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Category Archives: Editorial
I also and going to start bringing over a few of my articles that are general photography related from my other site SeeNLearn. It’s kinda hard to write and keep up 3 blogs and magazines so I’m going to take it down to just two blogs.
I also think even though this site is the HDR Image, we can’t loose sight on how EVERY part of photography contributes to getting a great HDR Image. It’s not just processing that gives us a stunning image. It’s using great photographic techniques that lead up to that process that matter just as much or maybe even more. So I will be combining great tips on making better photographs of all types that will push your images from Ehh to Wow.
So often these days as I scan Google+ or 500px I see HDRs that I’m sorry, are just horrible photographs. The only thing of interest at all in them is that they are an HDR and sometimes I’ll admit, that alone draws the eye. But HDR should not be the feature, it should be a great photograph…and I used this technique to capture it. Anymore I don’t even say “I shot an HDR”, I simply, took a photograph
So I implore you to, First look for a great photograph, interesting light and shadow, texture and composition and then judge, what techniques do I need to use to capture my vision? If the scene is beyond the dynamics of your camera, THEN use HDR (or other methods) to capture it.
Thought for the day, short and sweet.
I read with interest a post on Google+ the other day. A gentleman stated. “I’ve started to do more of my work in Lightroom”. Another poster asked, “You mean Tone-Mapping?” The first person replied, “No, I’m extending the Dynamic Range of a single image in Lightroom using the controls”
So it made me think; Does anyone really understand what it is we do as HDR practitioners? I think not.
Let’s make one thing clear up front: We are not creating High Dynamic Range images…wait let me say that again…WE ARE NOT CREATING HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE IMAGES. And in case you missed it, we… are…not…creating…high dynamic range… images. We simply aren’t.
So what is it we are doing? We, hope to capture a scene with a high dynamic range in multiple exposures. We then take those images and compress them to fit in a Standard Dynamic Range medium – that may be Print or Screen Display.
Our final images are Standard Dynamic Range images (or in many cases that I have seen, actually Low Dynamic Range images). The image only hopes to simulate a High Dynamic Range scene that our eyes saw but our cameras unable to capture in a single image..
Our Standard Dynamic Range end products may have as low a dynamic range as 100:1 in the case of prints or as high as 1000:1 in the case of a good quality monitor. The Images we captured may have a range of >1,000 all the way to 100,000:1 or more but we never see that range in our final product it is only simulated.
What we are doing is taking something1,000 inches long, compressing it and fitting it in a 100 inch box. We hope that it is not noticeable the parts we took out to make it fit.
So really what the person in my first article was doing WAS tone-mapping- Moving a tone from one place to another- He did not extend the dynamic range of his image because you can’t beyond what is possible for that medium.
We think Tone-Mapping is only part of HDR, but it’s done many times in our images. When a camera takes the signal from the sensor that may be 12 or 14 bit and makes a Jpeg (8-bit), it is tone mapping.
I think it is important we know what it is we are doing; I think this needed to be said.
OK, so I’m back. Hope some of you are still here.
Those of you that know me personally or are close, professionally know there was a little more to me leaving then I led on. It’s really not that important why. It’s not hard to find if you really need to know and most don’t really need to know.
Regardless, I’m back. I probably won’t spend as much time here as I once did because there still are other things I want to pursue and other types of photography that are piquing my interest (I’ve come up with a different method for B & W conversion That I think just kicks butt) I still shoot a lot of HDR but I don’t want it to be the only trick my pony is capable of. I also am working on a more broad based photography teaching site to talk about ALL aspects and levels of photography. Eventually I may Merge the two sites to become one source for everything
I also want to do more magazine articles because well…they actually pay me to do that and I’m kinda liking this “pay” thing that people speak of especially since the cost of that “Other” thing was quite astronomical to me.
Which leads me to the last two things I want to talk about. If you like what you find here at the HDR Image and you could be so kind, If you have an interest in purchasing some of the products that our sponsors have. Whether it is the latest cutting edge software we have in the marketplace on the side or if you are thinking about buying that great Canon 5D Mark III camera from B & H. Please click through the links on this site. Not only does it help me out immensely, it may benefit you because we do have a few coupon codes that will slice the price down a bit and a few even put a discount in your basket without the need for any coupon code, just simply by clicking through this site.
And the final thing I ask is : Give me some ideas for articles. I know about and can write about just about anything concerning HDR and Photography in general. If there is something that confuses you or are just curious about, drop me a note and let me know and I will try to put something together. Writing is not the hard part. Figuring out what to write about is. So help me out the best you can.
Thanks again to everyone that supported the site before, I hope all the regulars come back and I really hope we get a lot more new faces so tell all your friends.
It’s good to be back
When I find great companies, I like to shout about them…well because there aren’t many left.
I needed an OCF part for a photo shoot I am doing this week and ordered it last week from MPEX. Well a little mistake occurred.
Now of course we all would love it if mistakes were never made, but I find it is how that mistake is then handled that separates the good from the bad.
MPEX took care of it…in seconds, literally.
So a big shout out to MPEX and a special Thank You to Anna for her big part in it.
You can check out MPEX here
I just wanted to take a quick moment to say thanks to everyone that comment on yesterdays post. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to share their views. It was helpful because I wanted to make sure I am providing what YOU the readers want to read and learn about. The blog isn’t and shouldn’t be about promoting my work but if the style I am doing coincides with what you want to learn than it certainly is win win.
