My First HDR Attempt: 56k beware, large photos

shieldyoureyes

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 1, 2005
277
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Uppsala, Sweden
This is my first attempt at HDR taken with my D50. I was really happy with the results. I would love to hear your critiques and thoughts.







Peace,

Matthew
 

spicyapple

macrumors 68000
Jul 20, 2006
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Nice! :)

Did you take multiple exposures or from one RAW image? The first photo with the rippling water might pose a problem with bracketed exposures but it looks really nice! Do you use Photoshop HDR or Photomatix?
 

seenew

macrumors 68000
Dec 1, 2005
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Brooklyn
Cool.
I think it would help us if you showed one of the middle-exposure shots, to give us an idea what it would look like non-HDR.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,415
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Location Location Location
Yes, I'd like to see them as well.

The 1st and 3rd photo were obviously HDR to me, but that 2nd photo doesn't look like an HDR. I don't know if HDR photos are supposed to clearly look like HDR photos, or whether you're supposed to go for a more natural look and trick the viewer into thinking that you really took the photo that way. :confused:
 

shieldyoureyes

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 1, 2005
277
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Uppsala, Sweden
I'm not really sure either, but I like the finished product. I think they look like a mix between a painting and a photo, but they definately look more "fake" than other HDR's i have seen. I will post the originals in the morning when i get up
 

Gee

macrumors 65816
Feb 27, 2004
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London, UK

ksz

macrumors 68000
Oct 28, 2003
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San Jose, CA
Nice work!

Now we can see just how limited our camera's sensors are today. Their dynamic range is less than that of film, which in turn is less than that of the human eye.

There is plenty of R&D money invested in increasing the dynamic range of digital sensors...patiently waiting for a breakthrough to make its way to market.
 

shieldyoureyes

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 1, 2005
277
0
Uppsala, Sweden
So, here are the originals that are correctly exposed compared to the HDR photos. At this resolution, its hard to tell some of the detail, but if you go to my flickr, you can see them all at the full 6.1 Megapixels.





 

maximile

macrumors member
Oct 27, 2003
32
0
Herefordshire, UK
Great photos! There a weird but cool effect with the reflections on the water.

ksz said:
Now we can see just how limited our camera's sensors are today. Their dynamic range is less than that of film, which in turn is less than that of the human eye.
I don't really understand that. If that's the case, then how come HDR photos can be generated from a single RAW capture (according to Photomatix's page, anyway)? That suggests to me that the camera's sensors can capture plenty of dynamic range. Am I misunderstanding something?
 

spicyapple

macrumors 68000
Jul 20, 2006
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If you guys have CS2, you can play around with an .HDR file that I created in Photoshop.

Open the image in Photoshop, and go to Image > Adjustments > Exposure. Move the Exposure slider around and watch as the image darkens and lightens in the same fashion if you were to change the aperture on a camera.

HDR File (640x426)
 

gauchogolfer

macrumors 603
Jan 28, 2005
5,555
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American Riviera
maximile said:
I don't really understand that. If that's the case, then how come HDR photos can be generated from a single RAW capture (according to Photomatix's page, anyway)? That suggests to me that the camera's sensors can capture plenty of dynamic range. Am I misunderstanding something?
The single-image approach is in a way artificial, since it essentially adds gain to the very dark areas, but there is a great loss of detail when going this route. The better way is to take multiple pictures as the OP has done, then merge them together.
 

RedTomato

macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2005
4,024
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.. London ..
I'd never heard of HDR imaging before. This is very interesting work - these images really do seem to 'pop' out at you. I can see myself using this in some of my artwork. Thanks for the tip!

Just had a thought - I want to use this technique on moving objects (a deaf person signing in sign language) - I imagine I would need to have 3 or more cameras close together and reasonably far away (say 2m) so that parallax isn't a problem.

What sort of cameras / setup would I need to have all three cameras go off at the same time?
 

Bocheememon

macrumors regular
Mar 1, 2006
127
0
Fertile, MN
Sweet

Those are some sweet photos! The reflections are wicked cool.

I read the HDR article!

KSZ: I do agree that Film has a better dynamic range than the current consumer digital cameras. I work in both mediums and find that the images I develop in Film have a greater visual range than anything I have ever put out on all my digital cameras.

I suppose we all have done HDR in some form if we never heard of HDR.

I shoot in RAW then export two or 3 different exposure levels of the file and airbrush out the parts I don't need. In the Film Darkroom...that is a long process that I just give up and do the usual Dodge and Burn.

This HDR would make the process easier. I'm going to give this a try.

Kudos shieldyoureyes!
 

beavo451

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2006
483
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I think the first and third photos look better as the original exposure. The HDR makes it too flat.
 

shieldyoureyes

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 1, 2005
277
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Uppsala, Sweden
beavo451 said:
I think the first and third photos look better as the original exposure. The HDR makes it too flat.
I'm working on getting rid of the flatness in them, these were just a really quick job and I didn't tweak too many settings or even put them through Photoshop.
 

ksz

macrumors 68000
Oct 28, 2003
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San Jose, CA
maximile said:
I don't really understand that. If that's the case, then how come HDR photos can be generated from a single RAW capture (according to Photomatix's page, anyway)? That suggests to me that the camera's sensors can capture plenty of dynamic range. Am I misunderstanding something?
Ok, I'll try to explain this as simply as I can.

Dynamic range is the difference between the brightest light that a sensor can record without clipping and the dimmest light it can record without clipping.

Imaging sensors are based on the photoelectric effect. To see dim light, there must be a minimum number of photons striking the sensor before enough electric current is induced. Because all electric circuits have some noise (i.e. tiny fluctuations in current), if the designer is not careful, these stray currents could be interpreted as a low-light signal. In order for the sensor to be sensitive to low light while avoiding stray or noisy currents, the sensor must have an extremely low "noise floor." In industrial applications, this is often done by cooling the sensor. This is not practical in consumer applications, so the designer implements a clipping algorithm that says, "if the current induced in a particular pixel is less than x milliamps, consider that pixel off." Because x is a hard number, we say that the sensor "clips" any current below x.

The same applies to the brightest light. As the quantity of photons impinging on a pixel increases, a strong photoelectric current is induced. However, if you keep increasing the intensity of photons, the pixel will become "saturated". Every sensor has its own saturation current. Let's assume that current is y milliamps. Any pixel that produces more than y milliamps will be recorded as a dot of a fixed intensity. In other words, any intensity of light that produces more than y milliamps will be "clipped" or truncated to this fixed upper value.

Thus, the sensor cannot see light below x milliamps nor any intensity beyond y milliamps. The difference between x and y is the dynamic range of the sensor.

Film has a lower x and a higher y than digital sensors.

The human eye has an even lower x and an even higher y than film.

HDR does not expand the dynamic range. Instead, it produces an image where no part of the image is either underexposed or overexposed. In effect, HDR balances the exposure. But it also gives us a result that is more in accordance with what the eye sees. The eye does not overexpose or underexpose parts of the same scene to the same degree as digital sensors. HDR brings photography one step closer to the capabilities of the human eye, but it cannot recover clipped shadows or blown highlights.

What I am looking for is a new generation of sensors that can see more at night and more in the noontime sun. It will be able to produce fantastic shadow detail as well as fantastic highlight detail. And we'll be another step closer to matching our own eyes.
 

ksz

macrumors 68000
Oct 28, 2003
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San Jose, CA
Bocheememon said:
KSZ: I do agree that Film has a better dynamic range than the current consumer digital cameras. I work in both mediums and find that the images I develop in Film have a greater visual range than anything I have ever put out on all my digital cameras.

I suppose we all have done HDR in some form if we never heard of HDR.

I shoot in RAW then export two or 3 different exposure levels of the file and airbrush out the parts I don't need. In the Film Darkroom...that is a long process that I just give up and do the usual Dodge and Burn.

This HDR would make the process easier. I'm going to give this a try.
Me too! I have got to try this. I was floored by the image below on www.hdrsoft.com. That's a backlit scene!



And this is what happened to me when I went to Paris in 2003, yuck:

 

Bocheememon

macrumors regular
Mar 1, 2006
127
0
Fertile, MN
ksz said:
Me too! I have got to try this. I was floored by the image below on www.hdrsoft.com. That's a backlit scene!

And this is what happened to me when I went to Paris in 2003, yuck:

That is a nice photo of the Eifel Tower and I see what you mean with the darkness of the ground vs. the sky.

Yeah, when it comes to a digital photo you have to find the middle ground between sacrificing shadows or highlights. The same applies for film. At least we don't have to spend hours in a darkroom, and instead spend hours in photoshop. Ha :)

PeterParker: That DRI is interesting. I am going to read a bit of that and see what differences are found between DRI and HDR
 

njmac

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
1,756
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shieldyoureyes, that is a good first attempt! :)

It does seem to lack some the punch that I've been seeing on HDR (I only found out about it yesterday!) but it is a really cool shot... and better than any of my attempts :)