HDR revisited

Discussion in 'Landscapes, Architecture, and Cityscapes' started by manzico, May 13, 2007.

  1. Ever since HDR became an option, I've played with it, on and off, but I have never really been happy with my results. They always look flat and seem to be missing something. However, I've seen several very nice HDR images of late and decided to give it another try. Being that I have a 3 week window in which I am not slaving over school and work, I had the opportunity to go up Mt. Lemmon and take some shots. I figured the sunset would make for a good HDR subject (about as HDR as it gets). Here is the same 9-shot set processed for HDR a couple of different ways:

    #1: first run

    I actually liked this result more than previous attempts, perhaps it was that I used 9-shots as opposed to the 3 I had used before (the benefits of bracketing on a D200 as opposed to a D100), or maybe it was that I had the patience to wait for the processing with the radius set to max (260 I think). But even so, I still found the image a little flat. I also wanted to compare HDR in CS2 with HDR in CS3 (which I have on my new mac). So I reprocessed the same 9 shots on my mac in CS3 and that got me this:

    #2: second run

    This I really liked, but I realized that the primary difference between this image and the previous one was that I worked the curves more in both the HDR to 16-bit conversion and after the conversion so I figured I'd try to apply some stronger curves to the original image:

    #3: first run with additional curves applied

    I'm not sure which of the two I like better (#2 or #3). They're slightly different, but all in all both are much better than my previous HDR attempts. I was so pleased that I did a b&w conversion on #2 (because I am partial to b&w after all):

    #4: second run in b&w

    I may have upped the contrast on this one a bit (losing some of the benefits of HDR), but I like my skies contrasty.

    As always, CC are greatly appreciated.

  2. murreywalker


    Mar 25, 2005
    Dave, I like what you're doing.

    Have you tried just a couple of exposurers? I've never tried to use 9 exposures. I find that if I bracket using an EV of 1, the best results come from that range.

    Sometimes using the extremes produces interesting results as in the lightest and darkest exposure.

    Good luck,
  3. That's what I used to do. I would do a 3-shot bracket with a step size of 1 to 1.3 EV, but I was never happy with the results. I read somewhere that the more shots you use, the better the results. I'm doing things a little differently now, so I don't know if my newer results are due to the use of more shots, or my new processing flow. I'll have to play around with it a little more. I can select 3 of the shots from the 9 and process that to see how it goes. I'll give it a try and report back.

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