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mtngal Feb 20, 2010 7:10 PM

Which is better?
Here's two frames - one is the middle exposure and one is an HDR. There's nothing seriously wrong with the HDR. The middle exposure has all the windows blown out. But I actually prefer the middle exposure - I found the bits of trees seen through the far windows distracting and there's been a bit of a color shift along the base of the walls. I thought about cropping out the walls altogether, but thought it would be awkward - I didn't shoot it as a detail (I've done that before, it's really fun to examine all of its intricacies (and it doesn't need HDR either).

Bynx - this is the ceiling you can partly see in the window picture I posted in the critique section.

Am I way off with thinking that the middle exposure is a better picture?

shoturtle Feb 20, 2010 7:14 PM

1st one, the second has to much light.

bahadir Feb 20, 2010 7:41 PM

Hi, Harriet! Since it is the ceiling which which seems to be the subject of these images, the middle exposure stands out here as you pointed out. But when you compare the two images you'll see that the octagonal part of the ceiling in the hdr image looks more vivid. So, I'd drag the hdr image as a layer on the middle exposure ceiling and erase the rest of it except the octagonal part since the rest of the ceiling looks more favourable in the middle exposure picture.

Chato Feb 20, 2010 9:06 PM

Bahdir has a point. The whited out highlights are just too damn distracting.


lesmore49 Feb 20, 2010 10:12 PM

I like # 1 the best, for the same reason as Shoturtle. What lens were you using ?

Bynx Feb 20, 2010 10:13 PM

Its quite the ceiling. Details details details. Wow. Thanks mtngal

Hards80 Feb 20, 2010 10:23 PM

some great details here. my first impression was similar to previously mentioned. just layer the 2 images and take the best parts from each, and adjust opacity as needed.

really nice, i like detailed ceilings like this and some nice patterns as well.

mtngal Feb 20, 2010 11:39 PM

Interesting thoughts - I like the idea of blending the two.

Les - I used the DA 12-24, now that I've sorted out the front focusing issue I was having with it on the K-7, I'm using it a lot again.

A couple of technical notes - the originals were taken hand-held using the auto exposure bracketing on the camera. It will take 5 exposures with one push of the shutter, but there are still differences between frames. Photomatix has an excellent auto align feature but it will crop a bit off sides, etc. to make it all work.

That means that the HDR version is a slightly different size and also at a slightly different angle - I noticed it when I was working with the files originally. As I've said elsewhere, I'm not patient enough to perfectly match things by eye - I let the computer do it. I opened both files in CS4, went to scripts - load files into stack, chose "open files" and "automatically align layers". That took care of the mis-alignment.

The HDR's version of the ceiling is better so I made sure that layer was on top. Then I decided that too many people were bothered by the blown out parts, so I wanted to try to bring back some detail, so I added a layer mask to the top layer and used a gradient (black to white) over the bottom of the picture. That allowed some of the middle exposure to show through, but not all and it's a gradual shift from one to another, better than what I usually manage with the paint brush. The windows get a little detail but not enough to distract me as much as the HDR version. And it took care of the strange color shift on the walls.

I like how it came out. One little thing I liked better with the HDR version is the center chandelier, and this way I kept it :)

Thank you all for the suggestions on how to make the picture work better. This has been fun. I hope I haven't bored people too much with how I did it, but I always love reading about new processing stuff so I tend to get carried away (especially when it's worked well).

Patrikios Feb 21, 2010 4:12 AM

For what it's worth, I still prefer the middle exposure version. The creamy whites of the walls make a better contrast with the rich brown textures of the ceiling and the blown out highlights in the windows give an ethereal feel to the light that is quite appropriate given the location...

Bynx Feb 21, 2010 7:31 AM

Not to get back to the eye and HDR comparisons, but if we were in the room your third shot is about what we would see. There should be some detail in the windows. All round its a really nice shot. And I too like that chandelier. It fits very well with the delicate complexities of the ceiling.

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