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Category Archives: Reader Images
Well it was a really tough decision and I like different images for different reasons and we have to remember everyone has their own editing tastes, which is a good thing. But after thinking all day, it came down to who made the image mostly as “I saw” which of course would have been a hard thing to guess.
But, The winner is…
Great job Brian.
If you can just email me and let me know what prize you would like and your address
A 12 x 18 print of:
- Your version Image
- My Version of the image- Signed
- Any one of my images at Fine Art America - Signed
Thanks to everyone that participated.
Just one final word. I’m a little mad at myself because I should have given you a better image to work on. It wasn’t shot great at all and that made it harder than necessary to produce a good image. Next time I think I will give an image that I know for sure was shot better and could produce a better image. Thanks again to you all for taking the time and having some fun with me.
Oh Yeah, This is my version, Not particularly happy with it. Was hoping to work more on it today but I was sick for most of the day…No excuses, it is what it is.
Here are the entries for the HDR Reader Chalenge
Entry 1: Brian R
Peter I used images 3, 4, & 5
In lightrooom3 cropped the vignette off then processed in Photomatix 4. Here is my settings: Details Enhancer, Strength 94, Saturation 56, Luminosity 1.7, Details Contrast 4.6, Lighting Adjustment – Natural. In PSE9 I clone dust spots and lens flare. Used Noiseware to smooth the sky. Back in Lightroom used selection brush to increase the saturation on the horizion.
Thanks for the project.
Entry 2: Joseph B
Hey Peter, here is my take on your images. There are so many ways this image could’ve gone. Mild or wild. I guess mine goes more into the wild? It’s something different for sure. So, here’s what I did:
I used all six images
Here’s the interesting part, I actually used the Enhancer Painterly preset!
Saturation Highlights: 10
Saturation Shadows: 8.0.
Here’s the main body of the work.
Fill Light: +33
Tone Mapping: Darks +30
Sharpening: +25 @ 1.5 radius
Noise Reduction/Luminace: +15
Post Crop Vignetting: +5 on Color Priority
Crop (adjusted a number of times throughout – really should’ve waited to the end)
Spot Removal of dust spots
Clone some of the lens flares
5% burn on the ground area
Leveled the image
Added a graduated filter for the sky area with +0.78 exposure setting and color cast (purpleish)
Added a second graduated filter for the lower right corner with -0.39 exposure setting to bring down the brightness of the corner ground.
I looked at the image and saw the artifacts on the sides. I’m assuming this is some form of Peripheral Lens Distortion? Pincushion? I don’t get this with my 18-55mm lens at 18mm, but I’m also using a crop sensor so I assume I wouldn’t since I’m really at about 28.8mm. I looked at the exif data and saw that they were all shot at 17mm and the images all appeared to be well aligned, indicating they were shot with a tripod. However, there were some alignment issues observed when Photomatix processed the images. Therefore, the equipment mistake made I would assume would not be adjusting the camera settings for PLD correction? I think newer cameras can do that. Mine can’t so I’m not sure. If it isn’t that, the only other thing I could think of is some form of distortion cause by an attached filter since you’re at the lens’ wide end.
I did start thinking about PLD potentially being a problem towards the end of my play on your images. I took one of them into Lightroom and applyed PLD correction which seemed to correct most of it. Well, that was just damn smart of me, I do it AFTER I’m almost finished with the image, and well beyond recovery, so there was no way in hell I was going to start over! LOL. Instead I just cropped it out. I know, my workflow sucks. I need to work on that!
Oh, and THANKS for featuring my image. I’m STOKED!
Entry 3: Robert Mc
1. Dirt on Lens, Filter, or Sensor
2. Cropped Picture to remove Filter Holder (?) on left and right of frame and tighten scene on bottom.
3. Removed flare on filter or lens from the setting (?) sun.
4. Was that Death Valley by any chance.
5. I used Corel PaintShop Pro X4 to process the files
Thanks for the challenge.
Entry 4: Miguel P
Alright, here goes … With all of the texture in the rocks, I had a feeling I wanted to convert this to a black and white. I noticed that the lens hood must have been a little loose and therefore caused the left and right edges to vignette quite a bit. I decided right away that I would crop the image at the end to remove this.
