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Old Feb 27, 2012, 12:55 PM   #1
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Default Second HDR attempt - Cedar Swamp Lighthouse

I tried my hand at HDR last month and it was pretty rough. Here's my second try. I still think I'm making them look "overcooked" as I think the term goes. I am also still getting a fair amount of chromatic aberration but don't know if that's a result of the lighting and lens or the alignment of the 3 exposures. Anyways, here they are...

I tried to keep this looking more realistic.

Cedar Swamp Lighthouse HDR by Quadna71, on Flickr


Yeah, this one got a little out of hand. The sun was positioned just behind the upper right corner of the lighthouse too...and it was moving fast!

Lighthouse HDR by Quadna71, on Flickr

Last edited by Quadna71; Feb 27, 2012 at 1:16 PM. Reason: Added second photo
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Old Feb 27, 2012, 2:43 PM   #2
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I'm going to have to look at these at home to really judge - the monitor at work isn't very good. However, they both look pretty natural on it and I like them. There's definite CA problems - if you haven't tried it yet, download the Lightroom 4 beta program (it's free while it's in beta and good until the end of March) and try it's CA and purple fringing correction feature. It seems to work pretty well.

I always do the CA and fringing correction first (on all frames in the set if needed), before doing the HDR merging. I find that HDR software tends to accentuate the errors and its much harder for software to correct (if at all). This is especially true with purple fringing where it is bigger/more pronounced in the lighter frames.

Skies are often a problem with HDR software - your second one looks like program struggled a bit on the left side. There's several different ways I've tried to correct that, one way that can work (but doesn't always) is to add a layer that has the sky you want and use a mask to block out the part of the sky where the color is wrong. That can also be very frustrating, too, since you are talking about trying to match colors in other parts of the sky and then there's the trees.

Another option would be to choose the clone tool, set it to "color" instead of "normal", choose the color you want and clone over the part you don't like. That will keep the light/dark values, just change the color. It might work here, since your trees already pick up blue and they are so much darker than the light blue in the sky.
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Old Feb 27, 2012, 3:49 PM   #3
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Thanks mtngal As a matter of fact, I do have LR3 now...but it's still wrapped in plastic! One of the big NYC retailers (not sure if we are allowed to name names on here) had a deep discount on it two weeks ago so I took advantage of it. I'm hoping for a new computer in the next 2-3 months and was saving to install it then, but as long as I can use the key more than once I just may install it on my current laptop.

Good point about trying to clean up the CA prior to merging. I've always tried to clean it up afterwards and my biggest problem is when I was creating a layer to pull the reds or blues out it also washed them from the rest of the photo. So I was left with the decision of washing out my final photo or leaving the CA in. I learn stuff every day from here - this place rocks!

As far as cloning and stuff....baby steps...maybe in another month or two. Heck I just figured out how layers work last week after my wife finally sat me down and talked me through it. She's in marketing at a law firm and uses PS quite often.

Thanks again for the advice!

p.s. I have a real ballhead enroute as well so maybe that'll tighten up some of my IQ. RRS to the rescue!!!
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Old Feb 27, 2012, 8:35 PM   #4
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It seems to me that you can move LR from one computer to another one. I know I've done it, just don't remember if you have to uninstall it from the old computer before you install it on the new computer (as I recall, you have to do that with Photoshop CS4).

If I'm using a problematic lens (I have several that are) I'll process the pictures first with LR - if I'm using a lens that has a profile I'll apply the profile and then check the CA and purple fringing. I shoot raw and use Photomatix or HDR Efex for the HDR part. LR allows you to export the files to either of the programs, using the adjustments you made in LR. When you finish the HDR conversion, it will automatically re-import the tiff file back into LR. I'll often add a bit more contrast using LR's curve feature or other adjustments if the picture needs it - I use the output from the HDR program as a starting point, just like the raw file. I know that others don't do it that way, but since I prefer natural and use HDR mostly to extend the dynamic range, it works well for me. If I'm going for more of the fantasy look I'll do more in the HDR program and less in LR the second time around.

I envy you your RRS ballhead. I have their L-Bracket and QR plate, but ended up getting a less expensive Gitzo head. It works all right, but I'm not crazy about it. One of these days I'm also going to get their macro rails - all of their stuff is beautifully made and they are great to work with. I don't have anything to do with the company though I have visited their showroom and like their products.
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