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Author Topic: Do you hate HDR too?  (Read 330349 times)

WestMoon

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #180 on: January 16, 2011, 07:03:41 pm »

No I do not hate it!! I have a weakness for it!! With the emphasis on "weakness"!!

Neil
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #181 on: January 17, 2011, 12:38:35 am »

Hi,

Just added another one...

http://echophoto.smugmug.com/Special-methods/HDR/HDR/20101214-DSC09752/1159122093_kZuRc-X2.jpg

In my view the technique is useful sometimes.

Best regards
Erik

OK slightly pejorative title, but I've recently been looking around at a few other forums, especially ones for people new or newish to photography (was going to name them but am chickening out). I have to say most of the HDR shots posted on this site, whilst not always my thing, are for the most part technically competent and at the more subtle end of the genre - but really there are some seriously ugly images being produced out there!

Photomatrix and the saturation slider are certainly a killer combination in the wrong hands!

Neil.
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Policar

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #182 on: January 17, 2011, 06:37:32 pm »

Mostly hate it.  

Some of the black and white stuff here is nice, though.  

I also like some zone system black and white photography, which is just hdr by another name, and someone pointed me in the direction of Gregory Crewdson, who does a lot of good hdr.  

And I recognize that the technique is a lot simpler than switching lights on and off and taking multiple exposures with a press shutter, as architectural photographers would have to do, so it's certainly useful.  I just don't think 20 stops compress elegantly into the four-stop range you get with a printed image.
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Lonnie Utah

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WestMoon

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #184 on: January 25, 2011, 12:20:59 am »

Mostly hate it.  

Some of the black and white stuff here is nice, though.  

I also like some zone system black and white photography, which is just hdr by another name, and someone pointed me in the direction of Gregory Crewdson, who does a lot of good hdr.  

And I recognize that the technique is a lot simpler than switching lights on and off and taking multiple exposures with a press shutter, as architectural photographers would have to do, so it's certainly useful.  I just don't think 20 stops compress elegantly into the four-stop range you get with a printed image.

The zone system is a technique for ensuring exposure of the target subject is optimal while including as wide a tonal range as possible. Quite different from cooking up a pot of as many tones as you can with heaps of spice!

Still, I love excess and hyperbole, and just wallowing in sentimentality! Music has been that way since the baroque. HDR is photography's baroque (yes you can quote me!).

Neil
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G.L.

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #185 on: January 30, 2011, 04:07:08 pm »

 I just don't think 20 stops compress elegantly into the four-stop range you get with a printed image.

For evident reasons black and white films and printing papers we designed to suit the four-stop range needed for a good reproduction of the human face. Period.

Color films were designed to match B&W then digital cameras to match color films and inkjets printers to match color printing papers. This makes sense.

Photographic images where one want to show clouds in a bright sky and details in a dark narrow street are at best difficult to record, post-process and print though said clouds and dark details are easily perceived with our own eyes.

The range of a painter's palette is limited, too, but painters often manage to compress 20 stops in a pleasing and convincing manner. Exagerated HDR notwithstanding, photographers should learn from them!
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AlastairMoore

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #186 on: January 30, 2011, 08:23:09 pm »

I wouldn't say I hate it. I've dabbled in HDR briefly but found it just didn't interest me. I don't even find the overly saturated colours offensive or annoying and I don't even mind that the images don't look "real". I just really dislike the metallic sheen that you get on HDR images. Taking an example by Mr. Stuck In Customs - http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2011/01/25/shakespeares-globe-theater/ - there is that very distinct metallic or grey or silver undertone throughout the image and it's not just his, it's pretty much most HDR images I've seen.

Anyway, each to their own. Not for me, I wouldn't chastise anyone for using this technique.

Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #187 on: January 31, 2011, 03:30:19 am »

I wouldn't say I hate it. I've dabbled in HDR briefly but found it just didn't interest me. I don't even find the overly saturated colours offensive or annoying and I don't even mind that the images don't look "real". I just really dislike the metallic sheen that you get on HDR images. Taking an example by Mr. Stuck In Customs - http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2011/01/25/shakespeares-globe-theater/ - there is that very distinct metallic or grey or silver undertone throughout the image and it's not just his, it's pretty much most HDR images I've seen.

1. HDR is not to blaim, it's the (IMO over-the-top) processing, tonemapping, that causes it.
2. Some prefer postprocessing that's over the top. These images are often lacking in other aspects (e.g. composition) as well, and the effect is an attempt to make something usable out of nothing.
3. Well executed (HDR) tonemapping is almost invisible to the viewer (like with the old master painters), it just looks natural.

Cheers,
Bart
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HannahWebster

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #188 on: February 03, 2011, 04:41:29 pm »

I agree with most that HDR has a very useful place in a photographers tool belt but it is perhaps often overdone a tad! I think that it depends what effect one is trying to achieve, I hope that the people who are using it to create images that have so much range in them they look like paintings not photos, are aware that they are moving in to making images that can't really be described as photographs anymore!

My personal opinion (as we all have one!) is that HDR should be used to enable the photographer to record what their eyes could see, and nothing more. In cases such as the photos on the first page (which are stunning by the way!) the camera simply couldn't have recorded all this detail and variety of tone, but they still look natural because our eyes could see this detail. - does that make sense?! there are still areas of deep black tones and bright light tones, this is what makes them look so natural and not overdone.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 04:43:28 pm by HannahWebster »
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LKaven

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #189 on: February 03, 2011, 08:16:28 pm »

Photographic images where one want to show clouds in a bright sky and details in a dark narrow street are at best difficult to record, post-process and print though said clouds and dark details are easily perceived with our own eyes.

The range of a painter's palette is limited, too, but painters often manage to compress 20 stops in a pleasing and convincing manner. Exagerated HDR notwithstanding, photographers should learn from them!

Applause.

Policar

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #190 on: February 06, 2011, 04:07:57 pm »

For evident reasons black and white films and printing papers we designed to suit the four-stop range needed for a good reproduction of the human face. Period.

Color films were designed to match B&W then digital cameras to match color films and inkjets printers to match color printing papers. This makes sense.

Photographic images where one want to show clouds in a bright sky and details in a dark narrow street are at best difficult to record, post-process and print though said clouds and dark details are easily perceived with our own eyes.

The range of a painter's palette is limited, too, but painters often manage to compress 20 stops in a pleasing and convincing manner. Exagerated HDR notwithstanding, photographers should learn from them!

Printing papers weren't designed for four stops of contrast, it's just that it's extraordinarily difficult to get any more than that out of a reflective medium.  Only backlit displays can produce substantially more contrast than that.  I don't know how four stops of latitude has much to do with the face.  The face itself doesn't have that much contrast when lit evenly.

Films weren't designed to have four stops of latitude.  C41 film is capable of giving you 12-14 stops, from which less can be selected for the final print.  Slides are the end product and, as such, have less exposure latitude so they can have appropriate contrast when projected.  The delivery medium dictates latitude more than anything else.  The average digital camera produces just over eight stops of contrast for 8bit jpegs to be displayed on 8 bit screens.

I also can't think of a single talented naturalistic painter who compressed more than six or eight stops of real-world information into a painting.  The reflective medium itself, be it photo paper or paint, is the limiting factor, and it can be stretched (see dodged/burned/low contrast development zone system landscapes) but only so far.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2011, 04:10:39 pm by Policar »
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RFPhotography

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #191 on: February 09, 2011, 09:07:22 am »


The range of a painter's palette is limited, too, but painters often manage to compress 20 stops in a pleasing and convincing manner. Exagerated HDR notwithstanding, photographers should learn from them!

Agreed!