1) I used Nik HDR to combine all six images and then tonemapped. I tried several combinations of exposures but decided that I like the result with all of the images the best. I tried a couple of the built in presets, but decided that I really liked the default with a couple of minor adjustments.
2) The next step was to take the image into photoshop to get rid of all of those sensor dust spots! I’m not surprised that they were present since you shot at f/22. I asked myself why not shoot at f/8 (where you would have gotten the same sharpness with the right focus), but then I saw the sun – the starbust!
3) Since I know that I wanted this to be a Black and White, I decided that it needed a bit more contrast. I was already in photoshop, so I added a curves adjustment layer. I used the black and white eyedropper tools to select the darkest and lightest sections of the image. This added quite a bit of contrast – too much for a color photo, but I know that BW images eat up contrast, so I kept it.
4) I then did a quick desaturation layer (not the best way to do a black and white, but I’m still learning!). The sky looked nice, but the mountains were a bit flat. I tried adding more contrast, but settled on a sharpening layers (which actually brought up the contrast in the midtones, just what it needed!). I added a layer mask so that the sharpening was only applied to the mountains.
5) The last thing I did was dodge and burn. I liked the trail on the left side of the image that led to the sun, so I dodged it a bit on a separate layer. I wanted to add a bit more ‘drama’ so I burned some of the ‘valleys’ on the right side of the image.
6) Last thing I did was crop the image to remove the edge vignetting.
Entry 5: Ann H
I’ve attached my take on your photograph. I used #2,4 and 6 with Photomatix Pro. My settings were Strength 90, Color Sat 75, Luminosity 5.0, Microcontrast 5.5, Low smoothing, Light mode, white point .457, Black point .092, Gamma 1.30. Then I took it to Photoshop and adjusted the levels, did a 30% opacity multiply layer and cropped the right and left edges off. I don’t know what that was, and hope that what you were referring to about the equipment mistake. It looked to me like you were shooting through something and didn’t completely get it out of the way of the shot.
I’m anxious to see everyone elses adjustments, and really like this exercise! Thank you!
Entry 6: Stephen P
Here is my take at your desert (sunset?) scene. I only used the middle 4 images of the 6, because the brightest exposure was unnecessary (the shadows were already all captured in the 5th image) and the darkest exposure didn’t change the result (I tried both ways). It looks like you used a polarizer/UV filter with your 17-40mm lens, and at 17mm the edge of the filter showed up in the frame. It also looks like you need to clean you sensor
- Crop all images to correct for the filter
- Exported the middle 4 images to Photomatix Pro 4.0
- Tone Mapped to my liking.
- Saved this image.
- Tone mapped again!
- Saved this image.
- Brought both images into LR3 and processed, adding contrast, clarity, vibrance, and warmth.
- Cleaned up all the dust in the sky and the lens flare on the mountain.
- Exported 2 images to CS5.
- Blended the sky from the single tone mapped image to the ground in the double tone mapped image using a gradient mask.
- Added a little vignetting.
- Resized and saved.
I hope you like my result. It may be a little extreme, but I think the detail in the mountains in the foreground needed to be shown off.
Entry 7: Duane W
What I did in review:
I only used 3 of the images (3,4 and 5) and processed them in Photomatix first, I had the image processed and by mistake I double processed the image and like what I saw.
Then used Photoshop and did some of my normal post processing. Used Levels adjustments, Cropping, fixed Dust spots. I then used some Gradiant layers to enhance the photo and midtones. Then brought it into Lightroom and did some nosie correction and some other minor adjustments.
For the extra point:
I removed the black lines caught on the sides of the images. What I think caused this issue is a sync issue and it captured the edges of the shutter curtains. You may have had a flash or wireless transmitter on the hotshoe that was turned on by mistake, so it was trying to sync the speed and was off a little.
Thanks for doing this exercise. Have not been able to get out and do any shooting, so this was a good way to get back into my post processing skills.
