Looking for feedback: HDR

Started Jul 30, 2012 | Discussions
TheVoid Senior Member • Posts: 1,724
Looking for feedback: HDR

I am new at HDR and would like some feedback on this attempt...I am happy with the composition but am curious what PP improvements are recommended by those with more experience in this area. I realize this is all subjective and only I can decide what the best result is for me -- but please be honest and tell me how you would have done this differently?

(5 images from RAW merged in Photomatix, then adjusted for saturation & levels in CS4)

Many thanks,
--
Jeremy

 TheVoid's gear list:TheVoid's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony a77 II Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II +2 more
tchuanye Veteran Member • Posts: 3,895
Re: Looking for feedback: HDR

Looks good to me.

Really depends what look you want to create. It does look like a HDR pic. Perhaps more contrast?

I am also new, and am trying for HDR that does not look THAT HDR....works for some, but does not work for all.

 tchuanye's gear list:tchuanye's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Canon PowerShot S95 Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Sony SLT-A77 +10 more
OP TheVoid Senior Member • Posts: 1,724
Re: Looking for feedback: HDR

I think you've captured my goal as well -- trying for HDR that isn't screaming "HDR." Nice landscape images with shadow and highlight detail, but not overcooked "tore this out of my free calendar" images.
--
Jeremy

 TheVoid's gear list:TheVoid's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony a77 II Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II +2 more
UtahManSir Veteran Member • Posts: 4,659
Re: Looking for feedback: HDR

Everything looks OK....ish.... but the sky is a tell all. (I'm guilty of this too believe me!

I would try bringing up a levels adjustment layer and moving the black point slider to the right a smidge, and then moving the Grey point slider to somewhere between .8 & .9

That and a little contrast bump will help. I think...

Keep trying. Here are a few of mine.

HDR seems to work better for me with lit buildings at night honestly......

Lloyd
--

“For every problem there is a solution which is simple, clean and wrong.” Henry Louis Mencken

http://lloydshell.blogspot.com/
http://lloydshell.zenfolio.com/
WSSA #354

OP TheVoid Senior Member • Posts: 1,724
Re: Looking for feedback: HDR

Thanks Loyd. Nice work. The temple image is compelling -- nice exposure and you dealt with some compromises well there -- looks like the star filter's linear artifacts create a bit of a grid over the moon but I like the overall impact of the image. And speaking of grids, I had to paste your pic into PS and turn on the grid to check if I was seeing things crooked or not -- the way the foreground railing tilts to the right sort of creates the illusion of the temple being off-level, but with the grid on I could see you were right on the vertical with the spires...nice work!

I only spent the time looking closely at that because I've been working with a similar image of the SL temple (though in early morning light--see link below). My viewing angle required a lot of perspective correction to get the verticals parallel, but I'm happy with the end result. They are certainly fun subjects. I need to get out at night more and attempt the HDR in the kind of dramatic-sky situation you captured... our recent Utah evening cloud cover should facilitate such an adventure!

http://jfphotography.instaproofs.com/buy_print.php?event=466229&type=original&id=157323037

Cheers,
--
Jeremy

 TheVoid's gear list:TheVoid's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony a77 II Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II +2 more
UtahManSir Veteran Member • Posts: 4,659
Re: Looking for feedback: HDR

Thanks Jeremy, that is a nice shot, working those types of shots to get the parallels right is a gigantic pain!

Spent a long time on this one:

I have to mention that I did not use a star filter, that was just the result of the aperture blades on the lens. (An old Cosmicar 70-200 in K mount)

Have you attended any of the Salt Lake Photowalk meet-up? I made the Cathedral of the Madeline shoot a while back. It was fun.

Lloyd
--

“For every problem there is a solution which is simple, clean and wrong.” Henry Louis Mencken

http://lloydshell.blogspot.com/
http://lloydshell.zenfolio.com/
WSSA #354

OP TheVoid Senior Member • Posts: 1,724
Re: Looking for feedback: HDR

Nice work on that one too! Was that an HDR composite?

I have never heard of the photowalk -- I'll have to look into it. Can you PM me with more info? Thanks!
--
Jeremy

 TheVoid's gear list:TheVoid's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony a77 II Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II +2 more
dpdphoto Regular Member • Posts: 170
Re: Looking for feedback: HDR

I've done a fair amount of HDR, both Photomatix and manually in Photoshop by combining and masking layers. Sometimes I get a satisfying image from Photomatix but I try very hard to avoid the HDR look; I call it post-apocalyptic...like everything is glowing from a massive radioactive exposure. I don't have the software in front of me now, but there are some settings I change very little because straying very far will give a lot of that glowing look that screams HDR. One complaint I have with Photomatix at least is that the product always seems softer than the original, even though I almost always use images froma tripod...and these are not long focal length images.

The best results are always from manually layer masking multiple exposures in Photoshop...but sometmes that is not feasible.

Here is a Flickr set of stuff I ve done in various ways:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dpdphoto/sets/72157602792518501/

OP TheVoid Senior Member • Posts: 1,724
Thanks Dean...