I've said it before, here and elsewhere, and I'll say it again:  While there's a lot of 'bad' HDR out there, there's a lot of 'good' HDR as well.  The sad thing is that 'bad' HDR gets dumped on much more than other forms of 'bad' art.  People are out there Topazing and Lucising the shit out of images (sometimes combined with 'bad' HDR which just exacerbates the problem) and no on bats an eye.  Don't dump on HDR for all the faults of 'bad' art.
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Lonnie Utah

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #192 on: August 11, 2011, 05:25:07 pm »

1. HDR is not to blaim, it's the (IMO over-the-top) processing, tonemapping, that causes it.
2. Some prefer postprocessing that's over the top. These images are often lacking in other aspects (e.g. composition) as well, and the effect is an attempt to make something usable out of nothing.
3. Well executed (HDR) tonemapping is almost invisible to the viewer (like with the old master painters), it just looks natural.

I've done alot of thinking on this subject recently.  What has me fired up AGAIN, is the misapplication of the technique.

Before I go on, to address your point 1, "Tone mapping" is using your computers software to change one set of numeric values that represent color and luminosity in your image to another set of values representing different colors and luminosity. Any process that changes these values is technically tone mapping (so you can see it covers a wide range of functions). There are many ways to do this; curves, hdr, selective color, desaturation, split toning, etc, etc. All of these are tone mapping techniques.  However, what most people mean by "tone mapping" is strong/excessive areas of local contrast with an overall reduction in global contrast.  The "HDR Look".  

When I stated photography, we used the wet dark room. So for me, what we could do in the wet darkroom is the "gold standard" when it comes to processing. That includes dodging, burning, double (or more) exposures, use of filters, push/pull processing, etc. There is quite a bit of latitude there, and modern software just makes it easier.  My point is, I don't have any problems with folks post processing their images...

So as I was saying, I was thinking last week about what HDR does for us. During the course of that mental exercise, I thought of the HDR process in a new way. Depending on your particular camera and sensor, modern DSLR's give us about 10-11 stops of dynamic range. The human eye can resolve between 17-20 stops of dynamic range, depending on conditions (where the light source(s) is relative to the eye).  Let's say we take a three exposure, -2, 0, +2 set in anticipation of doing some hdr work. When we do we are adding about 4 steps to the dynamic range to the photo. So less assume 11 stops of dynamic range from our camera, and 4 more from processing and that's 15 stops, and is getting pretty close to what the human eye can naturally resolve. If we use a wider spread of exposures to build our HDR, then it's even closer.

Where my beef with HDR users lies is that many of the scenes we see on flickr or elsewhere do not contain 15 stops of dynamic range. If they don't, there is no technical reason to do an hdr shot of a car, tractor, building etc, etc if the shot is taken in broad daylight with good lighting. Now if you are doing HDR for artistic reasons then you might have a valid reason for the HDR treatment.  If it's simply to "expand the dynamic range of the photo", it's pointless as you camera can already capture the entire dynamic range present in the scene.  It's inefficient, a waste of processing time and storage space.  (granted the processing time can be minimal, and storage has never been cheaper).  

It's also important to note, that while HDR images expand the dynamic range of the scene, don't really "expand" the dynamic range of the final image that we see.  Most HRD software up-rezs the composite images to a 32 bit composite.  If my calculations are correct that's 4,294,967,296 colors.  This is a true expansion of the original Dynamic range.  However, since our monitors and printers are generally 24 bit sRGB displays or 16 million colors, they can't display the 32 bit images, do the software DOWN-rezs them to 24 bit 16 million color images.  This down rez effects both luminosity and color depth and compresses both. Both the uprez and downrez are "tone mapping".