Entry 8: John Mac
I used files 1-5. I Enfused them in LR3 and saved a TIF. I imported that TIF into LR4 Beta. I cropped the sides and applied these settings:
Sharpening – Narrow Edges (Scenic) preset
“Sky” above sun:
“Foreground” below sun
“Foreground” bottom 1/3
Flow 20 (not full density)
“Lead in Path”
Flow 20 (not full density)
Thanks everyone for submitting their great images for the challenge. You certainly didn’t make it easy for me to pick, nor did I make it easy for you. It’s really hard to edit an image that you weren’t there to see what the scene actually looked like, You could just get a few clues from the setting sun, but other than that, did you know if the sky was blue or hazy white? How dark was it in the crevasse?
Plus the other thing that made this difficult was that it was not well shot at all. It was shot just 5 minutes too late after the better sun light that illuminated some of the badlands was now gone as the sun got too low in the horizon and was blocked to the canyon area below my position. A shot just done a few minutes earlier was a much better shot.
Plus having the sun in the image always makes it harder, do you keep the Star pattern, as Miguel pointed out a result of using f/22, a aperture usually not recommended, or do you blow it out for more of an “As the eyes sees” effect.
So with the little you had to work with, you all did a great job.
OK, for tonight I will answer who got the extra credit question right. Which was” There is a mistake in the image caused by a error in equipment, what was it?”
No one fully got it right but you were all on the right track. Again this is something too difficult for anyone to get. So yes, it was a trick question but you all did know mostly the reason.
Earlier in the Day I was shooting with both my 17-40L and my 24-105L and I was using a Cokin Grad ND Filter. Which made me take off the Lens shade on both lenses. Well later in my rush to get to my spot for the sunset, I grabbed the wrong shade for my 17-40 lens. so the longer shade from the 24-105 is what you see blocking the sides of the image and causing that harsh Vignette.
Well, it’s late and I’m going to make you wait till tomorrow or really later today to tell you the winner and show you my version of the image.
Let me sleep on this and I will tell you later today who won.
Thanks again everyone!
Todays’ Reader HDR Image comes from our buddy Joseph Bowman up in Oregon
Here’s what Joe had to say about his image
Haystack Rock – Cannon Beach, Oregon
6mp Canon EOS Digital Rebel (300D)
Lens: 18-55mm kit lens
- Hey, who says you need thousands of dollars worth of equipment to make an image you love!
Manual, f/22, iso 100, @ 18mm
6 shot HDR @ ss 1/5, 1/10, 1/20, 1/60, .4, & 1 second
HDR Processing & Post Processing
Photoshop Elements 7
Here’s the image: (Click to enlarge)
About the Image:
This shot was taken a little before sunset, at around 5:20 p.m. (my exif data is off as I haven’t reset the camera time). I put my camera on a tripod, set it as close to the ground as it would go, and I placed it at the edge of the small rock and tide pool in order to add some foreground interest. I set my camera to manual, figured out what my base exposure was, then adjusted for my six shots. I wasn’t sure if I needed all six or just three but figured it was better to have them and not need them. Plus, even with the camera set to iso 100, I was concerned about the potential noise that would pop up if Photomatix had to try to pull too much information out of the image. My Digital Rebel is HORRIBLE for noise!
The image was processed in Photomatix Pro and ”cooked to taste.” After Photomatix, I took the image into Photoshop Elements where I cloned out some of the lens flare at camera right and I cloned out the people, which was the most intensive part of the whole process – but overall not too bad thanks to the texture of the rock being so forgiving. I also burned some of the clouds to give the sky more drama, and I adjusted the vibrance and saturation levels to add pop to the sky and rock. The one thing I wish for this image is that I could have gotten a little wider than the 18mm in order to get more of the sun into the image.
Beautiful job Joe. Ahhh Cannon beach , when I lived for a short time in Portland, Cannon Beach was my favorite place to go on the weekends. Never got many good shots since it rained everytime I went. ( rainy Season) but I love the town and certainly love Haystack Rock.
Great job on the image. I love how you included some foreground interest, many would have just had the bare sand in front.
