Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

Started Jul 7, 2013 | Discussions
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REShultz Senior Member • Posts: 1,108
Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?
1

Sites like 500px (front page, take a look!) are full of HDR photography. It nearly always looks cooked and in some cases ruins perfectly good pictures.

I've not seen it yet but I do read occasionally on forums that it can be "done right" or tastefully. It'd difficult to believe that a skillfully exposed image with a good camera can be improved upon with this technique, but I'd like to see some attempts.

Daisy AU
Daisy AU Senior Member • Posts: 1,564
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

REShultz wrote:

Sites like 500px (front page, take a look!) are full of HDR photography. It nearly always looks cooked and in some cases ruins perfectly good pictures.

I've not seen it yet but I do read occasionally on forums that it can be "done right" or tastefully. It'd difficult to believe that a skillfully exposed image with a good camera can be improved upon with this technique, but I'd like to see some attempts.

Have a look at this thread, in which there are some good and bad examples of HDR.  It can be done very naturally, or it can be used for a more artistic touch.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51733860

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Wheatfield
Wheatfield Veteran Member • Posts: 6,297
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

Brian is a member here. A lot of what he does is HDR. Some excessively cooked, most of it nice.

http://www.pbase.com/klatuu/root

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kgbruce01 Senior Member • Posts: 1,245
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

Your experience is obviously very limited if sites like 500px are your only  source with which you lay your judgement. That's like saying all pizza is bad because you ate Papa Johns.

REShultz wrote:

Sites like 500px (front page, take a look!) are full of HDR photography. It nearly always looks cooked and in some cases ruins perfectly good pictures.

I've not seen it yet but I do read occasionally on forums that it can be "done right" or tastefully. It'd difficult to believe that a skillfully exposed image with a good camera can be improved upon with this technique, but I'd like to see some attempts.

I'm not surprised you have such difficulty, as your level of exposure to the technique is so limited. If you take a little more initiative and do more research, you will be able to make your own informed judgement. If you scan a few photography forums and focus in on the overlytonemapped images and say'this is HDr', you are only fooling yourself.

Chances are you have seen dozens and dozens of 'HDR' photographs and didn't even know it, because they weren't tone mapped to death.

Good luck with your continued research so that you may discuss it from a position of knowledge, rather than your current position.

Daisy AU
Daisy AU Senior Member • Posts: 1,564
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?
1

kgbruce01 wrote:

Your experience is obviously very limited if sites like 500px are your only source with which you lay your judgement. That's like saying all pizza is bad because you ate Papa Johns.

REShultz wrote:

Sites like 500px (front page, take a look!) are full of HDR photography. It nearly always looks cooked and in some cases ruins perfectly good pictures.

I've not seen it yet but I do read occasionally on forums that it can be "done right" or tastefully. It'd difficult to believe that a skillfully exposed image with a good camera can be improved upon with this technique, but I'd like to see some attempts.

I'm not surprised you have such difficulty, as your level of exposure to the technique is so limited. If you take a little more initiative and do more research, you will be able to make your own informed judgement. If you scan a few photography forums and focus in on the overlytonemapped images and say'this is HDr', you are only fooling yourself.

Chances are you have seen dozens and dozens of 'HDR' photographs and didn't even know it, because they weren't tone mapped to death.

Good luck with your continued research so that you may discuss it from a position of knowledge, rather than your current position.

Why not provide the OP with some useful links then?

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jtan163 Senior Member • Posts: 2,264
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?
1

REShultz wrote:

Sites like 500px (front page, take a look!) are full of HDR photography. It nearly always looks cooked and in some cases ruins perfectly good pictures.

I've not seen it yet but I do read occasionally on forums that it can be "done right" or tastefully. It'd difficult to believe that a skillfully exposed image with a good camera can be improved upon with this technique, but I'd like to see some attempts.

This guy is pretty good.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/artiephotography/

I think he's done magazines and things.

Note - I think for some people mainly other photographers, HDR will always looked cooked simply because subconsciously they know an certain image can only have so much DR, so when they see one that obviously exceeds the possible DR, their head says "fake!".

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REShultz OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,108
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

Thanks Daisy. I do think some of these (the more subtle ones) are very good. Still not sure however, than they are better than the same pic with good lighting and exposure.

Sure beats what I've seen on other sites though.

REShultz OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,108
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

kgbruce01 wrote:

Your experience is obviously very limited if sites like 500px are your only source with which you lay your judgement. That's like saying all pizza is bad because you ate Papa Johns.

REShultz wrote:

Sites like 500px (front page, take a look!) are full of HDR photography. It nearly always looks cooked and in some cases ruins perfectly good pictures.

I've not seen it yet but I do read occasionally on forums that it can be "done right" or tastefully. It'd difficult to believe that a skillfully exposed image with a good camera can be improved upon with this technique, but I'd like to see some attempts.

I'm not surprised you have such difficulty, as your level of exposure to the technique is so limited. If you take a little more initiative and do more research, you will be able to make your own informed judgement. If you scan a few photography forums and focus in on the overlytonemapped images and say'this is HDr', you are only fooling yourself.

Chances are you have seen dozens and dozens of 'HDR' photographs and didn't even know it, because they weren't tone mapped to death.

Good luck with your continued research so that you may discuss it from a position of knowledge, rather than your current position.

Guess we got off on the wrong foot. Well, in any case, I asked in order to confirm my suspicions or to move beyond my ignorance.

REShultz OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,108
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

jtan163 wrote:

REShultz wrote:

Sites like 500px (front page, take a look!) are full of HDR photography. It nearly always looks cooked and in some cases ruins perfectly good pictures.