To me, photo's with lots of dynamic range have a significant amount of contrast as they are reproducing a wide range of light to darks.  Most HDR software REDUCES this contrast by balancing the histogram and spreading the light and dark areas across the entire frame. This is done by making highlight areas darker and shadow areas brighter. This is done on a pixel by pixel basis by the HDR software analyzing the individual pixels themselves. Basically an inverse s-curve is applied to every pixel in the image, which results in a global reduction in contrast.  This allows the image to be displayed by media with limited (24 bit, 16 million color) dynamic range. The result is an image with balanced amounts of light and dark areas. The result is an evenly exposed photo, but evenly exposed photos don't result in powerful high contrast images.

So, I'd say that if you don't have 14+ stops of dynamic range in a scene, HDR might not be your most efficient method of reproduction.  So let's say a scene has more than 14 stops of dynamic range and I still want to do a single exposure capture? What options do I have.  Well, by using a ND grad and by shooting raw, I can balance the original exposure in camera.  Then by using Adobe Camera RAW/Photoshop I can selectively lighten the dark areas and darken highlight areas by hand (dodging/burning or local adjustment brushes in ACR), any other areas that might be too light or too dark. One can easily push/pull 1 stop out of a raw file and you can usually get 2. So conservatively, that puts me at 16 stops, which as I said before, is very close to what the human eye can naturally resolve.  

HDR is a tool, and like any tool you have to know how it's best applied, and when it might be best to use another tool...
« Last Edit: August 11, 2011, 05:29:38 pm by Lonnie Utah »
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Guillermo Luijk

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #193 on: August 12, 2011, 07:19:52 am »

many of the scenes we see on flickr or elsewhere do not contain 15 stops of dynamic range. If they don't, there is no technical reason to do an hdr shot of a car, tractor, building etc, etc if the shot is taken in broad daylight with good lighting. Now if you are doing HDR for artistic reasons then you might have a valid reason for the HDR treatment.  If it's simply to "expand the dynamic range of the photo", it's pointless as you camera can already capture the entire dynamic range present in the scene.  It's inefficient, a waste of processing time and storage space.  (granted the processing time can be minimal, and storage has never been cheaper).

I agree with that. I invented my own definition of 'HDR image', would like to know from you all if you agree/disagree:

An image can be considered an 'HDR image' if, and only if, it accomplishes 3 conditions:

1. The scene it represents was in fact a high dynamic range scene (see about high* later)
2. We used the necessary means to capture all the scene's information, from the highlights to the deep shadows (these means can be: bracketing at different exposures, use of ND filters, having a camera with a fantastic sensor capable of recording all the DR in a single shot,...)
3. We have processed the captured information (tone mapping process) so that all of it from the highlights to the deep shadows is visible in the ouput device (print, monitor, projector,...)

* The flaw, or I'd rather say subjective point of this definition is what is a 'high dynamic range scene'?. My choice is to relate the decision to how difficult is to compress the scene's DR into the output devices' DR (paper: ~4 stops, monitor: ~6-7 stops) in a realistic manner that looks pleasant to the observer. Based on my experience, a escene with >8 stops of DR begins to require some processing but can still be tonemaped successfully without too much effort. >10-12 stops definitively needs a more skilled processing, and I consider it a good figure to speak about HDR imaging (the day output devices can represent 12 stops of DR, 12 stops escenes will not require any tone mapping process so we won't be able to speak about 'HDR imaging' though, they will just be real world scenes with no more DR than the ouput device can reproduce).

Following some real world references of measured DR:

Desertic landscape with no sun in the frame: 3 stops
.


Interior with artificial lighting outside the frame: 6 stops
.


Interior with windows open to a sunny day: 12 stops
.



Only the third could end in an 'HDR image' according to the definition.

Regards
« Last Edit: August 12, 2011, 07:23:03 am by Guillermo Luijk »
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Lonnie Utah

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #194 on: August 12, 2011, 10:46:57 am »

Guillermo,

Excellent analysis and I agree 100%.  1 question, how did you make your graphs?? They are great!

