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Old May 30, 2012, 9:58 PM   #1
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Nice this topic came up now, we just got back from Estes Park, Colorado. Being spring, the weather changed often while we were there. I'm interested in what others think of these two pictures (had been thinking of posting them to the HDR board for comments).

They weren't taken at the same time or the same exact location.

Here's the HDR version, made up of 5 exposures:



And here's a version that is a single exposure, where I had exposed for the sky and then lightened the very dark ground.



Some days I prefer the single exposure others I prefer the HDR version. There isn't a huge difference between them, but there is some.

I have no idea what this cloud formation is, but I was fascinated with it.
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Old May 31, 2012, 8:46 AM   #2
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I love to look at the clouds and you have captured these with great depth. I like how they almost mimic the landscape.
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Old May 31, 2012, 9:33 AM   #3
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Both very nice captures. I personally prefer the non-HDR shot.
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Old May 31, 2012, 10:06 AM   #4
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very nice and i like both
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Old May 31, 2012, 10:32 AM   #5
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To my eye, the HDR version is terrific. The blending is very natural and the exposure range used to good effect. The composition is superb. There's wonderful texture in the sky and the mountains, and the forest is distinct and crisp. OTOH, I find the single shot less than thrilling. The sky is fine, but the forest is under-exposed and the little tip of mountain fails to grab me. FWIW
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Old May 31, 2012, 2:21 PM   #6
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tclune - It always amazes me how focused on one element I can become, especially (or mostly) with my own pictures. I hadn't considered the composition elements, only the clouds, tone and colors. Compositionally, I agree, the HDR version is better now that you've pointed it out (though the tip of mountain sticking up struck me as it was sort-of playing hide and seek, teasing me with it's potential grandeur - comparing the two it doesn't work). The clouds are more dramatic in the HDR version, not as much going on in the single exposure (as I said, they were taken at different times and different locations though on the same morning). The forest in the single exposure looks lighter on my monitor at home, here at work it loses the definitition that's actually in the picture. I might try lightening just the tree band more, or try the same thing on a single exposure of the HDR view. Interesting food for thought.

Tullio - what is it that you prefer in the non-HDR picture? One of the problems I had with it was the white balance - ithe HDR version was quite cool (not surprising since the sun really wasn't out much), so I added a photo warming adjustment layer in post processing. I really have trouble with doing something like this so perhaps I went a bit over-board with the HDR one? I felt the white balance/tone was a bit better in the single exposure.

Thanks, I'm always interested in feedback like this! I'm still on the fence with these two.
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Old May 31, 2012, 3:18 PM   #7
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What I dislike most about HDR is the fact that it removes shadows too aggressively and as a result images tend to look flat. In this case, most of the shadows caused by the pine trees are gone on the first shot. The colors are not as saturated as on the non-HDR shot. The clouds on the first shot has a bit of a yellow/magenta cast and the shaded part of the background hill (on the left) looks much brighter than it probably was (again, that's the HDR effect).
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Old May 31, 2012, 8:41 PM   #8
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Wow, what great photos, mtngal.

Those clouds are particularly powerful - I believe they indicate a ridge of high pressure (or maybe low pressure) in the air above.... (from recollection of other similar photos, where they've been described).

That 'cloud ridge' really leads the eye in to the photo - and to the mountain peak, particularly in the 1st (HDR) one. Beautiful scenery, with the grass field / paddock, leading the eyes into the pine forest from below too. I probably would have liked to see a bit more foreground grass, closer to the camera- but that's a person preference.

Whenever I do HDRs, my aim is to reproduce as faithfully as possible the scene. Many people 'overcook' HDRs so the images are too flat, and lack contrast - even though the micro detail (particularly in shadow areas) does come out.

So balancing these is a fine point. When a HDR is done well, it can really 'shine' - but won't 'speak of HDR'. I do prefer the 1st photo from a composition point of view and the level of details that can be seen in the pine forest, and mountain. But yes, the colours (saturation and contrast) isn't quite as good as the 2nd (single image) one.

Cheers again!

Paul
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Old May 31, 2012, 11:18 PM   #9
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The color cast in the HDR version was put in by me later, in an attempt to correct a different color cast the software created. I tried to go back to one of the frames I used for the HDR, to see if I could get it to look more like the non-HDR version, but couldn't this evening (I'll try a different way tomorrow, its too late to do anything useful). I also went back to the tiff HDR file to see if I could get it to look better - I think the color is still "off" in the meadow and trees, but doesn't have the odd color in the sky.
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Old Jun 1, 2012, 10:10 AM   #10
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I absolutely agree with you, Paul. HDR is a great way to bring out details in shadowed areas but it can very easily flatten out the image by removing the shadows too much. Without shadows, the image looses its 3D effect.
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