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Some HDR out West

GuidenetGuidenet Senior MemberOrlandoPosts: 239 Officer
As some of you know, I was asking about HDR a year ago. Since then, I've dug in and have been learning Tone Mapping, Compression, Blending and Fusion methods along with my own methods of maintaining greater dynamic range. One of the best things was buying a new D800. It has way more dynamic range than previous cameras I've used.

Still, I stuck to learning HDR and am still working at it. I've learned to use composits of three, five, seven and nine shots along with using variable spacing in stops. Sometimes the underexposures are a stop apart while the overexposure is 2 stops apart. Lots of different learning going on.

I've been trying Grunge HDR and some very natural tone mapping enhancements. The Grunge is fun, but the other is more rewarding long term for me. Here are a few examples from the last time I visited. Mostly we have landscapes. I've incorporated into my Florida Wetlands themes as well as some Western images. Remember, I'm still learning and it takes a while. I'm not just pressing presets. Some can be complex composites where part of the frame is one way and part might be another. These are all Western Themed.

Bear Lake Utah
bear_lake--hdr-6-5-2010.jpg

Bryce Canyon Sunrise
brycesunrrise-hdr-9-8-2010.jpg

Wedding in the Tetons
church-toned-hdr-6-10-2010.jpg

Colorado Sand Dunes
dune_park_hdr-11-11-11.jpg

Tetons, Morning has Broken
morning_tetons-hdr-6-5-2010.jpg

After the Storm
sunset-tetons-2-hdr-6-10-10.jpg
Nikon D800, D3S, D700, D300, Canon G1X, Sigma 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR, Nikon 28 f/1.8G AFS, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR, Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 AFS VR, Nikon 35 f/2, Nikon 50 f/1.8 G, Nikon 60 f/2.8 G Micro, Nikon 85 f/1.4 AFS G, Nikon 105 f/2.5 AI, Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO Macro, Nikon 300 f/2.8 AFS VR, Nikon 500 f/4 -P, Interfit Stellar X complete six light studio

Replies

  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Senior Member Posts: 24,412 AG
    Try this software - it has the most control of any HDR software I have worked with and the new release is even better than the first version. Unfortunately, and for some reason the software is having problems getting traction in the marketplace (marketing issues I suspect because it cannot be the quality of the software) when compared to the big company and popular Photomatix software.

    http://www.unifiedcolor.com/download-hdr-express-2
  • ChuckcChuckc Senior Member Posts: 4,397 Captain
    Well look who stopped by for a bit. ;)

    For my tastes only, the cloud bottoms being so dark in 1 and 2 is a little distracting. I like the last two the best as they look the most natural.
  • GuidenetGuidenet Senior Member OrlandoPosts: 239 Officer
    Chuckc wrote: »
    Well look who stopped by for a bit. ;)

    For my tastes only, the cloud bottoms being so dark in 1 and 2 is a little distracting. I like the last two the best as they look the most natural.

    Hey Craig. I'll look at that.

    Chuck, I know what you mean. I actually like the darker clouds, but to each their own. I am trying to pre-visualize what I want then make it be that way. For instance, in the after the storm sunset the foreground was pitch black to the eyes. I used an ND grad to bring it out then tonemapped most of the top to bring out the bowl of sun in the mountains. I allowed the sun to clip a little because it was blinding anyway.

    I then hand touched the entire foreground with color from the bowl of orange in the mountains. I tried to touch each bush and plant that stood high enough to catch the light so show they reflected the sun. It was a very long process but came out very close to what I imagined when I was setting up. It was my third trip there in 14 months and I wanted that scene. :-)

    I really like the extra latitude this tonemapping and other techniques can lend to helping to create what you pre-visualize which may or may not represent a Xerox of what you started with.
    Nikon D800, D3S, D700, D300, Canon G1X, Sigma 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR, Nikon 28 f/1.8G AFS, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR, Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 AFS VR, Nikon 35 f/2, Nikon 50 f/1.8 G, Nikon 60 f/2.8 G Micro, Nikon 85 f/1.4 AFS G, Nikon 105 f/2.5 AI, Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO Macro, Nikon 300 f/2.8 AFS VR, Nikon 500 f/4 -P, Interfit Stellar X complete six light studio
  • mississippi macmississippi mac Senior Member Ocean Springs, Ms. (da coast)Posts: 4,222 Captain
    Craig H...
    i love the way you did your hdr....
    that's the look i like without them being over cooked...
    outstanding landscapes...
    good to see you back...

    tim
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The Real White Dog

    if you can't catch a fish...catch a buzz....
    #12976, joined 8-17-2002
  • GuidenetGuidenet Senior Member OrlandoPosts: 239 Officer
    Tim, thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it very much.

    Here's a few that are cooked a little more, but hopefully not too crazy. :)

    boats-again-2-4-12.jpg

    eola_hdr-pano_1-15-12.jpg

    ns-marina-hdrtwo-2-19-2012.jpg

    volcano-plug-hdr-11-10-2011.jpg

    boat_fernandino-hdr-6-24-11.jpg
    Nikon D800, D3S, D700, D300, Canon G1X, Sigma 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR, Nikon 28 f/1.8G AFS, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR, Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 AFS VR, Nikon 35 f/2, Nikon 50 f/1.8 G, Nikon 60 f/2.8 G Micro, Nikon 85 f/1.4 AFS G, Nikon 105 f/2.5 AI, Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO Macro, Nikon 300 f/2.8 AFS VR, Nikon 500 f/4 -P, Interfit Stellar X complete six light studio
  • FlashFlash Senior Member Chiefland/Cedar KeyPosts: 12,487 AG
    Well, it appears others see them. I do not. :huh
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
  • GuidenetGuidenet Senior Member OrlandoPosts: 239 Officer
    My server went down and then FS went down and they both have to be working. Sorry. My server is back up but there's a lag or latency left but it should fix itself.