That's a very nice collection Dean - thanks. I spent quite a bit of time over the weekend re-doing this same shot several ways. I am learning as I go and trying to be patient and light-handed with those sliders!

I did notice the added softness that comes with the HDRSoft method. In some cases I am getting sharper results using a single RAW file to build my HDR source TIFF or JPG files (by adjusting exposure in the raw processing software and developing), as opposed to physically creating multiple exposures in the field... and either method leaves very little room for focus errors! I might post the final result here when I get one I'm happy with, just to provide some closure.

Hope you make it back to Utah soon - you handle those Zion shots nicely! As for me, I'm hoping to get back to the San Juans in CO for some more alpine and ghost town shoots. Maybe next summer.
--
Jeremy

 TheVoid's gear list:TheVoid's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony a77 II Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II +2 more
OP TheVoid Senior Member • Posts: 1,724
Reworked attempt

Here's the latest rendering...

-- hide signature --

Jeremy

 TheVoid's gear list:TheVoid's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony a77 II Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II +2 more
tchuanye Veteran Member • Posts: 3,895
Re: Reworked attempt

Very nice! Don't look like a HDR at all! well done!

 tchuanye's gear list:tchuanye's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Canon PowerShot S95 Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Sony SLT-A77 +10 more
OP TheVoid Senior Member • Posts: 1,724
Re: Reworked attempt

Thanks for the kind words. I've been enjoying your Canadian Rockies pictures as well!
--
Jeremy

 TheVoid's gear list:TheVoid's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony a77 II Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II +2 more
tchuanye Veteran Member • Posts: 3,895
Re: Reworked attempt

Can you share what was your workflow to achieve this ?

TheVoid wrote:

Thanks for the kind words. I've been enjoying your Canadian Rockies pictures as well!
--
Jeremy

 tchuanye's gear list:tchuanye's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Canon PowerShot S95 Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Sony SLT-A77 +10 more
OP TheVoid Senior Member • Posts: 1,724
Re: Reworked attempt

Sure, with a disclaimer that I'm still very new to HDR post processing and any success I achieve so far is a lot of luck with some trial and error.

My first attempt was a composite of 5 RAW shots dumped straight into Photomatix. I think the shots were a full stop apart, so covered a range of -2 to +2 stops. I played with the sliders until it looked "impressive" to me on an uncalibrated monitor, then generated the JPG and did some additional work with levels and saturation in CS4.

Next step -- make that original JPG my wallpaper at work so I stare at it many times per day. This usually helps me figure out what I don't like about the photo and let's my original enthusiasm wear off a bit so I can approach the project more humbled.

So on this latest attempt, I tossed out the +2 exposure and went with only 4 RAW files. This avoided the temptation to push the shadow detail to extremely unnatural levels because I simply didn't have them anymore. I also applied some sharpening and noise reduction and color correction to the RAW files before developing -- I used almost the same settings on each exposure, especially the color temperature -- I cooled it off quite a bit from the RAW default knowing that the HDR processing would bring back a lot of saturation. (I am using Sony's RAW converter because I don't have LR4 or ACR in a version that supports my camera's RAW files).

Finally, Instead of feeding the RAW files directly into Photomatix, I developed them to 16-bit TIFF files instead, simply for an experiment and because I had read somewhere that Photomatix RAW conversion can introduce more noise than many RAW conversion programs out there. So then I merged the 4 TIFF files into Photomatix and again played with the sliders, this time trying to achieve a lot more realism (less saturation and luminance than first attempt). Also, before all of this I turned down the brightness of my monitor quite a bit until several test images started to look like physical prints of the same image (non-technical calibration!).

I'm still not sure that I'm "done" with this pic -- I will order a small print from my lab and compare the output to the screen image, and it may need some more adjustment in CS4 to get it to print the way I want.
--
Jeremy

 TheVoid's gear list:TheVoid's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony a77 II Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II +2 more
UtahManSir Veteran Member • Posts: 4,659
Re: Reworked attempt

Hmmmm.... the pic is not showing on my Firefox at work, will have to check it at home. Can you post a link to the photo?

Lloyd
--

“For every problem there is a solution which is simple, clean and wrong.” Henry Louis Mencken

http://lloydshell.blogspot.com/
http://lloydshell.zenfolio.com/
WSSA #354

dpdphoto Regular Member • Posts: 170
I also cannot see his images

In my case I know it is my work internet not allowing downloads from that site: Calls it "online storage"

OP TheVoid Senior Member • Posts: 1,724
Re: I also cannot see his images

Sorry all -- it was a link from my DropBox public folder; I will re-post tonight as an upload to my gallery here.
--
Jeremy

 TheVoid's gear list:TheVoid's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony a77 II Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II +2 more
OP TheVoid Senior Member • Posts: 1,724
...Reposted from gallery

Reposted -- sorry for the inconvenience!

-- hide signature --

Jeremy

 TheVoid's gear list:TheVoid's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony a77 II Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II +2 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads