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Old Apr 22, 2009, 12:41 AM   #1
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I've been playing around with HDR a bit recently. It seems to me that (at least using Photomatix) you can do either fantasy or realistic, and that both have their uses and charms. I'm still a beginner when it comes to settings, and would be interested in what others think of this fantasy attempt. There are things I like about it and things I don't - and I'm not sure how to improve this one. Suggestions on settings to use, or suggestions with other programs on how to improve it would be greatly appreciated. My aim here was not to be realistic (i.e., like a photograph).

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Old Apr 22, 2009, 2:19 AM   #2
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Observing the evening sky, the foliage, the streetlights, the architectural details far and near...my humble opinion is that; you've attained agreat looking result even in your first attempt!Such a sight could not be captured in a single shot. Looks quite realistic as well though it wasn't your main goal...

Cheers!

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Old Apr 22, 2009, 7:22 AM   #3
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I quite agree with Bahadir. Nice shot all round. But your settings do seem a bit off. For instance, the street light in the foreground shouldnt be as bright as that. You should almost be able to see the light casing with a sharper edge. That said, its a very realistic shot and one you couldnt get with just a single exposure. You sky looks so real. Nice one for your first try.
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Old Apr 22, 2009, 8:43 AM   #4
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mtngal

Your experimenting with HDR has been successful, imo. I respectfully disagree with Bynx, in re the glow around the lights, I feel it adds to, as you have stated, "fantasy" shot.

I must look into this Photomatix

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Old Apr 22, 2009, 11:00 AM   #5
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SternSteve you misread or misunderstood what my statement was about the street lights. HDR, if processed properly, would not produce that overexposed glow around the light. I never said whether it looked good or bad with it there I just noted the settings were off for more ideal HDR image. There is no single look though to an HDR image. Its all up to the control of the photographer. To most people your photo here looks more like a very well exposed image instead of an HDR.
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Old Apr 22, 2009, 3:37 PM   #6
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I know what you mean, Bynx. I'll have to take a look at the original dark-frame picture to see if that light was blown out in it, too (in which case, the HDR program settings wouldn't matter as there would be no additional information in that area). It could have been - I've been using matrix mode for metering when doing HDR brackets, and that might not be the way to go. I was thinking that I wanted the middle shot of 5 to be an average over the whole scene, then go a stop each shot either way - two under and two over. I'm beginning to think that with night shots, that might not be the best way of going about it. I'll have to play but I'm thinking that maybe I should have metered off of the brightest spot, then set the exposure two stops below on M and auto bracket from there? Of course, I'm not sure I can do auto bracket using manual mode for exposure - will have to experiment with that, along with printing a chart of settings for stops - I can't never remember the numbers at all!).

I also wondered if I over-did the stars for the lights a bit. I was using such slow shutter speeds that the traffic lights looked really funny - the green ones had a red center and the red ones had black centers (the lights were at different spots on their cycles when the frames were taken and the program didn't quite know how to handle that). So I did a little adjusting (and accidentally found a tool I didn't know about that proved very useful for this).

Going back to that front light - is there a control where I cantone down the lights, without sacrificing the mid-tones? I wouldn't want this one to be any darker over-all but would have liked the street lights to be a little less bright, I think. I'll have to try using recovery in Lightroom with the dark two exposures if the lights are too bright, and see if that would help.
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Old Apr 22, 2009, 5:49 PM   #7
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Keep in mind each shot you make is to cover a certain range of exposure value. If you have a really bright lightsource in your picture then take a very underexposed shot for that light. Whether you use it or not can be decided later. But while youre there you may as well take it. Then you would have the info for the light. I didnt mean to make any kind of deal out of the light. Its perfectly ok as is. But it is nice to be able to create the image the way you want and not necessarily the way it has to be. Again, nice shot mtngal. Looking forward to see some more.

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Old Apr 22, 2009, 8:11 PM   #8
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Bynx wrote:
Quote:
SternSteve you misread or misunderstood what my statement was about the street lights. HDR, if processed properly, would not produce that overexposed glow around the light. I never said whether it looked good or bad with it there I just noted the settings were off for more ideal HDR image. There is no single look though to an HDR image. Its all up to the control of the photographer. To most people your photo here looks more like a very well exposed image instead of an HDR.
I guess did Bynx. I suppose I should not comment on HDR, as yet, as I have not had any expierence with it, yet.
just stating that I lliked the "glow" around the lights, as it adds to the surreal feeling.


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Old Apr 22, 2009, 11:02 PM   #9
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If you haven't tried HDR, you should (if you are at all interested in it). HDR is turning out to be fun, another thing to use in certain situations. Not all pictures will work, and I found that Photomatix does funny things to some colors sometimes. It's not all that big of a deal because there's so much detail that the pictures will convert to black and white easily. And the program (at least photomatix) will align your shots - I had some pretty good success with shots taken both hand-held and with a monopod even though I'm horrible at holding everything still for 5 frames.

I've seen any number of HDR shots that I love (Bahadir comes to mind!) but I've also seen some that I haven't liked at all, so I was reluctant to spend any money on a dedicated program. I tried the CS4 version and didn't like it at all. I finally downloaded the trial version of Photomatix and played with it enough to decide that I really liked the program, that it was easy enough for me to manage (my camera can do 3 and 5 frame auto brackets with one shutter push) and that I would use it enough to buy it.

For another, totally different type of HDR picture:



I wanted to have it look so realistic one wouldn't realize it was HDR - the scene is actually well beyond the dynamic range of a sensor, lots of shadow with bright noon sun shining directly in places. The first one I posted I thought looked like an HDR shot, I don't think this one does at all.

As Bynx said, it's all in the eyes of the photographer and their intent - there's lots of different effects and ways of using it.
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Old Apr 23, 2009, 9:41 AM   #10
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From the results I have seen here mtngal, I am more then interested!!! I am no pro, but seasoned enough to know there situations out there that are HDR, and there is really nothing a one can do about it, but AEB and make basically a composite.

I really like your second shot. Goodin
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