    I'm still getting "Waiting for responce from floridasportsman.com at the bottom of my screen.

    Ok, now a little later, everything is visible. Had to close the browser and reopen it.
    Nikon D800, D3S, D700, D300, Canon G1X, Sigma 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR, Nikon 28 f/1.8G AFS, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR, Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 AFS VR, Nikon 35 f/2, Nikon 50 f/1.8 G, Nikon 60 f/2.8 G Micro, Nikon 85 f/1.4 AFS G, Nikon 105 f/2.5 AI, Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO Macro, Nikon 300 f/2.8 AFS VR, Nikon 500 f/4 -P, Interfit Stellar X complete six light studio
  • FlashFlash Senior Member Chiefland/Cedar KeyPosts: 12,487 AG
    Got em. Like two and five in the first batch, but still too much like a painting to me. :shrug
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
  • GuidenetGuidenet Senior Member OrlandoPosts: 239 Officer
    Flash wrote: »
    Got em. Like two and five in the first batch, but still too much like a painting to me. :shrug

    Indeed and so they are, my friend, and that sort of is the point. Initially, I too didn't like the painterly effect of mild tone mapping, but then decided to look into what made it seem painterly. There are no brush strokes or pallet knives at work. It's not a texture. What it is is a fairly large evening or compression of contrast to fit within the medium and your eyes. It is way more closely to the way your eyes and brain see things but you're not used to seeing it in a photograph.

    Photographs have very poor dynamic range. Dark stuff gets lost and bright stuff blows out. For example, look at that beautiful autumn scene you have in your signature. That's a photograph and it's about perfectly done, but it's not the way your eye would see it. That dark area along the side of the road would be less dark to your eyes. The tree trunks would show more detail. If you painted it, you'd show all that in your picture. You'd show a lighter, more detailed shadow area and more detailed tree trunks, but the beatiful fall colors you would leave alone.

    In a photograph, traditionally, we have to expose for what we want, in your case, the fall colors. We have to let the dark areas fall to little detail. That's what our brains expect in a photo. Tone mapping takes those areas that are losing detail and lightens them up. It can map out bright areas and lower them. Your brain doesn't expect that in a photograph and it looks like a painting. It should, because that's what you'd do in a painting. It's exactly what I'm trying to do. I want it to look the way my eyes or a painting would see it. That's the reason for trying to get the contrasts locally to compress a little, just a little to get them where they should be.

    Again, I'm just learning. Sometimes I get it very wrong. I plan on taking a painting class this Winter to learn more. I need to better learn to make sure the shadows and bright areas are more where the brain would put them. Painters know. We photographers have been used to limited dynamic range for too long. These newer cameras like my D800 are getting way better at it though. We'll need way less tonemapping and compression methods as we move to better cameras and better printing and displays.

    One issue with HDR is that many users really overdo it. Nothing wrong with that and it can be beautiful in it's own right. For example, I like my blue boat scene. It's over done on purpose. it's what is called the "Grunge" techniques where contrast of shadows are pushed way higher than normal and the blowout bright areas can be subdued a lot. It becomes rather expressionalistic like some artists. Think Monet and Manet. Again, nothing too wrong with it but it's not normal and is in the opposite direction from photographs which really aren't normal either but in the other direction.

    If you added brush strokes to many photographs and showed them to a painter, he might be surprised and wonder why you added so much contrast as to lose the shadows and dimmer areas to darkness. If you thought it was a painting, your brain would say the same thing.

    Anyway, it's just something to think about. I'm not doing this for work but it has it's place now in my toolkit and hopefully I'll get better and better until it is closer to the way my brain and eyes see it. It's really not easy to map it close like that because you have so little to go on and your brain keeps wanting to make it a photograph. That's why I'm taking that painting class. I have to do a little retraining. :smile

    You know, old dogs and new tricks. I'm that old dog. heheh. but trying.
    Nikon D800, D3S, D700, D300, Canon G1X, Sigma 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR, Nikon 28 f/1.8G AFS, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR, Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 AFS VR, Nikon 35 f/2, Nikon 50 f/1.8 G, Nikon 60 f/2.8 G Micro, Nikon 85 f/1.4 AFS G, Nikon 105 f/2.5 AI, Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO Macro, Nikon 300 f/2.8 AFS VR, Nikon 500 f/4 -P, Interfit Stellar X complete six light studio
  • Blue ZoneBlue Zone Senior Member Port Lucaya, Bahamas/SarasotaPosts: 414 Officer
    I think it was last year you posted some Out West photos and I was perhaps a little critical of one or two and I think it was more about composition than anything. Wow, these are great; the Bryce Canyon composition is really outstanding.
  • GuidenetGuidenet Senior Member OrlandoPosts: 239 Officer
    Blue Zone wrote: »
    I think it was last year you posted some Out West photos and I was perhaps a little critical of one or two and I think it was more about composition than anything. Wow, these are great; the Bryce Canyon composition is really outstanding.

    Thank you so much for the kind words. I really appreciate it. :)
    Nikon D800, D3S, D700, D300, Canon G1X, Sigma 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR, Nikon 28 f/1.8G AFS, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR, Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 AFS VR, Nikon 35 f/2, Nikon 50 f/1.8 G, Nikon 60 f/2.8 G Micro, Nikon 85 f/1.4 AFS G, Nikon 105 f/2.5 AI, Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO Macro, Nikon 300 f/2.8 AFS VR, Nikon 500 f/4 -P, Interfit Stellar X complete six light studio
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