If ever there is something you would like to learn about or talk about, please let me know…Even if it is how to get a good grunge effect. Without you guys the blog isn’t much of anything.
If the weather is good I’ll be heading out to the Salton Sea tomorrow to hopefully get some good shots and maybe a new lessson.
Thanks again to all my reader/friends
Every year at the new year I reassess myself. What I am doing, where I am heading, where the things I do are heading . So this came to my mind as I was looking through some forums seeing what others are doing, what they have questions on, what their opinions are.
Here at The HDR Image I heavily promote a style of HDR, “As the Eye Sees” It’s my interpretation of what I think HDR is for. I want my HDRs to go beyond what my camera sees and make my image look like what my eye sees and really nothing more than that. It’s a fairly realistic and natural style. But I also know that people like and have different styles and I am surely open to artistic intent and support that 100%. But I wanted people to know that there is another way to do things that maybe they didn’t realize COULD be done because the example put forth by most are not what I preach.
As I looked around at different forums and blogs in HDR areas, really very few were interested in my style. Most loved more outrageous styles. Or, if they didn’t, they didn’t offer an alternative, they merely said. HDRs suck.
Keeping a Blog going is based on readership. For pure HDR type websites that offer tutorials and not just images. I rank about 3rd depending on how you would rate things. My readership has risen exponentially in the past year and I am thankful for everyone of you that read me regularly. But I still lag far behind the other two. The leader, you know who he is, has readership in one day that equals half my YEAR. In a recent post he did, before the day was even through he had 120 comments while I struggle to get 1 or 2.
So my question to you is; Am I fighting the good fight to promote my vision of things or am I loosing the battle and turning people away? Do people come look and then go “Eh, that doesn’t look like “HDR” I like the other stuff and they go elsewhere. Should I do more articles on how to do Grunge or Painterly styles and give the people what they want?
Am I shooting myself in the foot? I just don’t know.
So, I am the author of a blog on HDR so my images should be the best possible example of how to do HDR and be great images and I thought I was doing a fairly good job of that. But then for research on what people might be interested in learning I went on to a lot of forums to see what people were talking about and how they were doing things.
I knew my methods and I thought they worked. But people were talking so differently and in large numbers of people were doing it differently than I. Heck even when I visited a major HDR software company, THEY were doing it differently.
Everyone was talking about 7 and 9 images shot. 1EV or smaller increments. making adjustments on the raw images before processing into an HDR ( I will only do White balance adjustments pre conversion). All kinds of thins to get the perfect image. And I thought to myself, my old adage that in most cases to shoot just 3 frames 2EV apart, surely must be wrong. I must just be lazy and I wasn’t putting enough effort into getting the best image possible.
So lately I was shooting 7 frames, 9 frames 10 frames! Standing on my head, wearing copper bracelets, eating vegan…anything to get that ultimate HDR Image…and they weren’t
It smacked me in the face the other evening after I shot the Hotel Del Coronado, I wasn’t even excited about shooting it because. I had to get it perfect because it was for a tutorial so the pressure was on and surely I needed to shoot 20 frames and lock my mirror up and…ugh. When I got home and processed the images. I first did the 6 frames 1EV spacing I had shot, then I went back and just did 3 frames 2EV apart. There was NO difference in fact the 3 frames were slightly better on white areas and only then when zooming into 100%. Visibly there was no difference and shooting more than 3 frames with closer spacing was in fact just a huge waste of time.
Whih is which?
It was at that point I thought back to my most successful HDR images almost all of them were shot with just 3 exposures . The reason the software company wanted to talk to me was because I was getting results they weren’t (Lots of exposures) This image, my most successful selling image…3 exposures.
My magazine cover… 3 exposures
We need to remember that when we take an exposure it doesn’t just span that 1EV or 2EV spacing,most of the exposures are easily covering a dynamic range of 6 – 7 stops. As we move to the extreme ends of exposure our dynamic range will decrease because we fall into the noise floor or blowout region. But we still have a wide enough dynamic range in each shot that 2EV spacing is enough. Are there times that we need to do more than 3 exposures? Of course there is and we saw in the Shooting the Sun or Shooting Architectural Interiors post, you may need to shoot beyond 3 because there is just that much Dynamic range that needs to be covered. But still 2EV pacing is fine, cover the range you have measured and stop. The worst sin of all is overshooting the range. Totally Blown out or most black exposures do nothing and in fact detract and take away detail from the image.
So I will go back to my original statement. In most situations 3 Exposures 2 stops apart is sufficient and beneficial and will save you time in shooting and especially in processing time. You don’t need that agony of 10 exposures waiting for them to merge.
And my last bit of advice is; If the scene does not call for HDR, don’t use HDR. I think I was reminded of that when I was shooting the sun for that series. Later in the day in a pasture during the golden hour when the sun was low and soft and the dynamic ranges decrease and are able to be captured. I shot this image which turns out to be one of my favorite images of this year. Single exposure – no HDR. Is it a big and bold image like a lot of HDRs? Absolutely not. It’s a simple scene of a simple subject but with the essence of great photography…amazing and beautiful light
This all of course is just my opinion and I expect you to experiment and try and do what you find best. But this is my opinon for the day…and longer
Hope that helps,