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HDR advice

This is a discussion on HDR advice within the Critiques forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; Okay, I am looking for help here guys. I have listened to Marko's podcast 3 times. I've looked at videos ...

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    Red face HDR advice

    Okay, I am looking for help here guys. I have listened to Marko's podcast 3 times. I've looked at videos on the net and I've read. What I lack is 1-1 assistance with it . so that's where you all come in.

    When I went to the beach the other day I set my camera to auto bracket. I took 3 shots (steps at 2) (I tried a number of different steps):
    #1 f/9, 1/320, iso 200. exposure: +0.3
    #2 f/9 1/80, iso 200 exposure bia -1.7
    #3 f/9 1/1250 iso 200 exposure bias -3.7
    (forgive me if this is too much information)

    I have 2 programs: Paint Shop Pro which has an HDR. this is what I got:



    really awful, I know. It's too bright, the sky is washed out, and what the heck is that pink spot in the clouds?

    I downloaded Picturenaut and this is what I got:


    much better but still .

    so here are my questions:
    1. is it the settings I had with the exposure to start with?
    2. I think the subject is okay-the rocks were dark and the sky/water was bright and I wanted to show it all and I thought that it might be a good one to practice on but am open to the suggestion that it was a bad idea.
    3. should I have done more post processing? and if so what?
    4. am I trying this out too soon? (trying to run before I crawl)
    5. were the steps too large?
    6. anything other comments you want to make?

    Feel free to make comments on any of my shots

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    Can I see the original 3 shots B? I would like to see the highlighted and low lighted versions. I think #2 has nice potential.
    "Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives"-anonymous
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    kat
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    Hmmm. First thing that came to mind was the original exposure, how did that look? Then I go to the +2 exposure, did it have a good amount of highlights in the photo?

    For the cloud, did the original exposure have a highlight in that cloud where the pink is? It looks to me like a really burnt out area. But I may be wrong.

    It looks like you have the process down. When I do HDR's it all comes down to the original exposure. If it's not correct, ie.. has too many highlights or too dark then it throws off the other 2 + stopped photos. That in turn can throw of the photo.

    Did you play with your option in photomatix? The top slider has a big difference from the left to right and go down from there.

    I'll let someone who can actually phrase things better than me explain it. I will just confuse you with any more. MA will be here to help you soon!
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    It looks like you you might be a bit high still on your exposure. The lightest shot seems too light, hence the blown out clouds.
    "Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives"-anonymous
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    An HDR is basically a two step process.

    First, you'll have to properly bridge the contrastdifference. It means that the darkest shot can't have blown out blacks and the lightest shot can't have blown out white's. You should check that first, but I think you're all right there. The second shot seems to no area's which are blown out.

    The second step is the tone mapping. This is where you'll probably want to do something more with the shot. I'm not familiar with Picturenaut, but I guess that's the area you'll want to look into.
    Listen, three eyes, don't you try to outweird me, I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal.

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    Answering your questions by number ...

    1. Your settings look fine. f9 on all suggests your used your 'A' or Aperture priority setting which is the first mode I try HDR shots with. 80, 320, 1250 are 2 stop increments which again is what I would tried due to the bright sky and dark shadows on the rocks. I possibly (actually often) would have taken a second set at 1 stop increments as well.

    2. This scene is definitely suitable for HDR. Possibly not totally necessary but still suitable.

    3. I think more processing was needed. Firstly in your HDR Merge program ... however I have no idea how good Paint Shop Pro's HDR software is but I've never heard it compared to Photomatix Pro (the leading software) so I'm guessing it's not as good. What I see here is the processing is quite weak. Whether you can redo this in PSP HDR and get a stronger HDR image I don't know but I do know you'd get it in Photomatix Pro.
    Not sure on Picturenaut, I've tried it and found it a bit awkward to use but I would have thought you'd have gotten a stronger image using it.
    Usually after processing in Photomatix I end up an image that's overdone in some parts but I accept this to get the rest of it looking close to what I want. Then it goes into Photoshop for more tweaking ... dodging, burning, curves/levels, sharpening, maybe even one of the original auto bracketed shots layered under it so I can bring through some detail the HDR process didn't do well ... that sort of thing.

    4. Hmmm I don't think so really. I do think there's a lot for you to learn in more basic DSLR photography and strongly suggest you don't forget to go after those skills as well, but certainly nothing wrong with having a crack at this HDR stuff to give yourself a boost.

    5. ANswered above ... but No ... I don't think so.

    6. My suggestion would be to download the trial version of Photomatix Pro 3 and redo this HDR in there. I think you'll find that the more stronger HDR effect is easier to get and you'll be able to play in there and get several versions of this. It will at least show you that you got the right images to accomplish what you were trying.
    Also I should mention that I have taken many bracketed shots that I was certain would make good HDR and they simply did not. They looked crap no matter how I processed them and were only worthy as normal photos.

    Might be worth doing as Casil has suggested and show us the 3 bracketed shots so we can see what you were playing with here. When I was taking that photo of Redhead Beach I chose as my best shot a few weeks ago I had all sorts of trouble with bracketed shots on the same beach facing in a different direction. The bracketing just wasn't giving me usable shots at all. Something about the light and it's direction or perhaps spray in the air or something ... or a combination of both.

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    thanks everyone for the help. I really appreciate it.

    I will post the originals when I get home for your reference.

    My thoughts are the PSP HDR is crappy. The picturenaut I downloaded because it's 'free' and I thought it might be a good place to play. There doesn't seem to be much I can do with it other then let it run but perhaps I am wrong.
    Feel free to make comments on any of my shots

    my blog: http://bambesblog.blogspot.com/

    My flickr photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bambe1964/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi View Post
    thanks everyone for the help. I really appreciate it.

    I will post the originals when I get home for your reference.

    My thoughts are the PSP HDR is crappy. The picturenaut I downloaded because it's 'free' and I thought it might be a good place to play. There doesn't seem to be much I can do with it other then let it run but perhaps I am wrong.
    DO you mean there's not much you can do with Picturenaut? If so ... yes you are wrong. Casil would be the best person I can think of to guide you in that use I think.

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    Photomatrix is pretty reasonable for the price...it does way more than Picturenaut and is a good place to learn.
    Dynamic Photo HDR is way more beginner friendly and has more things to play around with but you absolutely have to use a tripod...handheld doesn't really work as it's not very adjustment friendly....but it makes great HDR shots IMO.
    Have a look here for some more ideas... Fine art photography forum - Photography.ca - we did a test a while back.
    I think Barefoot uses Picturenaut so if you want to not spend the money he's the go to guy for questions on this particular program.
    "Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives"-anonymous
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    Quote Originally Posted by casil403 View Post
    Photomatrix is pretty reasonable for the price...it does way more than Picturenaut and is a good place to learn.
    Dynamic Photo HDR is way more beginner friendly and has more things to play around with but you absolutely have to use a tripod...handheld doesn't really work as it's not very adjustment friendly....but it makes great HDR shots IMO.
    Have a look here for some more ideas... Fine art photography forum - Photography.ca - we did a test a while back.
    I think Barefoot uses Picturenaut so if you want to not spend the money he's the go to guy for questions on this particular program.
    thanks Casil. I know that there are better programs and I did read the thread. I just decided to start with Picturenaut because of budget reasons. I will likely buy something in the future.

    Anyway here are the 3 photos:







    (I know that they are not level but I levelled them after I combined them).
    Feel free to make comments on any of my shots

    my blog: http://bambesblog.blogspot.com/

    My flickr photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bambe1964/

    A painter takes their vision and makes it a reality. A photographer takes reality and makes it their vision.

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