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Thread: Hdr

  1. #1
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    Nov 2010
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    Hdr

    How do you do this kind of shooting? Every time i see someone post something that was taken in HDR it looks really good

    Please explain in a way that my dumb a$$ can understand.

  2. #2
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    I haven't been posting much lately, but I am a fan of HDR photography. Vanilla Days is a good place to start for a tutorial.

    I still use Photomatix Pro, and have just started experimenting with Nik HDR Efex Pro.

    HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, which is really a misnomer, it's actually a compressed dynamic range. The basics are:

    You take a number of frames of the same subject with different exposure values to cover all of the tonal ranges in the scene.

    The scene may cover 12 or more stops of light where you camera can only effectively capture about 8-10 of those stops. So you bracket your shots with +/- exposure values along with a properly exposed shot.

    So let's say you've taken this scene:



    In itself a pretty nice scene. But the foreground is a little dark and the sky could use a little stronger color, the whole scene could use a little more detail.

    I'll bracket by +2ev



    And bracket by -2ev



    Then I let Photomatix work it's magic combining all three photos, followed by Tone Mapping or with the latest version exposure blending. That results in something like this:



    This scene possesses slightly more detail and a slightly higher dynamic range than the original scene. Most of the magic happens within Photomatix. One must be careful with HDR photography because it can become quite gaudy and unrealistic looking. I still struggle with whether the shot is really realistic or not.
    Last edited by TenD; 04-03-2011 at 04:44 PM. Reason: forgot the "vanilla days" link
    A good photograph is knowing where to stand.
    Ansel Adams

    Rule books are paper, they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal.
    Ernest K. Gann-Fate is the Hunter.

  3. #3
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    Thats freakin cool! Ill need to get something like that

  4. #4
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    It is cool, but like I said above, one has to be very careful to make it look realistic, if that is the look you are going for. I can spot an HDR photograph a mile away in most instances. Some are just downright clownish.
    After making many HDR photographs in the last few years, I wonder if it's really necessary. I have recently purchased a set of good Graduated Neutral Density filters and I will make a concerted effort to shoot with them this year. I think I can get close to an HDR image with the GNDs.

    I really wonder about the necessity, especially when I look at Marc Adamus' work, he claims not to use any HDR, but I do think he does a lot of manual blending, burning, dodging and other Photoshop magic. He's probably my favorite modern nature photographer.
    Last edited by TenD; 04-03-2011 at 04:51 PM.
    A good photograph is knowing where to stand.
    Ansel Adams

    Rule books are paper, they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal.
    Ernest K. Gann-Fate is the Hunter.

  5. #5
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    So if i didnt want to do HDR how do you put multiple pictures to make a single photo

  6. #6
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    Layer them in PS and paint black to reveal and white to hide, I don't fully understand it myself, hence the reason I use Photomatix. Using GND filters you do a lot of the work in camera.
    A good photograph is knowing where to stand.
    Ansel Adams

    Rule books are paper, they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal.
    Ernest K. Gann-Fate is the Hunter.

  7. #7
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    So the filters make a big difference?

    How much does the filter cost?

  8. #8
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    The filters are basically a square filter that fits in a Cokin or Lee filter holder. The filter can slide up and down to match the point at which you want to hold light back. The filters themselves have about half the filter that is darker by a predetermined exposure. Usually they are 1, 2, and 3 stops. You position the transition line (graduation) at the point where you want to hold the light back that is too bright for your sensor, everything below or above that line(depending on which way you have the filter mounted for your situation), will be held back the number of stops the filter represents.

    In other words it's a filter that's split in half, half has zero exposure compensation, and half has 1, 2, or 3 stops of darker area that will hold light back.

    Using HDR or GND filters have generally the same result with two distinctly different processes:

    HDR is adding information, then compressing that information to fool your eyes into thinking there is more information there.

    GND filters are subtracting information to achieve virtually the same effect.

    HDR has an advantage of achieving the effect at a pixel by pixel level, with the disadvantage of adding noise and some really strange effects at times, where with a GND filter, the photographer has to choose a point to have the transition, the transition is linear and therefore some light is held back that doesn't need to be, or some light that may need to be held back will be outside the graduation. Each has it's place, I am going to experiment with both this year, maybe combining the two.
    Last edited by TenD; 04-03-2011 at 05:33 PM.
    A good photograph is knowing where to stand.
    Ansel Adams

    Rule books are paper, they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal.
    Ernest K. Gann-Fate is the Hunter.

  9. #9
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    Oh ok, what about regular filters? do they help with making the pictures look better?

  10. #10
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    San Diego, CA
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    TenD gave a good explanation on HDR. I've primarily used PhotoMatix, but have recently come to like the improved version of HDR in Photoshop CS5. Overall, I've found that after your HDR merge, increased blacks and contrast helps tremendously in making the merged photo realistic. Here's some examples:

    This was done with CS5
    Name:  _DSC2004_5_6.jpg
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Size:  494.2 KB

    This one is actually five HDRs created in PhotoMatix with my own customized settings and then merged to Panorama in PS
    Name:  Grapevine-Panorama C DWessel 2010.jpg
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    And, here's an over the top "grunge" effect through PhotoMatix
    Name:  _DSC7936_7_8.jpg
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