hopped into another thread to flame bait.
-Hook, Line, and Sinker....

Methinks your intent here is insidious.
Who was trolling then?
Holding yourself out as an innocent victim in this thread shows who the real agent provocateur is and has been.

Worse, you continued your personalized harangue against me here: (your post #38[i]):

Originally Posted by Bynx
What the hell is that supposed to mean? and you again cast the aspersion by personal attack:

Perhaps its a reference to Razr's pention(SIC) for hopping into threads and stirring things up.
You continued your personalized attack in post #40 and again in post #47.
In each post enumerated above it has been your harsh, contemptible personal aggression towards me that tainted the thread, not my answers.

Leave out directed (deliberate) personal attacks when commenting.

Prospero
09-22-2007, 08:14 AM
Wasn't it you who attacked me first (post #28) while I was defending filters (submitted by me as a proven alternative to HDR) manipulations?


Razr, could you post some shots you took where you used filters to deal with the high dynamic range of the scene?

I would be interested to see how you deal with complicated scenes like church interioriors, things in the foregrounds reaching higher than the horizon, mountainious horizons, and bright parts scattered over the picture (say, a lake reflecting a lot of light from a bright sky).

In each of these situations using filters like a ND grad is difficult, since there is no clear division between bright and dark parts. So if you have figured out how to work around that, please show us your results.

TheObiJuan
09-22-2007, 09:52 AM
Look Razr, you don't seem to get it.

You hopped in a thread earlier this week and started spouting off your thoughts, which is fine. But you put it forth in such a manner that you enticed people to challenge it. Perhaps this is how you get your thrills?

Then you feel a justification when challenged to "Defend" yourself.
In this thread you felt it necessary to defend before there even was a challenge.

I was just trying to avoid other people being drawn in as before and banned by pointing out what I and others saw as transparent intentions.

Your actions are transparent.
It is clear you live for debate, discord, and the colorfully written word.
Clearly you would excel at DPreview.com's forums.
Give it a shot.

TheObiJuan
09-22-2007, 09:58 AM
Prospero, I noticed in many of the HDR images posted on http://www.vanilladays.com or elsewhere that the images have so much more detail because rather than losing detail by underexposing and recovering later, the detail is maintained in all portions of the scene by at least one of the many captures.

Prospero
09-23-2007, 08:10 AM
Prospero, I noticed in many of the HDR images posted on http://www.vanilladays.com or elsewhere that the images have so much more detail because rather than losing detail by underexposing and recovering later, the detail is maintained in all portions of the scene by at least one of the many captures.

Yes, that is one of the main advantages of HDR using several exposures. You can get an awful lot out of a single raw file taken at a low ISO, but the regions you are trying to recover (be it the shadows or the highlights) will always lack the detail and colour of a seperate exposure.
The image I used to create this tutorial with could technically have been created with the more or less correctly exposed central photograph, but I would never have had the colours and detail in the shadows and highlights.

However, when the most under/over exposed pictures that are needed to cover a scene are only 2 stops apart (a -1, 0, +1 situation) it is often much easier and may even give better results to convert the rawfile using more conventional techniques.
When using high ISO here (for whatever reason), though, HDR may again be better in this situation as the detail in shadows will be worse due to noise. Furthermore, the DR of the sensor decreases at higher ISOs.

erichlund
09-23-2007, 03:05 PM
I had mentioned that PSP X2 now has an HDR capability. I played around with it a little this morning. This shot is nothing to write home about. I just set up the camera in the front yard and pointed it at the clouds over the houses across the street. I set the D200 to take 9 shots, 1EV apart. I converted these to 16bit TIF w/o any editing, and imported them into PSP with the HDR merge tool. The merge tool only has a few controls, and I used it on automatic by accepting it's choices. I does have an align function that probably wasn't necessary, but I let it align the photos and the merge. The following photos represent the original 0EV shot, the 0EV as edited in Capture, the basic merge, and the merge with noise reduction and sharpening. The full series is linked here (http://eric-lund.smugmug.com/gallery/3527256/1/199361784).