L
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #195 on: August 12, 2011, 11:06:29 am »

I agree with that. I invented my own definition of 'HDR image', would like to know from you all if you agree/disagree:

An image can be considered an 'HDR image' if, and only if, it accomplishes 3 conditions:

1. The scene it represents was in fact a high dynamic range scene (see about high* later)
2. We used the necessary means to capture all the scene's information, from the highlights to the deep shadows (these means can be: bracketing at different exposures, use of ND filters, having a camera with a fantastic sensor capable of recording all the DR in a single shot,...)
3. We have processed the captured information (tone mapping process) so that all of it from the highlights to the deep shadows is visible in the ouput device (print, monitor, projector,...)

* The flaw, or I'd rather say subjective point of this definition is what is a 'high dynamic range scene'?.

Hi Guillermo,

Good definitions are rare. I prefer to think of HDR as a scene contrast ratio that exceeds the static dynamic range of the human eye's retina (100:1 to 1000:1, depending on your source). When the scene contrast ratio changes and exceeds that 6.5-7 EV equivalent range, the eye reacts chemically (dark adaptation) and physically (pupil reaction). This allows the human eye to span a huge dynamic range of some 9 orders of magnitude (10^9 or 30 EV). Mind you, I'm talking about scene contrast ratio, i.e. input luminances, as perceived by the eye. That is something different than linear gamma sensor DR before gamma adjustment.

If we make a photographic recording of such a scene contrast, we end up with an HDR image.

Whatever tonal postprocessing we apply to that image, in excess of a simple gamma pre-compensation for output, is called tonemapping. Nothing fancy, even a simple S-curve adjustment is tonemapping because we assign a different brightness to parts of the scene than they normally would have had with only a gamma precompensation for output.

More advanced tonemapping techniques allow to produce e.g. a printed output (with a max. DR of about 7 EV) of HDR images, without them looking unnatural despite the larger dynamic range of the original scene being squeezed into the relatively lower DR of the output medium. Without tonemapping such a scene would look like a low contrast version of the scene.

Cheers,
Bart
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stamper

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #196 on: August 13, 2011, 04:33:58 am »

Harold Davis - I don't have the link - stated that HDR should be used to create a good background layer in Photoshop. Then the real work begins which means the use of curves, saturation etc etc to make a good image. A good HDR means you don't notice it has been used in the process of an image. The OTT HDR images that photographers produce can easily be done with too much saturation, layer blend modes and over sharpening. You DON'T need HDR for that. I put a couple of images on Flickr which had been "overcooked" and was asked if they were HDR'S. There is too much baloney surrounding this topic? :(

RFPhotography

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #197 on: August 13, 2011, 08:58:13 am »

Stamper, I've been saying the same thing for several years.  The tonemapped HDR (now LDR) image is just the starting point, not the ending point. 

As far as determining what is 'tonemapping', yes it can be any of the tools available in Photoshop or other editing packages.  Tonemapping doesn't have to be done using the available operators inside the HDR software.  Tonemapping is a nice term but it really is just editing.  I actually had this very conversation with a reader of my blog on the CS5 HDR Pro review I did.

Getting caught up in measurbatory, technical definitions of HDR is pointless.  10 stops.  11 stops.  6.8456043756034785603485092304534702308234098 stops.  Good HDR is good HDR and bad HDR is bad HDR.  That really is the point.
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Lonnie Utah

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #198 on: August 13, 2011, 11:33:05 am »

Getting caught up in measurbatory, technical definitions of HDR is pointless.  10 stops.  11 stops.  6.8456043756034785603485092304534702308234098 stops. 

I agree conceptually, but not technically.  I still say that if the luminance of the scene does not exceed your cameras dynamic range, then there is no technical reason to do HDR....
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RFPhotography

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Re: Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #199 on: August 14, 2011, 11:46:23 am »

I agree conceptually, but not technically.  I still say that if the luminance of the scene does not exceed your cameras dynamic range, then there is no technical reason to do HDR....

Don't disagree; but purely technical reasons are the only reasons to do things.
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