I've not seen it yet but I do read occasionally on forums that it can be "done right" or tastefully. It'd difficult to believe that a skillfully exposed image with a good camera can be improved upon with this technique, but I'd like to see some attempts.

This guy is pretty good.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/artiephotography/

Interesting. Good photographer and really good skills composition wise. Many of these look a bit too cooked IMHO, some others (like a few from Venice) look better.

I'd like to see these pics in the non-HDR version. They would be very good!

I think he's done magazines and things.

Note - I think for some people mainly other photographers, HDR will always looked cooked simply because subconsciously they know an certain image can only have so much DR, so when they see one that obviously exceeds the possible DR, their head says "fake!".

Very good point!

Unexpresivecanvas Senior Member • Posts: 1,158
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?
2

One of the best places to see examples:

http://www.stuckincustoms.com/

jon404 Senior Member • Posts: 2,071
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

At the risk of being egotistical, see my train photos at http://jondonahue.smugmug.com/ ... am using Oloneo PhotoEngine for very mild HDR effects, and Xara Photo & Graphic Designer for occasional compositing. For most pictures, trying to make the scenes look like what I saw with my eyes, which means bringing light and dark areas into a better balance than 'as shot'.

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Jonathon Donahue, San Diego, California

Daisy AU
Daisy AU Senior Member • Posts: 1,564
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

REShultz wrote:

Thanks Daisy. I do think some of these (the more subtle ones) are very good. Still not sure however, than they are better than the same pic with good lighting and exposure.

Sure beats what I've seen on other sites though.

I don't use HDR but I think the whole purpose is to recover either highlights or shadows, because in some instances, you don't have ideal lighting and you will loose one or the other.  I think the method is useful, but in moderation, as far as I'm concerned.

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Daisy AU
Daisy AU Senior Member • Posts: 1,564
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

jon404 wrote:

At the risk of being egotistical, see my train photos at http://jondonahue.smugmug.com/ ... am using Oloneo PhotoEngine for very mild HDR effects, and Xara Photo & Graphic Designer for occasional compositing. For most pictures, trying to make the scenes look like what I saw with my eyes, which means bringing light and dark areas into a better balance than 'as shot'.

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Jonathon Donahue, San Diego, California

Those are very good, Jon.  I would have not picked it as any level of HDR.  Nice work!!

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REShultz OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,108
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

jon404 wrote:

At the risk of being egotistical, see my train photos at http://jondonahue.smugmug.com/ ... am using Oloneo PhotoEngine for very mild HDR effects, and Xara Photo & Graphic Designer for occasional compositing. For most pictures, trying to make the scenes look like what I saw with my eyes, which means bringing light and dark areas into a better balance than 'as shot'.

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Jonathon Donahue, San Diego, California

Absolute winner so far. Well done.

JulesJ
JulesJ Forum Pro • Posts: 39,262
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

REShultz wrote:

Sites like 500px (front page, take a look!) are full of HDR photography. It nearly always looks cooked and in some cases ruins perfectly good pictures.

I've not seen it yet but I do read occasionally on forums that it can be "done right" or tastefully. It'd difficult to believe that a skillfully exposed image with a good camera can be improved upon with this technique, but I'd like to see some attempts.

HDR is yesterday's fad. Forget it. Move on. It's just a way of disguising a not very good photo.

areichow Senior Member • Posts: 1,581
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?
2

I make no claims to this being a good photo, but it did what I wanted it to - capture the look and feel of a day in fall hiking with my family in the Porcupine Mountains. I used AEB and HDR software to get both the landscape and sky how they appeared to my own eyes, rather than the blown out sky or underexposed foreground I could get with a single exposure.

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REShultz OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,108
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

JulesJ wrote:

REShultz wrote:

Sites like 500px (front page, take a look!) are full of HDR photography. It nearly always looks cooked and in some cases ruins perfectly good pictures.

I've not seen it yet but I do read occasionally on forums that it can be "done right" or tastefully. It'd difficult to believe that a skillfully exposed image with a good camera can be improved upon with this technique, but I'd like to see some attempts.

HDR is yesterday's fad. Forget it. Move on. It's just a way of disguising a not very good photo.

It's still very prevalent though. A year ago I thought we'd seen the last of it.

jon404 Senior Member • Posts: 2,071
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

Yes! That's what I'm trying to do also. So both sky and land are exposed correctly. Look -- if you have a sharp horizon line -- or sharp edges like the tops of buildings -- try compositing -- take one pic exposed for the land, then another for the sky -- and blend them together... cut out the 'good' sky and paste it on top of the 'good' land pic.

This will take you a little farther than multi-exposure HDR.

You can also lighten or darken selected areas of the picture with programs like Xara Photo & Graphic Designer. It's easy. Though, like you said, any blown-out highlights are gone forever.

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Jonathon Donahue, San Diego, California

jon404 Senior Member • Posts: 2,071
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

Thanks! Here's something else I do... a 4X grad filter to darken the sky when I expose for the land. Stops highlight blowout. Also -- unlike multiexposure HDR, using a glass grad filter lets you capture a fast moving subject in just one shot. The HDR exposures, once put together, will leave the moving subject blurred. On my Sony RX100, I just hold the 52mm filter in front of the lens, and move it up and down to control the grad effect.

My grad filter is actually two 2X Tiffen grad filters screwed together. For scenes with less bright-dark contrast, you can use just a single 2x grad... or, easier, just put in a darkening gradient on the PC.

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Jonathon Donahue, San Diego, California

edispics
edispics Senior Member • Posts: 2,795
Re: Can Someone Point Me to Good HDR Photography?

I think HDR has a different visual impact if you are working with daytime photos vs night shots. Using Oloneo:

3 exposure Oloneo

My sense is that overcooking HDR is more jarring on daytime photos than night shots. Or maybe it's just me!

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