http://eric-lund.smugmug.com/photos/199361784-L.jpg
OEV - no editing

http://eric-lund.smugmug.com/photos/199362751-L.jpg
0EV - Edited in Capture: -1EV, White control point, D-Lighting, noise reduction (Capture) and USM

http://eric-lund.smugmug.com/photos/199362721-L.jpg
Merged HDR: No additional editing

http://eric-lund.smugmug.com/photos/199363407-L.jpg
Merged HDR: Noise reduction in Noise Ninja and USM

I am seeing a consistent tendency to shift color a bit in the HDR process, but I don't know if that's the HDR process, or simply the fact that I haven't quite figured out how to keep color consistent between Capture and PSP.

I could have used a little more D-Lighting in Capture to get the same amount of shadow detail as the HDR merge, but I like the saturation better in the Capture edit. Also, I think I was a little strong on the USM in the final HDR.

kgosden
09-23-2007, 09:10 PM
For those who are looking for the more surreal aspect of HDR the following site is pretty interesting: http://stuckincustoms.com/2006/06/06/548/

Bynx
09-23-2007, 09:57 PM
Thats quite the site, thanks so much kgosden.

TheObiJuan
09-23-2007, 11:49 PM
Erich, thanks for the headsup with PSP X2 having HDR!
I wish D-Lighting was available on the canons. It would save PP on many pics.

Kgosden, thanks for the link!

yewsef
09-27-2007, 02:32 AM
I have a question. My camera has Bracketing. Does this mean I dont have to align images? (step 2) and just go directly to the photomatix part? and is bracketing really gives good results? (isn't it better to take separate photos?)

TheObiJuan
09-27-2007, 03:44 AM
Yewsef, bracketing does take separate photos.
Most do this: underexposure, regular exposure, overexposure.
It is best no matter what, to use a tripod.
The Photomatix software does align photos for you, but it doesn't work miracles. In my experience with my version of software, it is automatic and takes a second or two.
I shot 9 frames for one HDR and it aligned, then processed the pics in under 15 seconds.

Bracketing gives the best results for most circumstances.
With extremely bright-dark scenes, more than three exposures will be necessary.

Prospero
09-27-2007, 10:10 AM
Thanks for showing your results with PSP, Eric.
In this situation using D-lighting seems to be enough to get the exposure of the dark parts right. I think it is definitly the better (and easier) approach here.
Have you tried it also with scenes with a higher dynamic range? In the image you posted it seems to me that almost the full dynamic range has been captured the 0EV image.

erichlund
09-27-2007, 01:54 PM
Thanks for showing your results with PSP, Eric.
In this situation using D-lighting seems to be enough to get the exposure of the dark parts right. I think it is definitly the better (and easier) approach here.
Have you tried it also with scenes with a higher dynamic range? In the image you posted it seems to me that almost the full dynamic range has been captured the 0EV image.

Sadly, I'm working like a slave these days, so no, I will have to wait for an opportunity to get some very high dynamic range photos. However, I did gain a small bit of advantage with the HDR, enough to see that it actually works. It did a nice job in the shadow areas while retaining highlights in the clouds.

The first thing I did when modifying the 0EV shot in CaptureNX was to set -1EV, because the clouds were already blown in that shot. Of course, I could have just started with the -1EV shot, but for instructional reasons, I stayed with the most neutral exposure.

One last thing. As usual, I forgot to shift my colorspace to sRGB (I shoot in Mode II, adobeRGB), so on line, these probably are a little more flat than they could have been.

One thing that's nice with the D200 is I can just set the camera for continuous 5 shots/sec, and set bracketing for 9 shots at 1EV spacing. It took under 2 seconds to take the entire sequence, and the camera pauses at the end of the bracketing sequence. The only thing I have to remember to do is set the camera to take the whole sequence in order. The default is to take the 0EV shot first, then take the rest in order from -EV to +EV. It's very annoying later.

coldrain
09-29-2007, 06:39 AM
This is a DRI/HDR image from a single RAW file, that I converted to a +1, +0 and -1 EV 16 bit tiff, then combined them to form a HDR image. which then had its dymanic range compressed with tone mapping.

