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Old Jan 24, 2010, 3:01 PM   #1
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Default HDR unnecessary, but what do you think?

I forgot that the camera was still set to auto-bracket when I stopped to photograph this scene. I was rather surprised when the camera fired off a bunch of shots, but figured that since they were there, I might as well run them through Photomatix and see what kind of difference it would make. On normal settings it looked pretty much like the original, but I turned down the light smoothing far more than I usually like and came up with this. I'm not sure it's an improvement over the middle shot, which doesn't need HDR. I wondered what others thought about it.

HDR:



Middle exposure:

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Old Jan 24, 2010, 3:32 PM   #2
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While both shots look similar, they arent really. The HDR version has more 3D look in the clouds and sky as well as better detail in the foreground. Your fstop should have been closed even more so the area right in front of the camera is in focus. You might consider cropping the shot about 1/2 inch below the puddle in the ditch. Gives it more of a panorama look and eliminates the out of focus foreground.
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Old Jan 24, 2010, 4:01 PM   #3
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While both shots look similar, they arent really. The HDR version has more 3D look in the clouds and sky as well as better detail in the foreground. Your fstop should have been closed even more so the area right in front of the camera is in focus. You might consider cropping the shot about 1/2 inch below the puddle in the ditch. Gives it more of a panorama look and eliminates the out of focus foreground.
Quite true, but the middle of the image looks better without the HDR. Take a look at the house and trees...

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Old Jan 24, 2010, 4:05 PM   #4
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i also prefer the middle exposure of this shot. the low dr makes the HDR unnecessary and thus it adds grain and grey to the clouds and takes away the nice contrast of the middle exposure.
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Old Jan 24, 2010, 9:05 PM   #5
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While I agree with both your observations Chato and Dustin, I believe that if the HDR was tuned properly it would surpass the original middle exposure. The background hills up to the top of the photo is superior. Although the whole image is not as sharp as the middle exposure. That would be due to the funny way this site treats some uploads. I strongly feel that a properly handled Photomatix file will always surpass its middle exposed element.
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Old Jan 24, 2010, 9:27 PM   #6
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hdr puts every plane on front: clouds, montains, etc., flattening the image. I think a nice perpective needs a gradation of greys.
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 5:31 PM   #7
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While I agree with both your observations Chato and Dustin, I believe that if the HDR was tuned properly it would surpass the original middle exposure. The background hills up to the top of the photo is superior. Although the whole image is not as sharp as the middle exposure. That would be due to the funny way this site treats some uploads. I strongly feel that a properly handled Photomatix file will always surpass its middle exposed element.
I messed around with Photomatrix, and I'm VERY impressed with it's abilities. Haven't quite made up my mind on which of these HDR programs to buy, (I doubt if I'll use it that much, but when I need it, no doubt it will be a must have program) but Photomatrix is clearly a well thought out program with a nice interface.

But one thing I've noticed is that using it on already well exposed shots, adds little if anything to the final result. I can't say that I've used it on an image, and the results were poor - On the other hand, some shots simply don't benefit, or marginally degrade.

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Old Jan 25, 2010, 10:51 PM   #8
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I think that Ordo hit it on the head - the HDR picture doesn't have the perspective that the middle exposure has. In fact, with one of the photoshop special effects it might pass for one of those paintings that have no perspective at all. A picture with a road leading into it is not the type of picture that works with that type of effect. I'll have to keep this in mind if I hit a subject that would work.

This is the first time I've tried using Photomatix for a scene where it wasn't needed - I don't usually shoot exposure bracketed series unless I know before-hand that it is beyond my camera's capabilities or because the LCD tells me it didn't work. The default values looked very much like the middle exposure (this one had the smoothing turned down, I was actually trying for more of a HDR-effect type of shot).

Thanks for all of the feedback, it's been a good discussion so far.
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