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Different Styles of HDR


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#1 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 09:18 PM

In this thread, I'd like to discuss the various styles of HDR. Each of us doing HDR should post ONE image, describing the style and technique in detail for our readers.

Since this is an educational pinned thread, let's hold back from the "Hey that's a great image, dude!" posts, and instead, discuss the technique and ask questions.

This thread can be an educational point of reference for those wanting to learn this technique.
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Darrell Young (Digital Darrell)
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#2 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 09:22 PM

In this image I shot three images, from a tripod, with a one-stop range between each image. I was only concerned with opening up the shadows a bit, but keeping it natural looking. I suppose you could call this image a "conservative" HDR style, which is what I tend to shoot. I want the viewer to be happy with the image without any conscious thought as to whether it is an HDR, or not. I want to make 'em guess: Attached File  JohnOliversCabin_DarrellYoung.jpg   281.31KB   1 downloads
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"Better too many words than not enough understanding." - Darrell Young
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: AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition (for Df), AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR (x2), AF-S Nikkor DX 16-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR, AF Nikkor 80-400 f/4.5-5.6D ED VR, AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8, AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D, AI Nikkor 35mm f/2, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8 Series E, AI Nikkor 105mm f/2.5, AI Nikkor 200mm f/4, Non-AI Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4, Sigma 10-20mm EX f/3.5-5.6, M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 ED
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#3 kickstan

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 10:36 PM

Darrell, Do you use a polarizer when you shoot for HDR ?
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#4 Jon H.

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 11:44 PM

Good thread, Darrell! Thanks for kicking it off!

So hard to choose one favorite HDR image, but I selected this one as a contrast to the more "natural / photographic" process of your first image:
Posted Image

Most HDR guys (and gals) will tell you the best results with HDR are with the camera locked down on a tripod with no movement between frames. However, in this case, I was able to handhold the D2h / 12-24mm, and crank off 5 frames using Auto Exposure Bracketing and Continuous High (CH) mode without significant movement. Since the AEB on the D2h (and other Nikons that I've used) only does 1EV between frames, I usually shoot 5-7, and choose the middle and two extremes once I get the images loaded into Lightroom. Sometimes I make manual exposure adjustments between frames, or use a cabled remote with HDR exposure functions that I'm beta testing (this will be really cool for HDR aficionados once it hits the market).

HDR processing in Photomatix Pro tends to exaggerate the saturation if you leave it at the default settings. In this case, there's no selective color processing...this was the result right from Photomatix (as far as color, contrast, etc.). I tend to tone down saturation in the tonemapping step, but I left it alone in this case because I liked the "candy colors"...seemed to work with the subject matter.

More of my eclectic HDR collection here.

J
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#5 Gary

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 12:02 AM

Both great images to start off. @ DD, how did you manage to keep such a sharp image after the HDR treatment, my own attempts always look fuzzy with ghosting evident. Your image above is indeed puzzling, is it an HDR or not! @ Jon, to keep the high saturation of the subject yet adjust the sky to almost B&W, do you use layers or masks when applying the tone mapping? Thanks in advance, Gary
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#6 Jon H.

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 01:03 AM


@ Jon, to keep the high saturation of the subject yet adjust the sky to almost B&W, do you use layers or masks when applying the tone mapping?


Thanks, Gary. Actually, there was no selective color (or monochrome, in this case) adjustment for this image. I didn't touch the sky here. However, one thing that you'll find with HDR is that clear, featureless sky tends to get really grainy, grungy if you push the processing much beyond norms. In that case, it's not uncommon to "double-process" HDR images: once for "non-sky" portions, and a second time for sky. Then take both images into Photoshop and mask to reveal the clean sky (like THIS).

Also, HDR tends to be relatively unflattering for people. So, when I have people in an HDR scene, I'll often use a single normally exposed frame from the HDR sequence for the person, and mask him in (Like THIS).

J
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#7 Gary

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 01:38 AM

Stunning images Jon and many thanks for the info. Note to self: Must try harder :) Gary
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#8 Black Pearl

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 03:53 AM

I like to use HDR to extend the exposure range and not for the HDR 'effect'. I rarely use a tripod unless it is an interior shot where the exposure times are going to be long (noise is a major problem with HDR shots) and prefer to shoot the same as if I were taking a single shot. Setting the D200 to Auto Bracket and High-Speed shooting means all the exposures are taken within a second so what little movement there is can be auto aligned in Photomatix. I find HDR shots need a LOT of work once you get them into Photoshop to be even close to useable with a tweak to the levels and a heafty dose of curves being the start point. I use Nik Viveza to then selectively control various parts of the image untill I am about happy then the dodge & burn tool to give it that last 'ping'.

Outside and shot as described above.

Posted Image

Edited by Black Pearl, 21 February 2009 - 04:01 AM.

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#9 potownrob

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 04:23 AM

These are all impressive and not like typical wild HDR shots. These all look much more natural.
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#10 Gary

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 06:53 AM

OK, here's my attempt.
I shot this on the D3 through the week in my local hills, it was quite a lovely image but lacking punch.

