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Thread: Extremely amateur photography

  1. #136
    Feeding LouCipherr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    OK! While on holiday I took a few HDR shots so now need an application to join the three exposures togethor? Anyone able to recommend a simple (free) one?
    Hmmm, a 'free' HDR merge program? I haven't tried any free versions, but I found this that might be of some help, Neil:

    http://www.techsupportalert.com/best...r-software.htm

    It lists quite a few different free HDR programs and a small review/overview of each.

    Myself, I use Photomatix - which runs $99 USD. It's a tad pricey, but it's also the best of the best out there.

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    ^^ Ta! "Picturenaut" looks interesting!


    BTW there used to be Photomatix Light for just 28? But think it's gone now - http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/softw...otomatix-light
    Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. [click for more]
    -Carl Sagan

  3. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    ^^ Ta! "Picturenaut" looks interesting!


    BTW there used to be Photomatix Light for just 28? But think it's gone now - http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/softw...otomatix-light

    Here's a list of all their software available:

    http://www.hdrsoft.com/download.html


    I noticed they do have a "Photomatix Essentials" for $39USD (not sure how that breaks down into 's). It doesn't have "all" the features the full suite has, but you might not use all of those features, either. Also note that every version of their software has a "free trial" for you to test the waters, so-to-speak.

    Here's how the different versions compare to each other: http://www.hdrsoft.com/order/features_compare.html

    It looks like the Photomatix Essentials will do HDR tonemapping (which is all I do to my photos with Photomatix - the rest of the work, if any is needed, is done in photoshop), it just doesn't have all the other bells & whistles, like Lightroom importing and all that. It's a much cheaper option than the Pro version.
    Last edited by LouCipherr; 15-Apr-2013 at 04:57 PM.

  4. #139
    Webmaster Neil's Avatar
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    Is there any rule of thumb as to the range of the bracketing used?
    Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. [click for more]
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    Is there any rule of thumb as to the range of the bracketing used?

    Sort of, yes. I will normally do a test shot with 3 bracketed photos of whatever my subject happens to be. I take the photos at -2, 0, +2 exposure values to start. The only time I will change this is if the lower exposure has zero detail in it (ie: it's a totally black photo) or the higher exposure is so high everything is blown out (ie: everything is white/yellow and you can't see anything in the photo). You need some details from each exposure, otherwise it won't help or do you any good while combining to do an HDR. If -2, 0, and 2 leave you with under/overexposed pics, try backing off to -1, 0, +1

    Since my camera can only take 3 'bracketed' photos at a time, I almost always use -2, 0, +2 (two steps below normal exposure, normal, and two steps above normal).

    That being said, the more bracketed photos you take, the more detail you'll have to work with.

    If your camera is capable of doing, says, 5-7 photos at different exposure rates (ie: let's say you have 7 photos at -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3) you'd have a LOT more detail to work with, and your HDR will be more versatile when you're tonemapping. The more information (pictures) you give Photomatix or any other HDR program, the more it has to work with and the more detail you can bring into or take out of when tonemapping, but I would still throw out any totally blown out photos (all white/yellow with zero detail) and any severely under-exposed pics (all black, zero details at all).

    Does that help?

  6. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by LouCipherr View Post
    Sort of, yes. I will normally do a test shot with 3 bracketed photos of whatever my subject happens to be. I take the photos at -2, 0, +2 exposure values to start. The only time I will change this is if the lower exposure has zero detail in it (ie: it's a totally black photo) or the higher exposure is so high everything is blown out (ie: everything is white/yellow and you can't see anything in the photo). You need some details from each exposure, otherwise it won't help or do you any good while combining to do an HDR. If -2, 0, and 2 leave you with under/overexposed pics, try backing off to -1, 0, +1

    Since my camera can only take 3 'bracketed' photos at a time, I almost always use -2, 0, +2 (two steps below normal exposure, normal, and two steps above normal).
    That's good! Sounds about what I sort of muddled towards then by playing around

    My D90 will only do 3 shots as standard too!
    Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. [click for more]
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    My D90 will only do 3 shots as standard too!
    Yeah, my Pentax is the same. I kinda wish it would do 5 or even 7 bracketed exposures, just so I could get a bit more 'information' into the final HDR, but three is certainly sufficient, as you've seen with some of my photos. Hell, with some HDR programs, Photomatix included, you can create an HDR from a single photo. It doesn't work as good as multiple exposures, but it does allow you to play around a bit and enhance that single photo.

    Show off some of your HDR's when you start messing with it, Neil. I'm interested to see the results. Most people (me included) tend to go a bit crazy when we first start messing with HDR. It's easy to get carried away and make things a bit 'cartoonish' - you can even see some way-oversaturated colors is some of my pics in this thread, but keep messing with it. It's a difficult balance to strike sometimes, but worth it in the end.

  8. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    That's good! Sounds about what I sort of muddled towards then by playing around

    My D90 will only do 3 shots as standard too!
    Yeah, Lou is right. Best thing to do is take a few test shots and get a feel for it. What you are looking for ideally is for the fastest exposure to have the brightest parts of the image perfectly exposed (e.g. blue, clear sky), and the slowest exposure to have the darkest areas of the scene properly exposed with plenty of clear detail in the shadows. You don't want to overdo either one too much, if the whole scene is white or the highlights are underexposed and dark (or vice versa), move the exposures closer together in terms of speed.

  9. #144
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    Ok Neil, where's those HDR's?


    Here's a few pics I dug up. Nothing special, but I figured I'd share as I haven't had time recently to take any new ones..

    This is a photograph of the underside of the Natural Bridge in Virginia. I think I might've posted some pics of it earlier in this thread, but here is a shot standing directly underneath of it, looking straight up...





    This is a panoramic of a lake in Greenbriar State Park in Maryland. I created this by taking 5 separate photos and stitching them together with Photoshop. The original file size is MASSIVE, so I've shrunk it waaaaay down for easier consumption here...



    No HDR tweaking on the panoramic, even though it could probably use a bit.

  10. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by LouCipherr View Post
    Ok Neil, where's those HDR's?
    Oh, I literally just took some photos of any old thing just to get three exposures. Nothing worth showing. I also made the mistake of leaving the camera in JPG storage mode!
    Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. [click for more]
    -Carl Sagan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    Oh, I literally just took some photos of any old thing just to get three exposures. Nothing worth showing. I also made the mistake of leaving the camera in JPG storage mode!


    I wouldn't worry too much about shooting in JPG. Yes, RAW gives you more information to work with, but JPG's can and will come out just fine for HDR work. Several of the HDR pics I've posted were shot in JPG mode.


    A tip when doing HDR's - sometimes (but not always, it's always situation dependant), shooting a pic or a scene with lots of color will really make your HDR's "pop". If you look back in this thread to some of the pics I took in Atlantic City, the colors are just off the chart! There was so many, the enhancement by HDR really makes them stick out more so than usual. I always try and get a lot of color in my HDR pics - you just have to be careful that when you do the HDR, you don't way over-saturate the colors or it will look more like a comic book than a photo.

    That being said, you can even HDR B&W photos too (HDR will enhance the details of shadows & light), but I've found the more color, the more pleasing to my eye, personally.

    B

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    If you use a tripod, you can take multiple groups of bracketed photos and use them all to create an HDR. Same goes with shooting while tethered to a computer. If your camera allows you to create presets, you can use bracket presets to easily switch between exposure bracket settings and get as many groups of 3 exposures as you want.
    I'm not familiar with the different applications like Photomatix. I don't know if it somehow depends on bracket groups in serial or anything. But years back when lower end cameras didn't support bracketing, people took all the exposures used to merge into HDR in single exposures and combined them. Photoshop has no limits as to the grouping of bracketed shots or amount of exposures you can combine to make an HDR. Creating an HDR in photoshop isn't as automated as other apps, but you have alot more control over the entire process.

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    Quote Originally Posted by babomb View Post
    ...years back when lower end cameras didn't support bracketing, people took all the exposures used to merge into HDR in single exposures and combined them.
    Yes, this is another way to do it if your camera doesn't support bracketing w/multiple exposures. I think most dSLR's nowadays do support this, but if it doesn't, this is the way to get it done. It takes a lot more patience, mind you.


    Quote Originally Posted by babomb View Post
    Photoshop has no limits as to the grouping of bracketed shots or amount of exposures you can combine to make an HDR. Creating an HDR in photoshop isn't as automated as other apps, but you have alot more control over the entire process.

    Very true. I think most HDR programs are the same way (I know Photomatix can) - you could load 200 photos into it if you wanted to, although I'm sure that'd take a hell of a lot of time to process! But yes, Photoshop gives a ton more control over other programs.. it would just be nice if learning photoshop wasn't as difficult as learning how to build a nuclear bomb with a rubber band, paper clip and a pencil (where's MacGuyver when we need him?! ).

    If Photoshop had a bit more automation when it comes to HDR, I would probably use it. Actually, I will use Photoshop to "touch up" some of my HDR's when I finished with them. Many times, when I'm done with doing the HDR work in Photomatix, I will take that finished HDR and drop it into Photoshop. Then I will add a layer underneath the HDR with one of the multiple exposures I used earlier in Photomatix and will use the HDR photo as a 'mask' as to allow pulling in some of the non-HDR image into the HDR photo, if that makes sense. I do this because sometimes HDR'ing an image will 'blur' some of the image and I want to 'clean' it up a bit, or, there's something I really want to pull in from one of the bracketed photos into the final photo.

    So many options! *brain on verge of exploding*

    The problem I have with Photoshop is that it has SO many options it's hard for me to remember how to do the stuff I want to do in it everytime I load up the program. Sometimes I have to dig up a tutorial because I just can't remember how I did something 2 weeks ago in the stupid thing! I guess if I used it a lot more I would remember! lol

  14. #149
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    Ok, a few additions to the collection.

    This pic is extremely plain and really nothing to look at, but it was an exercise in depth of field (very narrow DOF) with a new 35mm prime lense, set "staging" and more HDR practice:



    This is pretty self-explanatory (taken in South Carolina):



    Here's another photo taken in South Carolina a month or so ago. Just got around to messing with it in Photomatix. Did I over-do the HDR? You decide...

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    So with that first one, hand held? Or was the camera sitting on something?

    With the last one, what's the 'ink blot' in the water to the far left?


    Regarding HDR, I noticed on an IPhone yesterday an option to do HDR photos (automatically)!
    Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. [click for more]
    -Carl Sagan

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