I know what you mean about the lens, 10-20mm lenses on a cropped Canon are the bomb for shots like this. The one suggestion I would make as far as your choice of aperture, I know you went to f/22 for maximum DOF. However you can get some softnesss in images from diffraction after a certain aperture depending on Sensor size. For a crop sensor like the one on Rebel XT you shouldn’t go past f/11 unless you really have to. With f/11 and a subject distance of 5 feet, which the seaweed appears to be. You would still have a DOF from 2.5′ to infinity even at f/11 AND a sharper image. If you had a subject say 1.5 feet, yeah you may have to push it to f/22 for Max DOF.
Good job getting low! And this was a tough image to edit because of the ocean mist. You really pullled it together
Great job Joe on a beautiuful image from one of my favorite places on earth.
Today’s Reader HDR Image comes from Stephen Presutti
(Thanks BTW to everyone that has submitted images this week, very cool!)
Here’s what Stephen has to say about his image:
This image was shot in the Piazza Navano in Rome, Italy. The name of the church escapes me right now, I’m sure It can be found online. (Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone) It was nearing evening, and the sky just looked amazing. One of those time where you get small white clouds with a crisp blue sky behind it. I knew any shot in this plaza that included the sky would look great.
Stephen used the folllowing equipment & processing
f/6.3 ISO 100
3-image handheld bracket by 2 stops
Tone Mapped in Photomatix Pro 4.1
Further post-processing in Lightroom 3 (Clarity, Exposure, Crop to straighten and center)
Here is Stephen beautiful image of Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone in the Piazza Navano in Rome, Italy ( Click for larger view)
Just for reference for the scale in the Piazza, Stephen included this image too
Beautiful Image Stephen. You did a great job on it and your were right to get that great sky in the image. There is just something about the skies and the light in Italy. I’m not sure what it is but it NEEDS to be captured. I was in this exact spot 7 years ago and I can attest to what a wonderful place it is. Of course I had no idea what HDR even was then.
Thanks for sharing such a great image and bringing back memories of a cool place and for sharing with us a sight that not everyone gets to visit…but they should.
To see more of Stephen’s work visit his newly updated website at
The above images are the sole property and copyright of Stepehn Presutti and may not be reproduced without permission, all rights reserved.
Thanks again Stephen. Send more if you get to some other great places!
Today’s Featured Reader HDR Image comes all the way from Slovakia and reader Tagg Leduc.
Here’s what Tagg had to say about his image
Where: Trencin Slovakia
Exposure: 6 shot at 1stop
HDR Software: HDR Efex Pro using Default to start then adjusted sliders to taste
Comment: The location is overlooking the town center during the season of Christmas Markets
Here’s Tagg’s very cool image ( Click image to enlarge)
This is a really wonderful image, again I like the light because you can tell something special is happening on that street and I love that you did it in widescreen format it really helps the image’s feel.
Thanks for sharing that image Tagg and showing us your part of the world. I really like that.
To see more of Tagg’s photography, check out his website http://vintagecustomphoto.com/ He has some really fantastic and a wide variety of images on there. Love the vintage Ford Falcon!
The above image is the sole property and copyright of Tagg LeDuc and may not be reproduced without permission, all rights reserved
Thanks again Tagg
Today’s reader HDR image comes from Dale Smith down in Pensacola Florida
Dale’s Subject was Fort Pickens in Pensacola
For this image Dale used:
Here is Dale’s beautiful image
Well Dale, you didn’t leave me ,much to critique since you did such a great job. See this is what I am talking about, Dale did the first best thing you can do as a photographer – HDR or not- he found great light. Nothing could be more important.
Also look at something very subtle, the light coming in from the right, look at the tone of it, you can tell that it is sunlight and some of that reflected sunlight off the Lime wash on the walls. And then a different warmer light down through the arches. In some of the other images that Dale has on his website, there are some even more dramatic examples of great light. But I think this one is the best overall because of the composition compared to some of the other shots ( Not that they were bad, this was just the best composition).
What I like about the composition is that he has a symmetrical shot down the arches, yet he offset the arches in the frame. He just didn’t line everything up perfectly centered as most would have done. That add more interest to the image.
The processing is spot on and really give you the feel that you are inside those walls and how it would look to your eye. Good range to the tonality of the image.
So like I said, What’s there to critique?
