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Opinion of HDR . . .
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:39 am    Post subject: Opinion of HDR . . . Reply with quote

I was wondering what the general concensus was on HDR images.
A friend has been doing this with his images (from his dslr) - they look good, a close to "perfect image". His comment was that this process allows him to get the light right in all areas of the photo and since he can't paint he uses HDR.
The images almost do look like "paintings".
In my opinion an image can be too perfect - then it starts to lose its naturalness. I realize in normal dark room work - areas are often lightened to show detail, or balance things out.(I know, these digital programs are supposed to be just another form of darkroom) If you are are doing many many layers and adjusting each when are you going beyond the limits of normal technique. Where is the division between skill/technique and software/technology.

We as photographers capture an ephemeral moment on film - the essencial image of that moment. At what point does one lose the truth in that moment, or when does the technique/process become more important than the image?

I commend those who produce these images for their artistic ability with the medium and the quality of images that are produced.

A final question . . .
Are those who embrace the digital risking being transformed from photographers into CGI artists?

Some things for thought . . .

Jim


PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Improper use of HDR techniques can lead to very wrong results (wrong for realism, that is). I have seen images of celebrated photographers made with typical mistakes of this technique, the most common being to let reflections be brighter than the original image source.

I personally use a little hdr to rescue what otherwise would be non recoverable shadowed parts. But when I do it I always follow my "golden rule of filters", which is: "When you think you have found a good setting that makes a moderate nice result, cut that setting into half and apply it"

So as you can see this type of techniques is for me like spices in the kitchen: a tiny pinch can make a dish memorable. An excessive quantity can completely ruin it.

Which translated into photographese means that the only good hdr intervention is the one that the viewer does not notice.

I personally am not afraid of shadows in the photos and of black in my prints. I often prefer an all black area that leaves room to the viewer's imagination, than a HDR raised area that shows a whole lot of stupid useless details.

What you can not see is as important as what you can actually see. So I'm not afraid of the unspoken (which in photographese means "not afraid of leaving untouched pure black areas).


PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The most viewed image I have on flickr is hdr-ish. It was just a test I did and I kind of like it. It really depends on how it's used. I don't mind it myself, but most of them are just simple automated images that does nothing for me. With a bit of handcraft and moderate usage of HDR and tonemapping, it can be really nice. I am not by any means a purist.

Here is a link to the image mentioned: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zewrak/2499019506/sizes/o/


PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zewrak, I think your picture is an example of moderate use of HDR/Tonemapping. Nice shot.
Personally I like HDR, but I seldom use it with MF lenses since the program I use needs the exposure info in the Exif header.

Normally I try to to keep my HDR on the low-key side, but sometimes it can be fun to crank it up a bit.

The shots below go from the subtle to the more extreme.







PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am big fun of HDR images, even if I didn't make yet any Wink Nice samples Sven I love all of them , last one is so extreme and so good!


PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attila wrote:
I am big fun of HDR images, even if I didn't make yet any Wink Nice samples Sven I love all of them , last one is so extreme and so good!


But it has bad artifacts on the waves Sad
The first two are more moderate and well executed.
Although personally, I would keep the shadows in the church. I guess this tells a lot about the different characters of the persons: when I shoot in churches, I compose around the shadows. This means I look for them instead of filling them Smile Well to everyone his own cup of tea I suppose!


PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an "unrealistic" image to me like made on other planet , in this case ok for me.


PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see HDR as a fun way of experimenting, and church interiors are classic examples of HDR use.
I don't disagree with the fact that shadows in a building can be more interesting.
I have one example of HDR with MF (Nikkor), and here we can talk about artifacts. Can't explain why it has become like this.




PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, the best HDR image is one that you can't tell right away.

After the initial couple of WOW LOOKIT THAT! of the usual overprocessed images, I soon get a headache. I lump them in with the other straight screwed up tool usages: over sharpening, over use of whatever doohickie is available in PS...

Sven, yours aren't bad; I've also seen a couple of pretty good B&W HDRs.


PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

for me it is gadget for bored people
why not try to take a portrait in HDR
all those pics just remind me computer generated graphics
I can understand the sandwich technique to rescue a sky but not more
next step will be collage from pics collected on internet, mikrozoft has just released a new soft 'AutoCollage' for bored photographer Twisted Evil


PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

poilu wrote:
for me it is gadget for bored people
why not try to take a portrait in HDR
all those pics just remind me computer generated graphics
I can understand the sandwich technique to rescue a sky but not more
next step will be collage from pics collected on internet, mikrozoft has just released a new soft 'AutoCollage' for bored photographer Twisted Evil



No, no just need to be use smart! Look Simon's B&W HDR photos or similar everybody say just wow!


PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

poilu wrote:
for me it is gadget for bored people
why not try to take a portrait in HDR
all those pics just remind me computer generated graphics
I can understand the sandwich technique to rescue a sky but not more
next step will be collage from pics collected on internet, mikrozoft has just released a new soft 'AutoCollage' for bored photographer Twisted Evil


I think this opens up an interesting discussion. When does what we do stop being photography an start being pure image processing.
I normally stick to the thesis that if I could do a trick in a lab with B/W film, it's also OK to do it in PS with digital images. For me this means not using all kinds of filters and transformations i PS. I guess HDR is an exception from my very loosely formulated rule.
On the other hand one might argue that HDR better mimics the dynamics of the human eye than film or digital sensors can do. It would still be quite difficult to make a good shot out of a bad just by applying HDR.
I have seen awful HDR images where the tone-mapping settings have been applied totally without feelings for realism, but applied with a bit of common sense the result can sometimes be pleasing.


PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The main point for me is, it's wrong that you HAVE to always see everything in the shadows.
Music is made of notes and pauses, or, if you prefer said otherwise, of sounds and silences.
So is photography.


PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HDR is a potent medicine but it tastes bad itself.. just apply tiny amounts to save a wounded photo and yet not spoil its taste..


PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

poilu wrote:
for me it is gadget for bored people
why not try to take a portrait in HDR . . .

I've seen this tried by my friend with a portrait of my wife. I didn't think it worked, so I deleted my copy.

Sven wrote:
. . .
I think this opens up an interesting discussion. When does what we do stop being photography an start being pure image processing.

This is part of what I was getting at in my post - and I guess it goes counter to what I think of as a photographer.

Sven wrote:
. . .I normally stick to the thesis that if I could do a trick in a lab with B/W film, it's also OK to do it in PS with digital images. For me this means not using all kinds of filters and transformations i PS. I guess HDR is an exception from my very loosely formulated rule. . .

If you note in the essay by Erwin Putts and even the Reuters guidelines, PS can be an effective digital darkroom, but too often it isn't left at that. One example I know is seeing in a photography magazine how to use PS to "improve" images of fireworks (often by cutting a pasting in an extra airburst, or achieving a level of contrast far in excess of what a darkroom could produce.

Sven wrote:
. . .
On the other hand one might argue that HDR better mimics the dynamics of the human eye than film or digital sensors can do.

Does it if you can think back on the moment caught and truly ask yourself did I really see all that detail?

Sven wrote:
. . .It would still be quite difficult to make a good shot out of a bad just by applying HDR. . .

This is very true but we know that many people shoot massive number of shots to either hopefully capture that magic image or at least have a decent one that through over processing can become that image.
You have to also remember that for many people more=better, including dramatic effects.
The genie of technology has been let out of its bottle - todays computer technology can be compared to the camera with roll film. The latter put photography - the realm of the professional - in the hands of the amateur, and the former seems to try to put the ability of the professional in the hands of the amateur.

Jim


PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://forum.mflenses.com/zuiko-28mm-in-surreal-london-t1942.html

Simon use HDR like technic, look the sky I think don't need better evidence why good to use.


PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HDR is nothing new. What is new are the simple Plug ins available to do it.
A simple guide should be:- If the image looks like HDR it is a failure.
Any HDR
Any good Controlled aspect of HDR can be done by shooting RAW and using layer masks.


PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A photograph has been said to be an illusion of reality, a window, and our understanding of the image hinges on that - I think HDR undermines that illusion. It is no longer a window - not a photograph. Of course if you use it and it still looks like a window then why not? If you use it and you end up with a great image, like a painting, then great - why not? But it can take the image a long way from being a photograph. Are you listening to the tale or the teller?


PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion, HDR is a great tool. I use it regularly when the dynamic range of a photograph I want to make is considerably wider then my digital camera can handle. For instance, if you shoot 360 panoramas during daylight, you can understand that HDR can be a very useful tool to make your panorama look more "correct" to the human eye (the DR of the human eye is several magnitudes higher then that of our camera equipment). Also, when you are standing in a dark room and want to shoot a very light subject, HDR is very useful: glass stained windows in a church, shooting the landscape through an open door, ... Not using HDR will often lead to areas which are either highly or poorly exposed and will often lead to unappealing photographs.
This being said, most HDR creations I see have been raped several times, usually by increasing the contrast far above the generally acceptable limit, or oversaturating the colors so much it hurts in the mind. Nevertheless, HDR remains trustworthy technique in my opinion, and I have made several HDR which my colleagues cannot distinguish from "normal" photographs.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HDR is a tool like any other. I do a fair bit of HDR in panoramic photography to open up shadows and deal with the huge dynamic ranges you get in super wide angle views.

It certainly can be overdone, and come out really horrible. At the same time, I've seen it be overdone and yet "work" beautifully. For examples of really obvious, heavy handed, and downright gorgeous HDR, check out http://stuckincustoms.com/

-Zandr


PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
The main point for me is, it's wrong that you HAVE to always see everything in the shadows.
Music is made of notes and pauses, or, if you prefer said otherwise, of sounds and silences.
So is photography.


That's a great analogy!


PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know a photographer who uses HDR on virtually all of his work, or so it appears and while the imagery is undoubtedly of high quality and very striking, it wears after a while and I long to see something a bit more natural.

It's worse for me because I know the areas he shoots and know that even with the kind of lighting that is possible in those areas, they can never really look like how they do in the final image.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not that much of a purist regarding image manipulation as I'm an ex-Kodachrome and latterly Velvia user and I do feel that HDR does have it's place when done sympathetically. I just think that it's a technique that is being done to death and is kind of turning into a cliche IMO.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is kindda funny when you think that the majority's description of hdri is "unnatural look", cause the hdr has roots in exact problem of compensating larger dynamic range of human eye than that of a digital camera. In other words was an effort to make a picture to look more natural Smile
Don't you think?


PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

piticu wrote:
It is kindda funny when you think that the majority's description of hdri is "unnatural look", cause the hdr has roots in exact problem of compensating larger dynamic range of human eye than that of a digital camera. In other words was an effort to make a picture to look more natural Smile
Don't you think?


Yes it is, but the main contention here is not that HDR is bad per se, only that it can look unnatural when overdone.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bob955i wrote:
but the main contention here is not that HDR is bad per se
I never thought that hdr is bad per se, is the same as thinking that a hammer is devil's tool Very Happy
I agree that this technique is badly overused