Critique my first HDR

close2reality

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 21, 2012
307
1
So this was a single RAW image that I saved at 3 different exposures and did everything from scratch for HDR versus using straight up HDR filters.

Let me know if it is over bearing, again I watched a few tutorials and jumped in and gave it a try.


First image is before, second is after.
 

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VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
114
Vancouver, BC
The only real problem at first glance, is that tones in the sky aren't right... I don't mind the fact that they are very saturated... Lots of people over saturate the sky (me included) but it shouldn't look uneven like that. I guess the issue is the top right... if that was the same tone as the deep blue in the top left and it all got gradually more cyan towards the horizon, I think it would look fine. Strangely, your original looks similar in terms of being lighter in the top right... so maybe it' s just too dark blue in the upper left. Maybe tone that down a bit?

The ground looks very natural, just like you'd expect.

The funny thing is, you could probably achieve nearly the same effect (perhaps even more natural) without the 3 exposures simply by adjusting exposure in different parts of the image. In my experience, either NIK Viveza with some control points in the right places (darken the sky, lighten the clouds, snow and woods) or Capture One Pro with a few local adjustments (a gradient on the sky? with an overall exposure boost or shadow pull) could easily get you the same result from a single RAW.
 
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skaeight

macrumors regular
Jan 7, 2009
212
3
So this was a single RAW image that I saved at 3 different exposures and did everything from scratch for HDR versus using straight up HDR filters.

Let me know if it is over bearing, again I watched a few tutorials and jumped in and gave it a try.


First image is before, second is after.
Ya I haven't messed around with HDR yet, but my thoughts on that is just pulling the shadows up on the original exposure would yield a great photo. The sky looks right in the first image, in my opinion theres no need to take it as far as the HDR takes it.
 

VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
114
Vancouver, BC
So perhaps just lighten up the lower half of the photo and keep the original sky?
With the HDR, do you have any control over the sky? Maybe turning down the saturation on that will look good too?

Otherwise, without HDR, the sky does look pretty good as is, so yes, you could brighten the lower part of the image and if it was me, I would add a bit of contrast or saturate the sky a little bit but not as aggressively as the HDR.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,672
1,748
The first loses detail in your sky. Keep in mind blue is not the easiest color to print, and it clips on my display. Not everyone will really notice that right away, but it sticks out to me. Your shadows seem a little bright in take 2. I prefer the direction of take 2, and I think you'll continue to improve in fine tuning these things.
 

close2reality

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 21, 2012
307
1
This stuff makes me think about just putting my time into physical filters and adopt the philosophy of minor adjustments that take mere seconds in post process!!
 

close2reality

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 21, 2012
307
1
Last one, so I'm sticking with just using Camera RAW in PSP to edit my RAW files, not sure why I was on the HDR kick....

Heres one I did with Camera RAW, as you can see the original was underexposed and very flat.
 

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VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
114
Vancouver, BC
Nice. :)

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This stuff makes me think about just putting my time into physical filters and adopt the philosophy of minor adjustments that take mere seconds in post process!!
Amen... You don't need a lot of filters... a Circular Polarizer is key for sunny days and produces an effect that simply can't be reproduced in post. As for HDR... My Canon 5D Mark III has the ability to produce an in-camera HDR photos from three exposures. I thought this was great for awhile... and it generally works very well, except I can almost always get a better result with a single exposure in post.