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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Christmas 2012... with the old guard

    I've been trying a strange approach with the Adobe Photoshop HDR tool.

    Using the SONY a850 w/ the SIGMA 24-70 DG EX (IF) HSM lens:

    • Using "Manual Focus", I de-focused the image at the widest aperture (f/2.8) to get the balloon bokeh of the lamps.
    • I then get the correct zoom range readjusted for a constant-size of the subject in the image (the subject changes size with the focal length, when you use an "Internal Focus" lens - yeah, that kind of requires some work to maintain consistency. You need to do this so that the lamps stack properly.)
    • Shoot it.
    • Improve the focus a little better and adjust the zoom to maintain the subject's size, again.
    • Shoot it.
    • Focus to complete sharpness, adjust zoom for correct size
    • Shoot it.


    With these three images, you now have the basis for a "stacked" HDR, using identical exposures. You will need to "lie" to Photoshop, because it will detect this error and you will have to manually offset the setting of the images, just a tad (I used exposure time), to get them to combine. Once done... blur and adjust your background to soften it out. I found this exercise kind of fun to try and a lot more exciting than the typical tree shot. (Yes, I did fudge in the tree base blanket, from the sharply focused shot.)

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    "HAPPY HOLIDAYS!"


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    Last edited by DonSchap; 12-04-2012 at 12:03 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Monmouthshire, UK
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    2,152
    Different, I like it Don.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    Don,

    I agree it is a nice effect.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
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    9,557
    Thanks for the eval, guys.

    Since the "stacking" seems to be working...

    I'm going to attempt the same kind of shot using the SIGMA 20mm f/1.8 DG EX HSM (non-IF) lens (providing even larger bokeh bubbles) and see if I can pull it off by just slightly moving the tripod (forward or back) in order to compensate for the minor focal length changes, due to focus. The tree is a little too close for minimum 24mm of the 24-70 lens, and I cannot back up any further, in the room, unless I move the couch. Couch moving is not a good thing, here.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,557

    Lens change...

    Again, pretty much the same procedure as described, above, only this time I used a SIGMA 20mm f/1.8 DG EX lens @ F/1.8 and three focus settings. It provides a much larger bokeh, but without any zoom adjustment to compensate for the light center shifting, I had to electronically make the adjustments. I left the tripod steady and locked, opting to use Photoshop's transform-distort-scale tool to make these optical alignments for two of the three images.

    HDR stacking and some outer edge exposure adjustment darkened the edges and lightened the tree skirt.

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    Last edited by DonSchap; 12-11-2012 at 06:07 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
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    10,424
    The 4th is very different, haven't seem that before. Anything that's unique is a winner when it comes to this sort of shot.
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  7. #7
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    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Variations on a theme

    Quote Originally Posted by Rooz View Post
    The 4th is very different, haven't seem that before. Anything that's unique is a winner when it comes to this sort of shot.
    Okay... finally dug the tree-topper out of the storage area. Man, with all the house modifications, this year, it really got itself buried.

    Anyway, here is the expanding on a theme, idea...

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    Biggest problem I have faced with this originally "pre-lit" incandescent tree was half of the lights are expiring, meaning... either I go through every socket, searching for the burned out light or I have to rewire nearly half of it with LED replacement strings. Next year, I do the entire thing in LED. No point in screwing around. The LED strands have a seven year cycle, they say.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 12-14-2012 at 08:23 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    2,334
    Don,

    I think I like the last effort best. The one just before the light spheres were just a little too large/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgosden View Post
    Don,

    I think I like the last effort best. The one just before the light spheres were just a little too large/
    Well, the light spheres are actually the same size, but I used four focus variations of the image, instead of the usual three (with the 24mm/f.28 shot) creating a more solid illumination appearance. Let's say, I put more into it.

    Again, most of this is just playing with the exposure levels of the HDR tool, because you have to state, for each image you add, what the settings were that you took it at... which allows you to brighten some and retard the exposure of others, then the program artificially compensates for those image in the final product. Believe me, you can get some really weird looking stuff if you fool around with those simple exposure settings or get it backwards. I had to go through several iterations of the HDR process, varying a few settings, for it to look a little more sedate.

    I would show you the weird ones, but I usually reject them, unsaved, and move on to altering the settings until I get what I was looking for.

    I did keep one that was close, but no cigar, as this one suffered from too bright on the bigger balloons. They almost obscure the original lamps.

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    Honestly, if you have time, this is one of the more fun tools to manipulate, in P/S, in my opinion.

    Thanks for looking. I appreciate the feedback.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 12-16-2012 at 08:19 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    2,334
    Don,

    That last one is bringing back memories of a tree lighting party in college. Hopefully you did not have the issue with zombie elves that I recall from the same event...

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