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Any experience with HDR High Dynamic Range techniques

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by Vernon t, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. I've seen some fascinating and intriguing applications of HDR.
    I've not seen it discussed on the forums here recently.

    Anybody have experience in HDR techniques with CS2/3 or Photomatics or others??

    Next week.....
    The combination of my new 14-24 and my trip to Crested Butte should give my a chance to play with camera/computer/awsome-landscape combination.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2008
  2. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Vernon :

    Heh. There've been a number of HDR discussions on the Landscapes forum. Terri French posted a thread just this week (Terri's Fine HDR Discussion).

    John P.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  3. Thanks.
    I've searched HDR and high dynamic range on the café to no avail.
  4. PAReams


    Apr 4, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    I've had some pretty good luck with the Bracketeer program.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  5. Vern,

    I have not played with HDR in awhile (long while actually) here are few shots I did while experimenting with HDR.

    You can get some decent results with 1 image. But I think other techniques can also be used to achieve similar results.

    This below is a 1 image HDR attempt. Very dark shadows, very bright sun.
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    HDR is will produce much better results if more than image is used for processing.

    Reef tanks are a great place to try HDR. Very bright lights and lots of shadows in rocks and near bottom of the tank. It is very tough to take 1 image of reef tank and get all levels of the tank exposed correctly.
    This one was created from 4 images, 2 stops apart.
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    Here is another. 5 pics, 2 stops apart. This one done hand held, no tripod.
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    Last one. Technique a little weak but this one taken in very bright afternoon sun and shadows in the foreground and some decorative clouds. With 1 image it would be impossible to expose the shadows, mid stuff in sun and clouds. I think this was 4 or 5 images 2 stops apart. It was really windy this day so it is a little blurry.
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    I say pick out scene that has high dynamic range and give it a try. I have CS3 but have not tried HDR but I think CS3 has improved HDR capabilities. Heck maybe I will try it out tomorrow and post if I get something interesting.
  6. Nice work Mark....been wondering what you have been up to :wink:
  7. Hi Mike, How have you been?
  8. PeterRH

    PeterRH Guest

    I use HDR a fair bit now that I have started to be able to control the final output to get some contrast and colour back into the images.

    HDR will bring some degree of artificiality given that we are combining multiple images across a vastly greater range than would be normal.

    I use Photomatix and then bring into CS3 for some localised lab mode work and contrast.....here's an example from a shoot I did for a rail operator back in feb/March this year:


    As you might imagine, in the 'normal' shots I would either get night-black shadows and well exposed exterior, or open-shadows with the rest of the station blown to heck. This was nine images spaced 1 f/stop apart (so -4 to +4).
  9. Vern, yes perhaps I should buy heh? Thx for the link. Although I have not done any HDR stuff for awhile now.

    Peter, nice use of HDR. I like the contrast as well.
  10. Where as I haven't been doing much with HDR images lately, I have Photomatix pro and get images like this:

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    and this:

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    I find that cityscapes and landscapes are the best subjects for HDR. I have a trip to MAine in a few weeks and I plan on taking a lot of shots with HDR in mind.
  11. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    here is one I did a while back:

  12. Question:

    Creating HDR images with Photomatix clearly is best done with tripod-shot images....but.....

    I'm sure I'll find this out for myself,
    Does the "align source images" feature work to allow HDR images to be created from almost-but-not-perfect handheld bracketed images?

    I ask because my camera body allows the front buttons to be set for "bracketing burst" so as to capture the 5 bracketed shots in about 1/2 second with a single shutter-button press. Pretty cool functionality for this need.

  13. Rk, Commodore and That's Good.., all nice examples of HDR. RK really like the waterfall shot, very nice!

    Vern, I would venture to say yes. I have done a couple bracketed scenes hand held and they came out decent. One example was the one above of the river. Bracket burst is a nice function to have. Is that on the D3? Does the D300 have that functionality?
  14. I guess I never directly answered the question did I Vern?

    Technique: Probably nothing here that you do know already know.
    1) Use a Tripod if possible or monopod or if you have bracket burst mode (I like to see some examples of BBurst) I bet that could work fairly well.
    2) 3-8 exposures. With stops adjusted to cover at least 6 stops. That is, if 3 pics I would use 2 stops and with 8 pics I would probably use 1 stop. My theory is that a camera can cover 5-6 stops and the goal with HDR is try to cover a higher range than that of one image. So, I would say try to get all images of the scene to exceeed that of 1 image. I might be a little off here and I am sure there is more to it than that.
    3) Tone mapping: This part I need to experiment more. As mentioned it is easy to over process an HDR image and get the halo's and the over the top HDR look. Which in some cases can look interesting. I prefer the HDR processed images that do not look like that.
    4) Oh, one thing I know. If doing outdoor scenes, try to do when is not windy to reduce motion blur in trees etc.
    5) Adjust contrast. I noticed the examples I posted look rather flat. I need to work on that.

    Still learning, I would love to hear other's techniques as well.
  15. Thanks Mark.
    It's a D3.

    I think there are 3 types of HDR images to my eyes:

    1. The ones that look natural and have the vast dynamic range that our eyes do.

    2. The over-the-top ones that look surreal or painterly or unearthly. I've seen some that I like.

    3. The ones that look like 60's oversaturated travel postcards.

    Nice to have a repertoire at hand.

    I've played with HDR in CS3 with mixed results. I think I'll splurge on Photomatix so as to have something to play with on my upcoming mountain vacation. I'm a night owl (helpful in my OB career) and stay up late with this sort of thing playing.
  16. PeterRH

    PeterRH Guest


    Photomatix is certainly worth the expense even if you already have CS3. The range of adjustments is superior.

    Easiest way to get to a smooth workflow in Photomatix for me is to use the 'batch processing' function which pulls all of the options into one place and is repeatable.

    Since you like more realistic conversions, when you generate an HDR image try the 'using details enhancer' option in batch processing rather than the tone compressor or any of the 'highlights and shadows' selections.

    You'll need to do some additional work in CS3 to get more realistic output but that's where your own preferences come in and the fun really begins.

    Good luck and bring back some Mountain scenery HDR conversions!
  17. Gigantos

    Gigantos Guest

    I'm a big fan of the Photomatix software. It's definitely worth the small cost. There's a nice tutorial here and it has a discount code: http://stuckincustoms.com/2006/06/06/548/.

    Here are a couple of mine...





  18. Wow.
    What an amazing output from you and Photomatix!

    Moving people are hardly ideal subjects for bracketing.
    Am I to presume this is what this is what Photomatix does with a single .nef or other RAW file???
    If so what do you do regarding exposure compensation that is destined for conversion by Photomatix? Underexpose a stop or so???
    Is it a shot done with stickincustoms Photoshop layering/masking technique like his Time Square shot in the excellent tutorial that I read this morning a 2AM while awaiting, yet again, the arrival of a stubborn fetus traversing his mom's pelvis!!!
  19. Another discount (15% off) can be found here. Use the "buy now" link instead of the link to HDRSoft.
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