First "HDR" attempt - C&C appreciated

Started Jan 18, 2011 | Discussions
jrmint
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First "HDR" attempt - C&C appreciated
Jan 18, 2011

First HDR attempt (although not "real" HDR from what I read) - an exposure blending of 3 different exposures from the same raw file. Used Photomatix then some clean-up in Lightroom. Any recommendations on how to make it better?

Here's one of the initial exposures used:

Guidenet
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Re: First "HDR" attempt - C&C appreciated
In reply to jrmint, Jan 18, 2011

Quite honestly, I don't see a whole lot of difference, especially difference that requires HDR. You could have brought out the forground probably easier just working on the RAW file of the original and not work that much.

I think the top image looks a bit oversharpened as well.

Overall, I applaud your first shot, but I think using three RAW files 2 stops apart might give more room to work.
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Charles2
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Beautiful scene, nice shot of it, HDR makes it worse
In reply to jrmint, Jan 18, 2011

Nice shot of a beautiful scene.

The HDR version is worse.

  1. The cliff colors are worse.

  2. The sky is overdone.

  3. Most important, the eye is left to wander aimlessly, while in the original contrast between foreground and cliffs sets up a dramatic polarity, immediately catching the eye and "framing" the viewer's experience.

At most you might want to brighten the wood in the foreground, although not as much as the HDR version. I did that in two minutes using the 3-zone (shadow, midtone, highlight) adjustment in Picture Window Pro.

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Deleted1929
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Re: First "HDR" attempt - C&C appreciated
In reply to jrmint, Jan 18, 2011

This is a quick attempt to brighten the dark foreground without the harsh effects in your own version. The aim is to look natural. In your attempt you introduced clipping of highlight and very string contrast effects ( rather like USM applied with a heavy hand ). Clipping highlights defeats the purpose of doing a HDR in the first place.

Using GIMP. Duplicate a layer, add a mask based on inverse greyscale. Adjust the curve of layer ( not the mask ) to brighten. This will increase the brightness of the dark areas but the mask will basically protect the bright areas.

This, IMO, gives a more natural appearance.

Note that no sharpening has been applied and I started from your posted JPEG, not a RAW.

You can adjust the curve of the layer mask to alter the balance of the brightening effect.

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StephenG

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hotdog321
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Re: First "HDR" attempt - C&C appreciated
In reply to jrmint, Jan 18, 2011

I think it works pretty well. I've been there, and the natural colors are pretty surrealistic. HDR has better shadow detail, and the intense haze on the horizon has been eliminated. Not sure, but I think really working over a single RAW image might achieve similar results. Still, I think it's a keeper.

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jrmint
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Re: First "HDR" attempt - C&C appreciated
In reply to Deleted1929, Jan 18, 2011

Using GIMP. Duplicate a layer, add a mask based on inverse greyscale. Adjust the curve of layer ( not the mask ) to brighten. This will increase the brightness of the dark areas but the mask will basically protect the bright areas.

Thanks for the feedback and nice example. I've got some work to do to understand how you did this, but I'll get there eventually.

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Deleted1929
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Re: First "HDR" attempt - C&C appreciated
In reply to jrmint, Jan 18, 2011

The technique is simple - tends to sound very complicated on paper, but in practice it's easy.

If you don't understand layer masks this is the first place to start. Have a look on the retouching forum for more information on this kind of thing.

This is a simple tutorial on using a layer mask to do something similar - emulate a graduated ND filter. It's possibly easier to see the steps.

http://gimpguru.org/Tutorials/NDFilter/

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StephenG

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