The difference in the sky colour is curtousy of photoshop, I pulled the blue up a bit.

So on the left the DRI tone mapped image, and on the right the original exposure/capture.

Bynx
09-29-2007, 11:45 AM
Just a bit of boost on the shadow areas.

yewsef
09-30-2007, 01:17 AM
Yewsef, bracketing does take separate photos.
Most do this: underexposure, regular exposure, overexposure.
It is best no matter what, to use a tripod.
The Photomatix software does align photos for you, but it doesn't work miracles. In my experience with my version of software, it is automatic and takes a second or two.
I shot 9 frames for one HDR and it aligned, then processed the pics in under 15 seconds.

Bracketing gives the best results for most circumstances.
With extremely bright-dark scenes, more than three exposures will be necessary.

Thanks a lot TheObiJuan Kanobi :)

AdamW
10-21-2007, 07:08 PM
Here're my first two attempts:

30098



30099

I tried to keep the effect subtle. C&C very welcome.

toriaj
10-21-2007, 09:05 PM
I appreciate the subtlety of your HDRs, Adam. I wouldn't even have known that the first is an HDR. I might have guessed on the second. But they just look well-exposed and natural. (Which is what I prefer -- not everyone does -- but I look forward to seeing more of your work!)

AdamW
10-21-2007, 09:14 PM
Thanks, Tori. The first (the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge with Yerba Buena Island and Oakland in the background) is actually pretty heavily processed. The side of the bridge at camera left was in very dark shadow. But you're right: while I do enjoy some of the more surreal results HDR can achieve, I was looking to get an effect that didn't scream "HDR!"

Bynx
10-28-2007, 03:11 AM
This interior shot of Union Station was done with 6 jpeg files. Id like some comments please.

TheObiJuan
10-28-2007, 04:00 AM
Bynx, that's awesome!
I'd like to know what you did to make it look like a drawing. It has a very unique look to it.

Bynx
10-28-2007, 06:23 AM
I think you are referring to the noise. There was quite a bit of it. I tried my best to reduce it as much as possible but the drawing effect was maintained. This other pic was taken about 6 hours later. Its the Toronto City Hall. I used 9 jpegs for this one.

Prospero
10-28-2007, 06:45 AM
Nice pictures, Paul. I especially like the second one. Beautiful colours.
What exposure values did the JPEGs you used for these two have?

Bynx
10-28-2007, 07:52 AM
Thanks for your appraisal. Coming from you thats an honor. You got me doing this.
As for the exposures - Union Station F6.3, ISO 400, 6.3mm (Wide Angle) 1/160, 1/80, 1/40, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8 seconds
For City Hall F3.5, ISO 800, 6.3mm (Wide Angle) 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 1.5 seconds.

I wonder if I used a slower ISO (100) and extend the exposure time would that help reduce the noise factor?

Prospero
10-28-2007, 08:34 AM
Thanks for your appraisal. Coming from you thats an honor. You got me doing this.
As for the exposures - Union Station F6.3, ISO 400, 6.3mm (Wide Angle) 1/160, 1/80, 1/40, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8 seconds
For City Hall F3.5, ISO 800, 6.3mm (Wide Angle) 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 1.5 seconds.

I wonder if I used a slower ISO (100) and extend the exposure time would that help reduce the noise factor?

Yes, using lower ISO should definitly help in reducing the noise. Not only that, at lower ISOs the dynamicr range that your camera can capture is higher, which may give better rusults.
By the way, if you raise the micro-smoothing setting of Photomatix, this may also help a bit.

erichlund
10-28-2007, 07:49 PM
When I use Corel PSP X2, I get a photo that simply looks like a well exposed shot without any under or over exposed areas. So the dynamic range of the scene is being crammed into the dynamic range of the output medium.

