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Thread: Finally, someone uses HDR sparingly...


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    Forum Master janikphoto's Avatar
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    Finally, someone uses HDR sparingly...

    This guy gets it:

    Brian Matiash’s Real Life HDR | Mamiya Blog

    HDR is actually a good thing in his hands. I wish more people understood this point of view.

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    Uber Poster L Stegall's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link. I like what he says and will go back and read in more detail when I have time to sit and study.

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    Sparingly? He uses it stronger than i do.

    Look at the Nov 15 post on my blog for instance. All hdr.... except maybe the bathroom shot. I dont remember.
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    You Can't Be Serious!! venchka's Avatar
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    Cool

    He uses it much stronger than I do as well. Primarily because I don't "do" HDR at all. Instead, I blend exposures (either bracketed in camera or later in Lightroom) using LR\Enfuse. Zero tone mapping. Just the way the photos looked coming out of the camera or the scanner.
    Like this posted at Nikon Cafe:

    Awhile back I mentioned working with a single exposure and Enfuse. Here's the latest with a photo I took yesterday. Here's what I did:
    1. Single exposure yesterday in Mineloa, TX.
    2. Import into Lightroom. No adjustments.
    3. Make 4 virtual copies.
    4. Applied exposure change to each virtual copy. In this case, +2 & +4 (for the harsh shadow along the lower half of the frame) and -1 & -2 just for good measure.
    5. Blend in Enfuse with the default settings.
    6. No post-Enfuse adjustments. Resized for the web.
    Before, straight from the camera:



    Follow the link to a larger version.
    Train Enfuse 11-27-1
    After...



    Train Enfuse 11-27-2

    Last, but not least, this is what I was able to do with Lightroom alone on a stiched version of the mural. No exposure blending.



    All taken with my newest digital camera: BlackBerry Torch.
    Last edited by venchka; 12-02-2010 at 09:40 AM.
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    Forum Regular dmarty78's Avatar
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    Sparingly? They look overcooked to me.
    Last edited by dmarty78; 12-02-2010 at 10:17 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmarty78 View Post
    Sparingly? They look overcooked to me.
    I agree, too much "detail enhancement" and excessive local contrast.
    Jeff Kohn | The Majestic Landscape | Blog | More Images
    "The capacity to compose images is really the capacity to give coherence to sensed experience" - Robert Motherwell

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    Senior Member Steve Balderrama's Avatar
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    they look a little overcooked to me, but a lot better than many. I'm not a fan of HDR as its used in many cases. Its funny that something that is called "High Dynamic Range" is often used to produce pictures that should be labeled "No Dynamic Range".

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    Forum Master jeffclow's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing the link - the guy has some terrific images, but I concur with many others here.

    He's definitely going for the "surrealistic hdr", from my perspective. Not bad, just different.

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    Forum Master janikphoto's Avatar
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    I guess I meant that he is using the "HDR" effect sparingly. You can tell it's HDR, but it's not so far cooked that it seems like a Warner Bros cartoon. I know the best way to use the HDR technique and/or software is to not even have it look like an HDR at all. Most of us seem to use the technique where you can't really even tell, which is how I prefer it.

    And, Wayne... I consider your technique of layering to still be a form of HDR, since you do have a higher dynamic range displayed in your final print than was capable of capturing in one shot. That's how I do mine, too. I bracket and then layer and feather the sections together.

    Anyway, I originally meant that his shots clearly look HDR, but they aren't blown to hell and back, like so many novice HDR users. Sorry if I didn't clarify that well enough. I'd still dial back most of his images, too - if they were mine.

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    You Can't Be Serious!! venchka's Avatar
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    Didn't bracket in camera. "Bracketed" in Lightroom. No Tone mapping. That seems to be where all the funny looks of "HDR" comes in. Frankly, in this one case, I was able to adjust the single stiched image with Lightroom and avoid Enfuse altogether. The two photos are very close.
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    Junior Member MikeOlbinski's Avatar
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    Hey guys,

    I'm not from Texas, but I do a lot of HDR, know Brian and wanted to chime in a bit here.

    HDR can be done very, very badly. But Jason...saying "the best way" to do HDR is when you don't notice it...well, I disagree with that. There is not really a "best way." That's like saying there is a "best way" to do black and white photography, when of course people process them in an amazing amount of ways.

    I do think there is a wrong way and I try to teach that to people I come across. People use HDR as a way to enhance their crappy photos. I've seen pictures of a statue that my Aunt Tessa would take with her point and shoot...but a photographer takes it, uses HDR to boost the contrast and range, and proclaims it awesome.