Using CS4 Exposure settings, I created 5 images (-2 to +2) then popped them into Photomatix, played around with the sliders then tone mapped.
Opened the 16bit Tiff in CS4, altered the levels and applied a ND filter affect to the sky to darken it more.

The results:

Posted Image
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#11 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 03:38 PM

Darrell, Do you use a polarizer when you shoot for HDR ?


Stan,

I normally use a polarizer for my scenic/landscape shots, even in HDR. I enjoy the extra saturation and reflection removal on leaves and such. Deepens the color.
Best regards,
Darrell Young (Digital Darrell)
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#12 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 03:46 PM

Both great images to start off.

@ DD, how did you manage to keep such a sharp image after the HDR treatment, my own attempts always look fuzzy with ghosting evident. Your image above is indeed puzzling, is it an HDR or not!

@ Jon, to keep the high saturation of the subject yet adjust the sky to almost B&W, do you use layers or masks when applying the tone mapping?

Thanks in advance, Gary


Gary,

I shoot on a tripod for all of my HDR shots. I use mirror up, and a electronic release to prevent touching the camera. I do not fire consecutive shots rapidly. Instead I press the release twice for each image, one to raise the mirror, and another a second or two later to fire the shutter. This only works on images that are static. I even try to wait until no wind is blowing so there will be no camera movement at all.

I have never yet had to align images in Photoshop, since they were shot very carefully. However, it might even provide more sharpness to use the image alignment feature. I have not had unsharp images after HDR, due to the fact that I am a sharpness fanatic, and use prime lenses to wring every last bit of sharpness out of a scene. This year I am going to experiment with using pro-level zoom lenses to replace some of my prime shooting. I am starting with the extremely sharp Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC EX HSM MACRO. I'll use it in the 24-35mm range mostly. I'll report back on my progress.

My image above is very much an HDR image. I just process it to bring out the shadow detail I want, without introducing the shadowless look that many attempt in HDR. The nice thing about HDR is that it allows you to use it "just enough" to get a better, wider dynamic image, or slam it to the wall and obtain special effects. It's a lot of fun!
Best regards,
Darrell Young (Digital Darrell)
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#13 Gary

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 04:31 PM

Some great tips there Darrell, thanks for taking the time to post. Gary
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#14 Ron W

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 12:44 AM

Posted Image

This is a 5 image HDR, and is, in my opinion a pretty subdued use of the HDR technique. I like this style presentation as it presents a realistic image that would be virtually impossible to produce without the use of HDR. This was taken on the dreary morning after the Super Bowl in Tampa, and the skies were dull and overcast with a light mist falling. This image would have looked better with blue skies. The images of the Tampa waterfront that I posted from Super Bowl day were taken from here the day before.

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#15 José

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 10:28 AM

Hello Ron, I really like the way you captured this image. I like the warm color reflected in the frame and also the way the light is balanced. Thanks for sharing it with me.
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#16 Arlon

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 07:37 AM

How did I miss this thread? But only one? I've used HDR in several totally different ways though..

I guess since this supposed to be educational I'll post one shot with my pocket cam (Canon A530) just to show you don't have to have an expensive DSLR and a $500 tripod to do HDR.

This is a set of 2 shots bracket by using the exposure compensation control on the camera.
One image underesposed to capture the details in the lighted area up front and the second to expose the building in the background. Second exposure totally blew out the light in the front, first shot you couldn't see any detail in the buildings.

Camera was just set on a rail of our parking garage and shot with the self timer.

I used photomatix to generate the HDR image from two JPG files.

Click image for the larger version..

Posted Image

Edited by Arlon, 27 May 2009 - 07:40 AM.

D50, D90, D100 IR, D700, D800E and a bunch of old manual lenses..
D70 IR (stolen), D200 (stolen)

#17 photojazz

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 09:02 AM

Awesome shots and knowledge here for all. Thanks for the topic DD and to all other posters.

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#18 Loganjet

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 09:08 AM

This is a most excellent thread, you guys are providing lots of information on styles and options. If you could post the original shots, along with the HDR I think this would be most helpful. Thanks DD for the idea.
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#19 Arlon

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 10:42 AM

This is a most excellent thread, you guys are providing lots of information on styles and options. If you could post the original shots, along with the HDR I think this would be most helpful.

Thanks DD for the idea.



Since I already posted my one shot here's a link to a Pbase gallery with 4 originals and the final HDR I did last year.. http://www.pbase.com..._inputs_example
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#20 photojazz

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 03:02 AM

I like to use HDR to extend the exposure range and not for the HDR 'effect'. I rarely use a tripod unless it is an interior shot where the exposure times are going to be long (noise is a major problem with HDR shots) and prefer to shoot the same as if I were taking a single shot. Setting the D200 to Auto Bracket and High-Speed shooting means all the exposures are taken within a second so what little movement there is can be auto aligned in Photomatix. I find HDR shots need a LOT of work once you get them into Photoshop to be even close to useable with a tweak to the levels and a heafty dose of curves being the start point. I use Nik Viveza to then selectively control various parts of the image untill I am about happy then the dodge & burn tool to give it that last 'ping'.