Great job there Dale
To see more of Dale’s work including the rest from Fort Pickens ( And some mighty cool Blue Angels shots) Checkout his website at http://www.dalelansingsmith.smugmug.com/
The above image is the sole property and copyright of Dale Smith, Do not use without permission. All rights reserved.
Thanks Dale for sending in that image.
Today’s reader HDR Image comes from long time reader and friend Ann H.
Here is what Ann had to say about her Image:
“ I took this picture last winter, the truck was parked off the street on the edge of a small Midwestern town. It was a pretty cold day and I had done some other shots and was sort of done, but wanted to get this when we were driving by. I shot it out the window of the car without a tripod because I was done with dealing with it for the day. It was 3 exposures done 2 stops apart with auto bracket. I used Photomatix Pro, then multiplied the layer in Photoshop to get more color saturation.”
Beautiful shot Ann, I can’t tell you how many images I have taken out the car window either just because of conditions or by the end of the day of shooting, I’m just tired but I see that “Just one more shot” opportunity and you will always kick yourself if you don’t take it. And in this case you should be very happy you did. What’s interesting is to see the detail inside the truck through the rear windows, that would have never been possible without HDR.
Here is Ann’s Image “Truck in Snow”
Great job Ann, Love the colors in it and I LOVE old panel trucks
This Photograph is the sole property and copyright of Ann H and may not be reproduced without permission, all rights reserved
See folks, you too can have your image featured here so send them on in!
Feature your HDR image here!
Surely you’re sick of looking at my HDRs. Feature yours right here at the HDR Image.
No critique, Just here to show to the more than 7 people that view The HDR Image from a 12 Mile radius…
Actually we have viewers from 49 states ( For some reason Vermont hates me) and over 100 countries around the world including Botswana!
So send in your Image as I have outlined HERE and get your HDR Image seen. I’ll even link to your Photography website if you have one. Think what that will do for your Google ranking.
Our reader image of the week comes all the way from beautiful Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and reader Felipe Quintella
Felipe’s image is of Ipanema Beach in Rio De Janeiro
- Where was image was shot?
- Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Camera and lens Used
- Canon T3i, Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
- Number of Images and stops apart
- 3 images, 1 stop apart
- HDR Processing Software and any Presets you may have used.
- Photomatix, and I started with your 70/70/1.2 preset and tweaked it from there
- Any post Processing you may have done.
- Some minor levels adjustments
- And any short thing you may want to say about the image
- The day before this one was a clear blue sky and spectacular sunset, but I didn’t have my camera. So I decided to go and try taking a good photo of the sun setting right on the water, which happens only during one week of the year (the rest of the year it sets behind the “Morro Dois Irmãos” (Two Brothers Mountains – literal translation). Unfortunately, even though the day was bright and clear, and dawn these clouds began to appear and I knew I wouldn’t get the shot I wanted… So, I did my best to get it right between the upper and lower clouds.
- Where was image was shot?
First off Felipe, Thanks for sharing your image with us and of such a beautiful place in the world.
This is a very hard shot to carry off. The mountain is what makes it so difficult because it blocks the sunlight onto the city below the mountain. But you picked the right week to shoot it. When the sun sets behind the mountain that makes it even harder to achieve a good image because the sun can set behind the mountain as much as an hour before it actually sets on the horizon. So you wouldn’t have gotten the color in the sky you have here.
I ran into the same problem when shooting a beach in Malibu California that actually faces south rather than west as most of our coast does and there is a large mountain there that blocks the sun at sunset. So I understand the difficulty of the shot here.
You captured the sky and the water very well, no blow out in the sky and it has good color and tone. Honestly, I think you were far better off shooting the day with the clouds. Clouds add so much more interest to an image than just a plain blue sky. But it is hard sometimes when the clouds are close to the horizon line. The best scenario is clouds overhead but none close to the horizon line.
I like your composition, it has good balance. The horizon line could have been a little higher or lower, try not to center them in the image, but you did a good job assuring that the horizon was level. I wish there was somthing to ad a little forground intrest, but the water itself is beautiful and the sun refection bringing us the the backgrond is nice.