    Composition is key. You need to compose your shot to a point where HDR doesn't even matter. And THEN you use HDR to make it something more.

    (Wayne...not to blast you particularly, but you came across as bragging about that image you made with your Blackberry, like it was the RIGHT way to do things and how amazed some of us should be at the fact it was a BB. Honestly...I took a set of shots framed like that last night in downtown Phoenix and deleted them the second I downloaded them to Lightroom.)

    If you like the subtle style, that's great. If you like it "overcooked", that's great too. Brian shoots a lot of urban exploration scenes. I compare it to The Matrix...how many of those scenes looked amazing because of what they did with processing the film to look "greenish", old, retro...etc. There was nothing wrong with the movie because it wasn't "out of the camera", "or looked real"...it was a style of processing the film.

    Brian doesn't really use HDR sparingly...he uses it on pretty much every image. But he knows HOW to compose a scene, HOW to use HDR to bring out what he wants and THEN he does stuff in post-processing to give it the look he wants.

    What people need to stop doing is debating on what is "right" HDR, whether HDR is real photography or not...and just appreciate ART. If you don't like it, that's fine...but to me, that's the same as just saying I don't really get into B&W photography. Yes, of course there are techniques you need to learn, but that is the same with any photography you do...landscapes, portraits, etc. But once you know the techniques and then explore how YOU interpret something...then it's just art you are creating.

    On a side note...Brian is one of the best photographers I know, he helps everyone he comes in contact with and has been a great friend to me. If you get a chance to interact with him on Twitter or his blog, take advantage.

    Mike

    Mike Olbinski Photography - Portraits, Events, HDR, Print, Landscapes, Arizona, Phoenix

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    You Can't Be Serious!! venchka's Avatar
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    It just happened to be with a BlackBerry. I use Enfuse with analog to digital and RAW files. It's quick and easy with NO "HDR" look at all. That's how I prefer to work. YMMV.

    I do not see the need to say "This is an HDR photo." Did Ansel Adams say "This print was dodged and burned"? The final photo is the end product. How you get there needs no explanation.
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    Junior Member MikeOlbinski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by venchka View Post
    It just happened to be with a BlackBerry. I use Enfuse with analog to digital and RAW files. It's quick and easy with NO "HDR" look at all. That's how I prefer to work. YMMV.

    I do not see the need to say "This is an HDR photo." Did Ansel Adams say "This print was dodged and burned"? The final photo is the end product. How you get there needs no explanation.
    I actually completely agree with you. I tend to do it only because other photographers look at my blog and will want to know. But to the general public, I would just put up an image and let them decide if they like it or not.

    If they ask WHY it looks the way it does, then I tell them. But most of the time, I don't like to specify that one photo is HDR and one isn't.

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    Junior Member brianmatiash's Avatar
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    First off, I'd like to thank Jason for posting a link to the Mamiya interview. It was very kind of you and I thank you for digging my work.

    I'd also like to thank my good buddy, Mike, for going to bat for me and for his kind words. It's what good friends do and I'd return the favor any day of the week for him.

    Mike and I actually discussed the content of this thread earlier and there is a point that I'd like to supplement to what Mike wrote.

    Namely, it is imperative to differentiate between the oft-used term of 'Over-baked HDR' and what I consider 'aggressive stylization' during post processing. I utilize HDR in both fine art and commercial photography and, if I may be so bold, I have -thankfully- been successful at both.

    Over-baked HDR images have telltale characteristics, namely with over saturation and eye-cavity inducing colors. There is also an excessive amount of localized tonal contrast everywhere, and there are 'dirty' details in areas of exposure that should normally be clean. Anyone who has begun dabbling in HDR will experience this. It's all part of the growing process.

    The distinction I'd like to make is between what some here consider over-baked HDR and what I call aggressive stylization. The difference primarily has to do with the stage at which each occurs.

    My #1 goal for tone-mapping, whether for fine art or for a commercial job, has always been to output an evenly exposed image. My tone-mapping process leaves me with what I'd normally consider to be a flat image but I have good data and detail in all highlight, mid-tone, and shadow areas of the scene.

    The next step has to do with the stylization. This is the fork in the road for me and the trajectory is based on whether it's fine art or commercial. For commercial work, I am much more conservative in stylization. In fact, other than basic dust/spot clean up, the only edits I usually make are around contrast, gamma, and saturation. In the end, though, it is all about what the client wants and I'll always do my best to oblige.

    Now, if the shot is fine art, meaning its destination will be for my blog or portfolio, I process solely to my taste. For me, this is a time when I can infuse my imagination using the tools at my disposal (namely PhotoTools, by onOne Software - my employer).