OTOH, a lot of these photos get quite a different look. So much so, that in many instances, they don't look much like a photo anymore. More like a drawing or painting. I'm not saying this is bad. I'm just curious why the tools you guys are using do this.

One reason I ask is that if I wanted to do it with the tools I have, it might be possible, but I'd have to understand it. Right now, I don't.

Bynx
10-28-2007, 08:48 PM
hahaha Erichlund, sometimes my photos come out looking like a drawing or painting because Im still learning the ins and outs of the software. Also sometimes I want the watercolor look. But if the pics dont come out looking like your (well exposed in all areas) its usually because Im not experienced enough yet. Every day is a new experience with HDR because every photo is a new and different situation. When the situations start to repeat then the learning curve will flatten out I hope. By the way, it would help if you mentioned examples when you say they dont look natural.

erichlund
10-29-2007, 08:40 AM
OK, the train station seems a little noisy. But, the picture of the buildings looks like an artist rendition. It's kind of like they haven't been built yet, but this is what they will look like.

You should not take me as an expert, by any means. I've done about 3. OK, exactly 3. Corel PSP makes it so easy, with all the functionality in 1 application. But, I'm not sure I can create that artist rendition look with the PSP software. I guess, what I'm asking is, what step in the process creates that look, versus just looking like a regular image.

It should be noted that 2 of my 3 hdr photos have been shot using bracketing on a very expensive tripod that's steady as stone. The other was done using one exposure that had EV adjusted in Nikon CaptureNX to produce 3 images.

toriaj
02-20-2008, 07:18 PM
Here's a RAW photo that I'd like to try pseudo-HDR for. Obviously, since the train is moving, the conditions weren't good for bracketing :) I think this photo is a good candidate for HDR, because the snow and sky are so white yet the train is quite dark. I'd love to bring out the colors of the sky and train (since the colors are quite vibrant in real life) without intensifying the blue tint of the snow shadows. The sun was right above the mountain, just barely out of the shot. That's the reason for the unusual color pattern in the sky.

I tried to use Photomatix, but my results (as always) were nothing like the beautiful HDRs I've seen here. Just flat. I got some (drab) color back in the sky, but the overall impact was worse than the original.

Can you help? I'll email you the original NEF file (I can't find a free hosting service that will take NEF files up to 5MB.) Either PM me or reply here (I don't use the email address that's in my profile, and my "real" email is yahoo, so it's banned.) I'd love to see what you could do with this photo.

30mm 1/200, f/16, ISO 200
33425
sorry for the huge dust monsters :o
edit: replaced photo with one that wasn't so overexposed. I just realized that my laptop's brightness was turned down by several clicks :confused: no wonder all my pics looked so flat! Still, I'd like to see how the pic could be improved.

griptape
02-20-2008, 08:11 PM
A little more like this?

toriaj
02-20-2008, 09:00 PM
Thanks for your time, I can see that you brought out more detail in the sky, (is that the original sky? or did you paste it on?) but I'd like to see more color in the train, and maybe the rest of the ground too. How did you do your edit?

griptape
02-20-2008, 09:19 PM
I painted the sky (with the paint brush), and did a little dodging and burning here and there. There's very little detail in the train to begin with, so I don't think there's a lot you'll be able to do with the train itself. The train just isn't sharp enough to begin with to bring any extra pop out of it, unless you want to paint it by hand (I spent maybe 90 seconds on what I did). It's maybe 5 percent of the image, and it's not completely in focus, so it's pretty much a lost cause.

