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Old Jan 28, 2011, 9:46 PM   #1
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Default HDR in Golden Canyon

I've been playing around some more with Nik's HDR Efex. The original release did not play well with my computer and Lightroom, so while I liked the results, I didn't go beyond the trial period. Last week we visited Death Valley and wandered around Golden Canyon one afternoon. The dynamic range was occasionally beyond my sensor's capability (though my current camera is better about not introducing noise when you lighten the shadows) so it was a good opportunity to exposure bracket and experiment with HDR Efex again.

It's definitely more stable than it had been, and while it's still pretty slow, I only occasionally get weird messages.

Sometimes I preferred what I got from Efex and sometimes I preferred what I got from Photomatix (I've got the current version and I'm not getting along with it half as well as I did the version I first downloaded a while back).

This picture is the one I really want feedback on. I'm really on the fence about it - when I processed it originally on my laptop, I really liked it. It looked great in Photoshop when I resized it, but then looked way over-saturated when I brought the completed file into Lightroom and looked at it on my big monitor at home. This morning before work I looked at it on-line using Explorer (and my not-the-greatest work monitor) and it looked all right, but now that I'm home using Safari, I think it's over-saturated again. I'd really like to know what everyone else thinks of it.



This picture is from Photomatix. I like this one while HDR Efex did something weird to the red-orange cliffs.



So even if I do decide to keep Exef, I'm not going to dump Photomatix.

A couple of other pictures that I liked.



This last one didn't need HDR. I got something very close to this by taking the first underexposed shot and adjusting the levels to bring out the detail in the shadows, while still keeping a bit of blue in the sky. However, I liked the rich colors and contrast/detail that HDR Efex came up with.



Let me know what you think, especially the first one. I'm thinking that I probably should take out a bit of the saturation.
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Old Jan 29, 2011, 4:02 AM   #2
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Id say you took it from the right spot. Had you stepped into the light everything would have changed. All looks right on to me. Great shot. Beautiful country.
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Old Jan 29, 2011, 5:41 AM   #3
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All very nice. #1 looks a little over sat for me, but if i don't compare it with the other shots, it looks great on it's own.
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Old Jan 29, 2011, 10:13 AM   #4
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Thanks for the comments - Ordo, that's probably why I liked it at first (when processing it it was by itself) but when looking at it in series with the others I thought it was too much. I think I'll try lowering the saturation some and see if I lose the color/feeling that this one has - if it does I'll just leave it the way it is with better confidence.

Bynx, it is indeed beautiful country, a place that needs to be experienced out of the car or at least off the paved road. I want to return, there's too much to do and see for a barely 2 day trip (arrived mid-afternoon, spent two nights and left fairly early in the morning).
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Old Jan 29, 2011, 10:48 AM   #5
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I think the first one isn't necessarily oversaturated but does have a bit of a yellow/orange cast to it. I much prefer the other three though.
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Old Jan 29, 2011, 11:24 AM   #6
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When you are in a room with all the walls painted yellow its kind of hard not to notice a yellow cast.
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Old Jan 29, 2011, 11:38 AM   #7
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I like 'em!
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Old Jan 29, 2011, 11:29 PM   #8
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I think the HDR program did give it more of an orange cast than was really there. As I recall, it was more yellow than this both because the rocks were quite yellow but also because it was late enough with the sun low enough that it was very yellow light, and the walls of the canyon that were not being lit directly showed some reflected light also. When I tried to take out a bit of the saturation or adjust the white balance, I ended up with walls that looked greenish, even worse than what I have here. I'm horrible at mixing colors so try not to mess with white balance/tint much.

Thanks, Walter. Have you taken the time to explore around there?
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