    I will certainly agree that some of my shots can be seen as surreal. Some are very grungy with heavy shadows and lots of texture. Others are more ethereal and dreamlike. It's all a matter of what emotion the image evokes within me - I take that and I process accordingly. I always process to my taste exclusively and I recommend every to do the same.

    I am more than happy to take criticism about my work. That's the name of the game and it is wholeheartedly expected if you enter the HDR realm of photography. I've heard all the criticism and insults and I smile solely because everyone is entitled to an opinion.

    However, whenever I have an opportunity to try correct the misconception about what over-baked HDR is versus what aggressive stylization is, I will take it.

    I'll close with the most important point, made by Mike earlier. HDR is not a band-aid. I never, ever treat it as such. If the shot does not have some compelling element to it (for me, at least), it gets tossed. HDR and stylization are not remedies or substitues for two things:

    1. Getting a compelling shot, framed effectively and composed to taste
    2. Doing everything you can to start with the best possible exposures in camera

    So, that's my little ramble. I really did enjoy reading this thread and look forward to more conversation around the topic, should people be interested.

    Cheers,

    Brian

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    Forum Regular dmarty78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianmatiash View Post
    First off, I'd like to thank Jason for posting a link to the Mamiya interview. It was very kind of you and I thank you for digging my work.

    I'd also like to thank my good buddy, Mike, for going to bat for me and for his kind words. It's what good friends do and I'd return the favor any day of the week for him.

    Mike and I actually discussed the content of this thread earlier and there is a point that I'd like to supplement to what Mike wrote.

    Namely, it is imperative to differentiate between the oft-used term of 'Over-baked HDR' and what I consider 'aggressive stylization' during post processing. I utilize HDR in both fine art and commercial photography and, if I may be so bold, I have -thankfully- been successful at both.

    Over-baked HDR images have telltale characteristics, namely with over saturation and eye-cavity inducing colors. There is also an excessive amount of localized tonal contrast everywhere, and there are 'dirty' details in areas of exposure that should normally be clean. Anyone who has begun dabbling in HDR will experience this. It's all part of the growing process.

    The distinction I'd like to make is between what some here consider over-baked HDR and what I call aggressive stylization. The difference primarily has to do with the stage at which each occurs.

    My #1 goal for tone-mapping, whether for fine art or for a commercial job, has always been to output an evenly exposed image. My tone-mapping process leaves me with what I'd normally consider to be a flat image but I have good data and detail in all highlight, mid-tone, and shadow areas of the scene.

    The next step has to do with the stylization. This is the fork in the road for me and the trajectory is based on whether it's fine art or commercial. For commercial work, I am much more conservative in stylization. In fact, other than basic dust/spot clean up, the only edits I usually make are around contrast, gamma, and saturation. In the end, though, it is all about what the client wants and I'll always do my best to oblige.

    Now, if the shot is fine art, meaning its destination will be for my blog or portfolio, I process solely to my taste. For me, this is a time when I can infuse my imagination using the tools at my disposal (namely PhotoTools, by onOne Software - my employer).

    I will certainly agree that some of my shots can be seen as surreal. Some are very grungy with heavy shadows and lots of texture. Others are more ethereal and dreamlike. It's all a matter of what emotion the image evokes within me - I take that and I process accordingly. I always process to my taste exclusively and I recommend every to do the same.

    I am more than happy to take criticism about my work. That's the name of the game and it is wholeheartedly expected if you enter the HDR realm of photography. I've heard all the criticism and insults and I smile solely because everyone is entitled to an opinion.

    However, whenever I have an opportunity to try correct the misconception about what over-baked HDR is versus what aggressive stylization is, I will take it.

    I'll close with the most important point, made by Mike earlier. HDR is not a band-aid. I never, ever treat it as such. If the shot does not have some compelling element to it (for me, at least), it gets tossed. HDR and stylization are not remedies or substitues for two things:

    1. Getting a compelling shot, framed effectively and composed to taste
    2. Doing everything you can to start with the best possible exposures in camera

    So, that's my little ramble. I really did enjoy reading this thread and look forward to more conversation around the topic, should people be interested.

    Cheers,

    Brian
    I don't think anyone was being critical. I use HDR in most of my work flow but in a very subtle manner. I just have a bad taste in my mouth the whole HDR thing. I'm tired of seeing Trey Ratcliff selling the whole HDR thing. That guy's work leads alot to be desired, yet he's making a crap ton if money with it. Big budgets and big backing, make you a sucessful photographer these days. Not raw talent.

    My 2 cents.

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