HDR - first try

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Alan Browne, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Never being too interested in HDR, but my SO dragged me around a
    cemetery on her quest to map out some of her ancestors.

    Naturally, it was mid afternoon and the light was quite harsh, so I
    decided to record some images at 2/3 or 1 stop apart over 4 - 7 images
    and see how well I could HDR them. I did 6 sets.

    A first atempt on some buttercups was a disaster - I assume because it
    was mildly windy and things were blowing back and forth... 2 sets down.

    This attempt here looks ... okay. But there are a lot of halos in the
    OOF areas that I find unpleasant.

    I did manage to stay away from a spooky/weird look - I think.

    5 shots, 1 stop apart. Tripod, MLU.

    Comments?

    http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/54431787.jpg
     
    Alan Browne, Jun 19, 2011
    #1
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  2. Were the shadows really so deep that you needed HDR? I thought your Sony FF
    had minimal shadow noise?

    I thought I had an HDR problem the other day with a somewhat similar image*,
    but even the bright spot of sky could be brought back in with Lightroom's
    highlight recovery. In fact, I cranked the contrast and pulled down the
    blacks a bit. Comments on what you think should have been done differently
    will not be taken badly<g>. (Full size image at painfully high jpeg ratio at
    "original".)

    *: http://www.pbase.com/davidjl/image/135701088/large

    I dislike the halos around the front crosses in front of the bright
    background. But otherwise it works.
     
    David J. Littleboy, Jun 19, 2011
    #2
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  3. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Sure. In the properly exposed BG the near headstones/crosses were dead
    black. In the properly exposed headstones/crosses the BG was burned white.

    Here are the extremes (most and least exposed).

    http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=13477433&size=md
    http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=13477432&size=md

    As an HDR shot my objective was to get visible detail in the FG objects,
    not dead black silhouettes - regardless of noise.
    (Full size image at painfully high jpeg ratio at
    I would have considered some fill flash to reduce the contrast between
    the top of the stone and the face. That also would have allowed a lower
    exposure for the overall scene (background).

    (However, in a very similar shot yesterday I did not fill flash, but I
    cropped tighter).
    I may have over-sharpened where the FG crosses halos are concerned.

    But the 'rainbow' halos in the BG (crosses, horizontal lines) are what
    really bother me... and they occur irrespective of sharpening.
     
    Alan Browne, Jun 19, 2011
    #3
  4. Alan Browne

    Robert Coe Guest

    : I would have considered some fill flash to reduce the contrast between
    : the top of the stone and the face. That also would have allowed a lower
    : exposure for the overall scene (background).

    Stones like that tend to be highly reflective (as illustrated by the bright
    top). I'm not sure on-camera flash would have worked without producing a hot
    spot. Maybe a diffused flash from somewhere off to the right.

    It's a damned shame that you usually can't use bounce flash outdoors! ;^)

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Jun 19, 2011
    #4
  5. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    The top and the face are the same, non polished, texture as far as I can
    see. But the top is in direct sunlight. Not "reflecting" in a specular
    manner. The face is in open shade.
    That's why less exposure for the available light would have toned the
    sunlit top down while fill flash would have lightened up the face.

    A close look at the full size shot doesn't indicate that the face is
    very polished. I don't think it would have presented a hot spot.

    And of course one can always use a triggered flash off axis. As I
    always (almost) have two flashes in my bag, no problem.

    (And now I see why David took a photo of that monument).
     
    Alan Browne, Jun 19, 2011
    #5
  6. Alan Browne

    Savageduck Guest

    Here is an HDR comparison, the "0" shot compared with the HDR result. I
    used NIK HDR Efex Pro for processing a 5 exposure set, -2, -1, 0, +1,
    +2.
    The NIK SW includes some adjustment for halo reduction.
    < http://homepage.mac.com/lco/filechute/DNC-1112HDR-Comp.jpg >

    ....and keeping to the graveyard theme this shot. In this one I did not
    even try to fix some haloing that can be seen at parts of the leaf/sky
    interface.
    < http://homepage.mac.com/lco/filechute/DNC-3693HDR-Comp.jpg >
     
    Savageduck, Jun 19, 2011
    #6
  7. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Too much open shade blue in there. Screws up the rust colour. But the
    results seem in line with mine.
    I like the color palette, but the intense blue (open shade again) on the
    base seems a bit much.
     