Chem
02-23-2008, 05:49 AM
How about this toriaj?

http://i26.tinypic.com/16c6f5d.jpg

I used the JPG obviously so with the original RAW file I suppose it would be better.
Nice scenery by the way.

toriaj
02-23-2008, 12:15 PM
Thanks, Chem, that's closer to what I was looking for. If you're interested, I'll email you the RAW file. If not, I understand, you do have a life :D

Chem
02-23-2008, 01:05 PM
Sure i'll be happy to give it a try, if you tell me whether you want to have it more or less bright overall or just in certain areas and what kind of color temperature you prefer (I made it a little cooler) I'll pm you my email address.

toriaj
02-23-2008, 02:29 PM
Thanks! I'm hoping for more bright overall, keeping color in the sky and massively brightening the color in the train :) The snow shadows have a blue color cast in real life, so I don't mind them being a little blue (like in the original) but not a saturated blue, so that might affect how you run the color temperature. But now it sounds like I'm being picky, just do it how you think it looks good, that's what I really want :)

btuner
02-23-2008, 05:52 PM
a couple of fake HDR's I did
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f21/brand90/DSC_1273copy.jpg

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f21/brand90/DSC_0753copy.jpg

Ratamahatta
02-28-2008, 03:19 PM
My first attempt at HDR:

http://img178.imageshack.us/img178/3575/hdrtest22od5.jpg

toriaj
02-28-2008, 03:58 PM
Great job on the HDR. The clouds are a little heavy for my taste (and that could quickly be altered,) but the ground looks great :)

Bynx
03-04-2008, 03:21 PM
I quite like the clouds as they are. The lighting seems to indicate the time right before or right after a summer storm. Well captured.

T06
04-20-2008, 02:56 AM
posting here to help bass find the thing.:rolleyes:

raven15
12-16-2008, 04:04 PM
Ummm.... *bump*

tfa8rva
12-28-2008, 07:47 PM
I hope it's okay if I post these here, but here are a couple HDRs that I've done.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2240/2319182797_f8824730d4_o.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3276/2724124136_f1da7d57e3_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2385/2241031616_3cb07978da_o.jpg

Prospero
12-31-2008, 08:19 AM
Very nice tfa8rva. I love the second picture. It's perfect!
The first is a bit overdone for my taste.
I doubt the third really needed HDR. Other than that, it's nice except for the crooked horizon.

tfa8rva
12-31-2008, 08:30 AM
Very nice tfa8rva. I love the second picture. It's perfect!
The first is a bit overdone for my taste.
I doubt the third really needed HDR. Other than that, it's nice except for the crooked horizon.

Thanks for the comments. Yeah, the first one borders on cartoonish, but I like it, especially since those thing aren't nearly at tall as the picture makes them out to be. Makes me think of Pink Floyd's "The Wall"......and for the third one, well you should see the original photos. It was pretty overcast, and the HDR made the colors really pop.....almost pastel-like.

Prospero
12-31-2008, 08:48 AM
Thanks for the comments. Yeah, the first one borders on cartoonish, but I like it, especially since those thing aren't nearly at tall as the picture makes them out to be. Makes me think of Pink Floyd's "The Wall"......and for the third one, well you should see the original photos. It was pretty overcast, and the HDR made the colors really pop.....almost pastel-like.

I think for the third one the dynamic range of the scene is not all that big, so if you shot it in RAW, there are often easier ways to get the colours to pop like that. It's not wrong to use HDR, though.

You comment about The Wall, I hadn't looked at it that way, but now that you mention it, the object in the picture and the dark sky in the background do suit the album quite well.

TheWengler
12-31-2008, 10:16 AM
Very nice tfa8rva. I love the second picture. It's perfect!

I almost mistook the second one for one of your shots.

tfa8rva
12-31-2008, 10:34 AM
I think for the third one the dynamic range of the scene is not all that big, so if you shot it in RAW, there are often easier ways to get the colours to pop like that. It's not wrong to use HDR, though.


True, true.......But I'm still learning all this. I've only really been doing this for about a year or so....and yeah, I do shoot in raw...I just need to work on my pp skills.

Rooz
01-12-2009, 02:17 PM
i've ben trying to use photomatix recently for some HDR's with moderate success. can someone please explain why the shadows of some of the shots are extremely noisy ?? there is no evidence of noise at all in the originals, (iso200), but in the HDR the shadows look terrible in some shots. what is the reason for that ?

