Any Tips on this HDR Image?

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Greg7579
Greg7579 Senior Member • Posts: 2,451
Any Tips on this HDR Image?

I normally don't like automatic HDR merge software because the images look a bit overcooked to me.  But I tried it last night as the sun was setting here in Florida.....  My wife and I arrived from the airport in Fort Meyers Florida to my friend's condo in Cape Coral.  He is on the top floor (6th) and has a lovely view over the Marina.  The sun was setting over the Marina so I tore open my suitcase, grabbed my tripod, slapped the 35 F2 onto the XT-2 and set the lens at F11 and the camera on base ISO (200).  I shot 6 shots using the exposure compensation dial one stop at a time from -3 to +3.  I imported them to LR, merged the 6 images using the LR HDR merge feature, and ended up with a 89 MB HDR DNG RAW file.  I played with it a little in LR and exported it as a small 3MB JPEG file.

Here it is.  It is not a great shot but it does demonstrate a lot of DR and I was surprised that the auto-merge HDR feature in LR worked this well.  The whole thing took about 5 minutes -- from shooting the 6 shots to merging them in LR to exporting the developed small JPEG.

This morning, I took one of the 6 RAW images that I used in the merge (the one in the middle at no exposure comp) and experiments with it a bit.  I tried to tone map it in LR by completely opening up the shadows, dimming the highlights, using the graduated ND tool, and all of the sliders in order to try to get something close to the HDR merging effort.   It worked pretty well, but it had nowhere near the DR of the merged HDR DNG.  That merged RAW is packed with date to play with -- far more than a single image from the sequence.

Any tips?  I'm not an HDR shooter....

By the way ... it is a miracle this place is even here after that hurricane a couple of weeks ago.  The eye passed over this building but the storm surge did not happen because the South side of the storm's Eyewall had miraculously broken apart and a lot of lucky things happened to break up that storm.....  It could have been a disaster of immense magnitude here in Cape Coral.....

Thanks,  Greg

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