    Alan Browne, Jun 19, 2011
    #7
  8. Right. But how different does the middle exposure one look when fill lighted
    for shadows and highlight recovered for the highlights?
    Good idea, thanks. Trying that in Lightroom (-.5 stop exposure compensation,
    same aggressive highlight recovery, bumping the "Blacks" to 5, and lots of
    "Fill light") gives this.

    http://www.pbase.com/davidjl/image/135708427/large

    I was worried that the loss of contrast would reduce the "pop", but that
    seems to be a good thing here. Note that this opens up the shadows in the
    background at the right.
     
    David J. Littleboy, Jun 19, 2011
    #8
  9. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    In that set I used 4 exposures. In effect either of the 2 "middle"
    shots with the least exposed shot could be sufficient without the most
    exposed one being used at all. In this case anyway. No "fill" lighting
    needed to lift it out.
    Better. The "harsh" top is easier on the eyes and the lightened shadows
    improve it as well.

    But original capture with fill would have been preferable, of course (or
    wait until the best time of day...).

    Assuming you left your camera on Japan time, then I think you took that
    around 15:00 local. The next morning might have been better light
    (unless it's in the shadow of a building or something.
     
    Alan Browne, Jun 19, 2011
    #9
  10. Alan Browne

    Robert Coe Guest

    :
    : > On 2011-06-19 13:07 , David J. Littleboy wrote:
    : >>> Never being too interested in HDR, but my SO dragged me around a
    : >>> cemetery
    : >>> on her quest to map out some of her ancestors.
    : >>
    : >>> This attempt here looks ... okay. But there are a lot of halos in the
    : >>> OOF
    : >>> areas that I find unpleasant.
    : >>>
    : >>> Comments?
    : >>>
    : >>> http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/54431787.jpg
    : >>
    : >> Were the shadows really so deep that you needed HDR? I thought your Sony
    : >> FF
    : >> had minimal shadow noise?
    : >
    : > Sure. In the properly exposed BG the near headstones/crosses were dead
    : > black. In the properly exposed headstones/crosses the BG was burned
    : > white.
    : >
    : > Here are the extremes (most and least exposed).
    : >
    : > http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=13477433&size=md
    : > http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=13477432&size=md
    : >
    : > As an HDR shot my objective was to get visible detail in the FG objects,
    : > not dead black silhouettes - regardless of noise.
    :
    : Right. But how different does the middle exposure one look when fill lighted
    : for shadows and highlight recovered for the highlights?
    :
    : >> I thought I had an HDR problem the other day with a somewhat similar
    : >> image*,
    : >> but even the bright spot of sky could be brought back in with Lightroom's
    : >> highlight recovery. In fact, I cranked the contrast and pulled down the
    : >> blacks a bit. Comments on what you think should have been done
    : >> differently
    : >> will not be taken badly<g>.
    : > (Full size image at painfully high jpeg ratio at
    : >> "original".)
    : >>
    : >> *: http://www.pbase.com/davidjl/image/135701088/large
    : >
    : > I would have considered some fill flash to reduce the contrast between the
    : > top of the stone and the face. That also would have allowed a lower
    : > exposure for the overall scene (background).
    :
    : Good idea, thanks. Trying that in Lightroom (-.5 stop exposure compensation,
    : same aggressive highlight recovery, bumping the "Blacks" to 5, and lots of
    : "Fill light") gives this.
    :
    : http://www.pbase.com/davidjl/image/135708427/large
    :
    : I was worried that the loss of contrast would reduce the "pop", but that
    : seems to be a good thing here. Note that this opens up the shadows in the
    : background at the right.

    Where is that monument, David? In Mount Auburn Cemetery?

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Jun 19, 2011
    #10
  11. Alan Browne

    Robert Coe Guest

    On 2011-06-19 16:39 , David J. Littleboy wrote:
    : > http://www.pbase.com/davidjl/image/135708427/large
    : >
    : > I was worried that the loss of contrast would reduce the "pop", but that
    : > seems to be a good thing here. Note that this opens up the shadows in the
    : > background at the right.
    :
    : Better. The "harsh" top is easier on the eyes and the lightened shadows
    : improve it as well.
    :
    : But original capture with fill would have been preferable, of course (or
    : wait until the best time of day...).
    :
    : Assuming you left your camera on Japan time, then I think you took that
    : around 15:00 local. The next morning might have been better light
    : (unless it's in the shadow of a building or something.

