B&W HDR images of Yosemite, Bryce and Zion National Park

Started Sep 28, 2012 | Discussions thread
DuncanDovovan Senior Member • Posts: 1,277
Re: B&W HDR images of Yosemite, Bryce and Zion National Park

This is the biggest problem with HDR with an JPG result.

People who take multiple shots to do manual HDR, merge these pictures into a file, that has a huge contrast range - normally 16 bit or 32 bit.

The problem: You cannot represent 16 or 32 bit on your monitor. Therefore you have to do something with all the information to the left and the right of the histogram.

I believe the NEX-7 compresses the entire acquired range. So the very left of the histogram becomes black and what would be black in a single exposure, is pushed upwards to the dark greys. Similarly with highlights.

The end result is that things you normally expect to be almost black are now dark grey and things that you normally expect to be almost white are light grey.

So you have to apply a curve to an HDR picture that still keeps some detail in the deep blacks, but pushes the dark greys back to almost black. Same with highlights.

The end result is that you have more details in your blacks and whites.

If you are really good or if you use a really good HDR processor, you can locally apply the curve. But this works better with a 16 or 32 bit source. And you have to be careful if you want to avoid this typical HDR look with halos around blacks and whites.

Another thing: I would not shoot this B&W from the camera. Instead, shoot Color and do the B&W processing in Photoshop & co. This will allow you to apply "virtual filters". For example: A great way to get great contrast between clouds and the sky is to darken the sky already when shooting. In the early days, photographers did this by applying yellow/orange or even red filters. As blue is not "compatible" with that, the blue's got darker and red was processed lighter on B&W film. Also, the contrast between rocks (yellowisch) and trees (green) becomes larger.

In photoshop you can simulate this in the B&W processing.

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