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Old Aug 5, 2011, 1:42 PM   #1
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I've completely lost my perspective on my own pictures when it comes to HDR. So often I don't like what I'm getting from either HDR Efex or Photomatix and I can't quite figure out settings to get what I want. I used to be able to get very natural looking pictures.

Here's the best one I've managed in a long time. In some ways I wonder if it's a little over-done, but I don't notice the triggers that usually bother me. I'm very interested in what others think of it.



5 frames, I think it was 1 stop difference between frames. Taken in the early morning, the sun was only barely up.
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Old Aug 5, 2011, 2:17 PM   #2
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I like it! It doesn't look over-done to me, at all... It just looks like a clean, clear picture.
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Old Aug 5, 2011, 2:29 PM   #3
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All is pretty good here except just a tad more blue. It would help both the sky and the grass, which is a little too yellowish.
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Old Aug 5, 2011, 2:41 PM   #4
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Bynx - I forgot to mention that this picture was taken shortly after dawn, during the "golden hour" and the grass really was fairly yellow. I like your sky better than mine, I think I'll go back and add a layer with the blue like you came up with, try to blend the building with both pictures - while mine isn't quite accurate, it's closer than your version and I think blending the two might work. Then decide what to do about the grass - leave it yellowish or use yours, which looks more natural but not accurate for the actual lighting conditions. I do really like your sky, gives me some ideas. Thanks!
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Old Aug 5, 2011, 3:08 PM   #5
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I like the original. It's such a good HDR you don't even notice it's a HDR.
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Old Aug 8, 2011, 9:04 AM   #6
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Thanks for the comment - most of the time that's what I strive for (not being able to tell that it's HDR). There's a place for the more extreme processing and for certain scenes it's the way to go but would be out of place here. I haven't yet gotten to work on this picture, hopefully tonight.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 3:35 AM   #7
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I wonder if a sunset golden hour would serve you better. In the photo above, the main face of the building is in the shadows, and the HDR never really eliminates this. Here in the midwest, an overcast day could do the same, though you may not get many of those in cali.
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Old Aug 18, 2011, 7:11 PM   #8
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I could tell it was an HDR, but it was a very good one; not unnatural at all. One can become slowly accustomed to adding more and more to such photos to get overcooked images. But this one isn't one of those.
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Old Aug 19, 2011, 2:19 PM   #9
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I should have thought about the shadow issue this morning, the marine layer was in and it was overcast. But the days are getting shorter so there would have been more of a night picture than this one was.

I've been playing with both photomatix and HDR Efex recently. They both have their advantages and disadvantages - the picture above was done with HDR Efex, but I went to a car show last weekend and have used Photomatix more since it deals with ghosting better. Otherwise I tend to use the Nik program more. I like how Nik handles whites better (you don't get that grey look that Photomatix gives sometimes) but Nik's software can look over-cooked quickly, if you aren't careful, it's easy to get harsh transitions/edges with HDR Efex.

A sunset picture isn't likely from me, except in the middle of winter or during fire season, when I can't get home.
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