What could be done to make the image better
The one thing I would question is your use of 3 images 1 stop apart. I really don’t have a problem with just 3 frames but the 1 stop apart I feel didn’t capture enough dynamic range. I think if you would have shot 2 stops apart you would have had a much wider dynamic range and the area of the buildings below the mountain would have been brought out more. It wouldn’t have been perfect because there isn’t much light on the buildings because of the mountain, but it would have been much better.
Remember any time you have the sun itself in the image the dynamic range is much higher and you may need to shoot at least 3 frames, two stops apart and maybe even a 4th depending how bright the sun is. In this case the sun is not that bright and partially hidden by the clouds. So probably 3 @ 2 would have been fine.
The other thing you need to watch for when the sun is in the frame. Is how you meter. The sun being bright can cause all three of your exposures to be underexposed which could have added more problems too. Not being able to see your three exposures I’m not sure if that happened but it is something to look for as I explained in this article
Processing in Photomatix, You did a good job. The histogram isn’t bunched up at all and you do have good black levels in the image which I think is essential. The image is slightly soft. It’s good but could be a little sharper. You may want to try sharpening the image slightly in Photoshop.
So over all you presented us with a nice image of a beautiful place and like I said this is NOT an easy image to get right. Maybe go back and try a few of the suggestions but I do realize your shooting window is limited.
Thanks for sending in the image and I hope we get to see another image from you soon
This Image copyright Felipe Quintella, Do not use without permission, all rights reserved
Here are a couple of great HDRs from reader Duanne K Willis
The first one is an HDR Panoramic.
Layers of a Sunset (click image to enlarge)
THI: Where was this image shot?
DW: Table Rock Lake
THI: What Camera and Lens did you use?
DW:Nikon D7000 Nikon 18-105 shot at 50mm
DW: 4 shots -4, -2, 0, +2 ( 1/2500, 1/640, 1/160, 1/40)
THI: What Processing did you do?
DW: Photomatix; Lightroom and photoshop elements.Normal workflow for Levels adjustments and then Crop for Pano
THI: Thoughts behind this image?
DW: This was a image I had been thinking about for a while and had attempted it about 6 times over a 1 year time frame, but the conditions were just not right. Usually I had boats in the water, clouds or a heavy haze. Finally this summer we had a string of clear days and nights. This was taken about 15 minutes before the sun went down below the horizon. It was a perfectly clear night. I waited just until the sun did not have that bright white spot. The conditions allowed me to capture the nice vertical layers of the Sunset along with the layers of the hills.
Also from Duane is this HDR Image
WaterPainting (Click image to enlarge)
THI: Where was this image shot?
DW: Alley Mill Springs
THI: What Camera and Lens did you use?
DW:Nikon D7000 Nikon 18-105 shot at 32mm
DW: 3 images -2, 0 , +2 (1/2 sec, 1/8 sec, 2 Sec)
THI: What Processing did you do?
DW: Photomatix; Lightroom and photoshop elements.I used my normal workflow for Levels adjustment. I sometimes will get very saturated Greens and with this image I had just read the Post by Peter talking about using a Black and White layer to help tone down his colors in a night shot. I have been doing this a lot with my images and it really helps
THI: Thoughts behind this image?
DW: This was taken at about 6:30 am. I had really been wanting to add to my portfolio some water shots and was walking along the trail that goes behind the mill. I saw this opening with these great Moss rocks and the light just starting to highlight them on the top. When I shoot water I really want it to look like a paint brush made the strokes. I think sometimes the really silky water, just takes away from the scene. I knew I had no filter on my lens, but that morning there was a nice fog and the Sun had not poped up over the Cliff side, so I new I would get a nice shutter speed. As soon as I looked at the image in my screen I could see the nice brush strokes of the water. That just made the 2 1/2 hour trip worth the drive.
I really like both of these images and what I like is, Duane had an idea in his head and then used his knowledge to achieve that and they both work exactly as he had planned. I like the processing he did, it is of course to my style of doing things. But don’t think I don’t like other styles, Just do them well.
Thanks Dunne for sending in thses images.
Remember I’ll be more than happy to post images or critique reader images.
Please send Duanne some love or suggestion in comments. We all like to know what people think, good or bad because it helps us to get better.