Prospero
01-12-2009, 02:41 PM
i've ben trying to use photomatix recently for some HDR's with moderate success. can someone please explain why the shadows of some of the shots are extremely noisy ?? there is no evidence of noise at all in the originals, (iso200), but in the HDR the shadows look terrible in some shots. what is the reason for that ?

Are you using Tone Compression or Detail Enhancement?

If you are using Detail Enhancement, I think the strength may be too high and/or the shots you use do not expose the shadows bright enough.
What happens in these cases is that the detail enhancement will boost the contrast of the shadows too much, or it will boost a contrast that is just not here. This will give a noisy result.

Personally, I am no longer using the method I described in the tutorial. I use Tone Compression, and then export the picture as a 16bit tiff to Capture NX. In CNX, I use control points and local curves until I get the result I want. It takes more time and it is more difficult, but I find that I get hardly any noise this way, I have much more control on the result and it's much easier to get realistic results.

Hope this helps. If not, can you post an example?

Rooz
01-13-2009, 03:57 PM
yes i wsa using detail enhancement. i think i've deleted the real noisy ones but i found it bizarre that so much moise was introduced. in the original the shadows are exposed correctly with a sky completely blown out...zero noise, even at 100% there is little to no noise to speak of.

i am finding that with CCP's i can extract a better result than with HDR. granted, my HDR skills are pissweak, but really...the amount of DR from the d300 and the shadow recovery possible in RAW, i wonder whether $100USD is a worthwhile expenditure or not.

here is a very quick and nasty example. both shots took a processing time of around 10 minutes. neither has been significantly adjusted.

NX2 using CCP's points.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3333/3183359632_9b79a51e4f_o.jpg

Photomatix. (ignore the white bits, i adjusted the horion without a crop as per Lukas's suggestion and will clone in the rest later.)

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3364/3194610135_2a3d045328_o.jpg

Rooz
01-13-2009, 03:59 PM
the big difference here is in the depth of the clouds, which i could have achieved in NX aswell if i dropped the brightness of them using CCP's and the saturation which want adjusted in the NX shot.

Prospero
01-14-2009, 01:51 PM
In this example I don't see any noise, but like you said, this is not one of the noisy pictures (and the size is quite small). In case you get noise, you can also turn the light smoothing up or the local contrast down. This will make the result less dramatic, though.

Of the two pictures, I like the first one much better. Though the HDR has a larger depth of clouds, the clouds in the regular pictures seem to be a lot more crisp. Also in the HDR the clouds have a blueish cast, which is not there in the original.

I think in scenes like this your better off with Capture NX than using the HDR approach. Extracting detail from a RAW file is a lot easier than HDR and you get a lot more control. If the dynamic range is small enough to get the detail from a single RAW file there are hardly any reasons to use HDR in my opinion. With HDR you potentially get less noise, but that's only if you are using different exposures and if you are using the right settings. Having said that, even with my D50 at ISO200 I hardly ever get noise to show up when boosting shadows.

Personally I only use HDR if I have to. When using RAW I can recover about two stops of shadow and 1.5 stops of highlight, so up to this point I never use HDR. I usually do this by sliding down the exposure of the RAW file until the blown highlights are gone, increasing the shadow protection (70-90% generally) and restoring contrast with a curve and control points.

If I need to recover more (for instance a sunset shot, where I want the foreground well exposed) I go for a HDR. When using HDR I bracket three shots 2ev apart. Combined with the benefits of RAW, this means I can extend the dynamic range of the picture by almost 4 stops in either direction (compared to a single exposure in Jpeg).

And if I need more DR than that, it generally means that the light is crap and that the picture is not worth it.

To make a long story short, if the scenes you shoot need less than 2 stops recovery of highlights and shadows, you probably don't need to bother with HDR and Photomatix. If you need more than that, HDR becomes interesting.

jadehawk
01-24-2009, 02:44 AM
Rooz .. am no expert but I really like the first picture better.. on the second one I see some blue cast over the buildings on the right side of the picture that you don't see on the first.. none the less great point of view. :)

trailrider894
02-05-2009, 09:04 PM
how do you guys get that awesome dark cloud look??