    David's posts indicate that he's 9 hours ahead of Greenwich, so the picture
    was taken around 5:45 PM in Greenwich, or 1:45 PM here. The sun doesn't go on
    daylight time, so call it 12:45. We're near the eastern edge of the time zone,
    so our time lags the sun a bit, but even so, it's clear that the monument
    faces somewhat west of north. So so having its face catch the morning sun on
    Memorial Day, even at sunrise, seems a bit problematical (although a little
    less problematical now, three weeks later). Late afternoon looks like a better
    bet.

    I'm assuming, as I guess you were, that the reference to Harvard probably
    places the monument in the Boston area.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Jun 20, 2011
    #11
  12. It's at Pine Hill Cemetery (according to Harvard) or Pine Branch Cemetery
    (according to Google Maps) in Tewksbury, MA. All the MA medical schools that
    have an anatomical gift program share that cemetery, although each school
    does its own monuments.
     
    David J. Littleboy, Jun 20, 2011
    #12
  13. It's facing pretty much due north. Here it is.

    http://tinyurl.com/3s6lwx4

    Of the three things throwing harsh shadows to the northwest in the middle,
    it's the northeast one.
     
    David J. Littleboy, Jun 20, 2011
    #13
  14. Looks very good. There is not much left for HDR to do with those
    adjustments available in LR.

    Swinging wildly off-topic .. What is the story on that beautiful old
    PDP-7? on the same thumbnail page. That is by far the best picture I
    have ever seen of one of those. I only ever saw one in the flesh and it
    was busted, never to be fixed again.
     
    Elliott Roper, Jun 20, 2011
    #14
  15. Alan Browne

    Andy Guest

    I know you were looking at exposures for HDR here, but I just can't help
    thinking that if you had the time to do all this, and were using a
    tripod, then it would have been good to spend a little time and effort
    on the depth of field, and focus issues.
    The old 1/3 in front and 2/3 behind is very easily worked out and
    distances can be paced, to give you the correct focus distance, even if
    your modern lens doesn't have feet or metres marked on it, then auto
    focus on a volunteer placed in the right spot, then lock it up, or even
    just focus on the grave nearest the correct position and then stop it
    down, and down again, let the shutter speed drop right down.. you said
    you were using a tripod..!
    OR instead of HDR'ing (is that a verb.?) the exposures, a little
    overlaying of images with selective focus is equally easy. Just bracket
    your focus over three shots, one at 10 feet, one at 25 feet and one near
    infinity, and composite the images... If you MUST HDR the exposure too,
    then take your 7 shots at each focus point, do the HDR, then composite
    the images for focus...
    With a really slow shutter speed, you can simulate a graduated ND filter
    simply by shielding the sky with a hand or piece of card in front of the
    lens for part of the exposure.
    Also, how did you vary the exposures..?? if you change the aperture,
    then you will get haloing and wierd effects, because of the change of
    depth of field between the exposures. You must only use shutter speed
    (or ISO) to vary the exposures for good HDR.
    Andy
     
    Andy, Jun 20, 2011
    #15
  16. My father was an electrical engineer at Baird Atomic making spy satellites
    for the Army in the 50s. Top Secret. We shoot you if you tell your family
    sort of thing. And the Army kept blowing up his satellites on the launch
    pad. So he switched to biomedical engineering. His first gig was as a site
    engineer for a DEC LINC and his second was as the site engineer for that
    PDP-7, which were at the Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary and Mass General,
    respectively. The PDP-7 was used for testing patients with neurological
    problems by a group of neurosurgeons. (The shot was taken by a nerd with a
    'blad and a big flash*)

    *: http://www.pbase.com/davidjl/image/119152038/large
     
    David J. Littleboy, Jun 20, 2011
    #16
  17. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of EDST. eg. when it's 02:00 there, it's 13:00,
    the day before, here (eastern seaboard).
     
    Alan Browne, Jun 20, 2011
    #17
  18. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    This time of year at Boston latitude, you should have (warm) light on it
    up to about 0700.
     
    Alan Browne, Jun 20, 2011
    #18
  19. David J Taylor, Jun 20, 2011
    #19
  20. [] Excellent for a first attempt, Alan, and has few of the defects resulting
    from how most HDR shots seem to be processed. Like others, I do wonder
    whether fill-in flash might have done as well.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jun 20, 2011
    #20
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