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Another HDR Thread

This is a discussion on Another HDR Thread within the Photoshop - graphics programs - pluggins - for photography forums, part of the Education & Technical category; Okay, it seems that slagging "overdone" HDR is almost as cool these days for the photo purists as resisting post ...

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    Default Another HDR Thread

    Okay, it seems that slagging "overdone" HDR is almost as cool these days for the photo purists as resisting post processing completely or, even better, still shooting only film.

    But of course what is considered to be overdone varies from one eye to the next.

    So, I'm driving along a rural highway at sunset yesterday evening and I see a nice view of an orangey sunset through some light streaky clouds with an old farm house in the foreground and I stop, set up my camera to shoot 5 bracketed exposures, and with my cranky little girl reminding me it's past bed time I'm back in the car driving home.

    At home I load the photos into Lightroom and like what I see, but none of the versions are what my eyes saw. Of the bracketed exposures, I like the underexposed one the best because it has the most colour in the sky but, not that I dislike it entirely, the farm house and foreground is completely in vignette. While my eyes saw the vivid sky and some detail in the backlit farm house. So I load the 5 shots into Photomatix to see what I can come up with.

    Below is my original underexposed (-2) shot that I liked best if I was against post processing altogether. Then we have my Photomatix result that used mostly mild settings, I think this one would mostly be accepted as the bearable use of HDR processing but borderline. Then one with a little stronger settings, this is the point at which most purists would say it's overdone and cartoony looking.

    Which do I like? Well I like the punchiest one to be honest, but its apparently so uncool that I think maybe it's just a fad for me that I'll regret later (Seeing my old HDR posts will be like looking at all my plaid shirts in my closet). I've always been a few steps behind the cool crowd.

    But I really think that what my eyes saw, whether my brain is remembering it correctly or not, was somewhere between the two HDR results- closer the shot #2 obviously and not as saturated as the 3rd shot, But is it really that obnoxious?
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    Last edited by F8&Bthere; 07-13-2009 at 06:50 PM.

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    I agree on the last one being my choice. It maybe punchier, but the colours are darker as well which I think counters the sun best. The middle one looks flat to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_Nuspel View Post
    I agree on the last one being my choice. It maybe punchier, but the colours are darker as well which I think counters the sun best. The middle one looks flat to me.
    Thanks Greg. That's what I was getting at, from my perspective. What some call overdone others call appealing, and what some call natural others call bland. I'm all for realism in photography, but certain scenes are near impossible for the typical consumer/prosumer DSLRs to capture in the way the "eye saw it". That wavy line where post processing crosses over from being tastefully enhanced into having all the subtlety of a 70s era Chicago pimp is different for different people. But when you go through the processing, side by side comparison, and decision making, it's hard not to like the lively version.

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    I like the last shot best as well...I find something as intangible as 'instinct' can often be a good guide when deciding how much is too much.
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    I like shot 3 too. If anything it would only be the greens that seem a bit oversaturated. I have certainly seen sunsets/sunrises with that much colour or more. That said, I like it the way it is.

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    Shot number 3 for me all the way.

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    Looks like I'm going to be the outsider here, and as much as I enjoy my HDR and don't give a rats who doesn't ... I like shot 1! Great silhouette and sunset.

    The last shot has potential in my opinion but needs the blue taken out of the house and then I'd desaturate it a bit. After that I think you'd have a better HDR merge shot.

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    Thanks MA- I like the 1st shot too, as an alternative to one that shows detail. I'm a big fan of silhouettes (not sure why, just like them). As for the HDR version, I think I'll have to tweak the Photomatix settings some more to decrease sat and see what's putting the blue into the house, then try to counter it. The original shots in the bracketing sequence do not have any bluish colour, so it's being introduced in the HDR conversion process.

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    I quite often get the blue cast using photomatix. My rocks in several of the Fly with Me photos for instance. What I did was ignore it until I had it all the way I wanted ... then I duplicated the image ... destaurated the lower layer to take out the blue (in some instances actually going b&w) and then blended the desaturated rocks back through.

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    shot 3
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