Outside and shot as described above.

Posted Image


Wow, this images is incredible...thanks for posting BP

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#21 Charlie Choc

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 10:37 AM

I use HDR mainly to bring out detail from scenes with a more exposure range than my camera can capture. I try for a natural look, and use the technique more with my D200 than I do with my D700. I use Photomatix pro to merge the images and have found, at least with earlier versions, that the greens tended to come out a bit lurid, so I tone them down with CS4. This image is a 3 shot HDR taken with my D200 and 28-70mm @ f/16. After I merged the shots with Photmatix I used the CS4 "Old Style" preset with opacity set to around 33% to tone down the greens.

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#22 D50Michael

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 06:43 PM

I use HDR mainly to bring out detail from scenes with a more exposure range than my camera can capture. I try for a natural look, and use the technique more with my D200 than I do with my D700. I use Photomatix pro to merge the images and have found, at least with earlier versions, that the greens tended to come out a bit lurid, so I tone them down with CS4.

This image is a 3 shot HDR taken with my D200 and 28-70mm @ f/16. After I merged the shots with Photmatix I used the CS4 "Old Style" preset with opacity set to around 33% to tone down the greens.


Very nice HDR, here in the northeast, those beaver dams mean great brook trout fishing.
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#23 Charlie Choc

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:17 PM

Very nice HDR, here in the northeast, those beaver dams mean great brook trout fishing.


Thanks. In the Rockies as well, although brookies are often considered pests out there.
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#24 Sailjunkie

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:32 PM

Hi Charlie, I agree with the other poster. This is a really nice shot. I have noticed that the posters here all seem to prefer more "natural" looks, instead of the grunge or more obvious HDR settings. I prefer that myself. Because my experiments with HDR can be best described as "baby steps", I won't be posting anything here, just yet. However, it is nice to see that others also like to use Photomatix to merge images, then do post-processing in in CS4. Meanwhile, this is a great place to learn, so I will be popping back from time to time, to see what I can learn. Mark
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#25 Charlie Choc

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:44 PM

Hi Mark, Thanks. The nice thing about digital is that you can practice over and over with little cost (other than time). The biggest things I have found to watch out for with Photomatix are halos and overly bright greens. The latest version of Photomatix is much better with halos than previous versions, and the issue with greens can be taken care of in CS4.
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#26 photojazz

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:06 AM

II just started with HDR, thanks to a LR4 three set HDR preset that allows heavy, medium or light HDR conversions. I am starting to see advantages of using HDR in all aspects of viewing. I personally like doing HDR converting of people. Here is one... Attached File  hdr18-3498.jpg   171.29KB   0 downloads

PhotoJazz - Just Capturing Life
PlanetNikon Member 141

 

I photo-shoot with film, digital and medium format cameras, which includes the following:
Nikon D605, D200, F4E, F5, FE2 (Black & Silver), EM
Mamiya C330 Professional, M645 1000s, RB67
Bronica ETRSI

iPhone 8+
And I have some lenses.

 

Additional: Video editing with Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro X 10.4 and LumaFusion

C&C Is Always Welcome!!
 


#27 Guest_chaswes5_*

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:15 AM

Is this you Jazz ?

#28 photojazz

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:20 AM

Is this you Jazz ?


No Charles..I am not that handsome..Posted ImageThis is Dwayne, an older but smooth Jazz drummer.

PhotoJazz - Just Capturing Life
PlanetNikon Member 141

 

I photo-shoot with film, digital and medium format cameras, which includes the following:
Nikon D605, D200, F4E, F5, FE2 (Black & Silver), EM
Mamiya C330 Professional, M645 1000s, RB67
Bronica ETRSI

iPhone 8+
And I have some lenses.

 

Additional: Video editing with Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro X 10.4 and LumaFusion

C&C Is Always Welcome!!
 


#29 Gary Poole

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:12 AM

My HDR preference is to make natural looking images when the dynamic range exceeds the capability of my camera's sensor. This picture was taken in Zion National Park in the USA. Preserving the clouds and sky colors and showing some shadow detail were impossible in one shot. This image was made from 3 shots, using the as metered exposure with matrix metering, -1 stop, and +1 stop. I was using a 28-70/2.8 lens at 28mm and f/8 on my D300. Of course the camera was tripod mounted as I do for all landscape images. The 3 images were blended using the Local tone Mapper mode in Oloneo Photo Engine. Attached File  Zion20111003_407-HDRA.JPG   1.38MB   0 downloads

Edited by Gary Poole, 22 March 2012 - 10:15 AM.

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#30 tlsmith1000

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:14 AM

Now that I can do bracketing with the D7000, I figures I'd give HDR another whirl. Here's a shot of my desk at work, cleaned up in LR3, ran through Photomatix (unregistered, obviously), and then neatened a bit more back in LR3. It has a sort of surreal look that I find appealing. Attached File  Office HDR.jpg   262.29KB   0 downloads
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