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Archive 2012 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?
  
 
HiredGoon
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p.1 #1 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


I found a set of three images from a Canyonlands National Park trip (a tree on the trail heading back from False Kiva), and decide to try my hand at merging the exposures.

I'm looking for an image that has good exposure of the background and foreground, but also has a little 'pop' to stand out. I'm going to show the original image at 0 EV, then a tweaked version of that image to lighten some shadow, then the HDR version of the three images (at -1, 0, and +1 EV).

I should point out that I am HDR n00b, and I'm using the trial version of Nik Software HDR Efex Pro 2. I've never had success with Photomatix or the HDR tool in Photoshop CS6 (with both tools I get excessive noise in lighter areas).

The purpose here is to see if I can process a single exposure well enough, or if HDR may be a better option.

Here's the original image, straight-out-of-camera at 0 EV:







Here's the original image, processed in Adobe Bridge by bumping shadows up to 100 and saturation tweaked a bit for more 'pop':







And here's the HDR image (at -1, 0, and +1 EV):







I don't think any image is a keeper, since the composition is wrong IMHO. I should have moved so that the buttes in the background are to the right rather than in the centre. But I was walking up the hill and stopped to rest, and that is when I noticed the tree and fired off three quick shots before catching up to the family who were way ahead of me.

Personally I like the processed non-HDR image, if not the execution. By removing the shadows on the tree I have lightened the sky too much. I prefer the contrast between the rock and darker sky in the HDR image.

But the HDR image is lacking as well. It looks over-saturated, and there are halos around the top of the tree.

However, this is my first serious attempt at HDR, so maybe I'm doing it wrong and there are some tweaks that can be performed. Or maybe there are tweaks to processing the original image that can produce a better result.

C+C welcome.



Sep 24, 2012 at 11:32 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #2 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


The first is a bit dark, the second too bright. I prefer both to the last. They all look like they need some black point adjustment. I find when lifting shadow by any means, that the black point needs adjusted.

I would work down toward 50 om shadows in ACR. I was just there yesterday (Mesa Arch). It was too cloudy for a show on the arch.



Sep 24, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Mister Bean
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p.1 #3 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


HDR seems unnecessary here.


Sep 24, 2012 at 03:40 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #4 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


Mister Bean wrote:
HDR seems unnecessary here.

+1



Sep 24, 2012 at 03:53 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #5 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


Here is my processing, exactly as I describe on my page. I opened in ACR6 and used +35 exp, 10 contrast, 61 blacks, 20-20-20 on sat clarity and vibrance.

I used the points marked for black and white point and added a gentle S curve.

Edit, the marks do not carry. I used a cloud for white and a dark section in the tree root for Black. Using the black set at 5,5,5 and white at 250,250,250.

I would probably jazz it up withTopaz Pop. I can do that if you want to see the result. But this certainly does not need HDR.







Sep 24, 2012 at 04:10 PM
lylejk
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p.1 #6 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


Here's my vision of a fake HDR (yes; used your original image). Click the image for the hirez result.




Sep 24, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #7 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


HDR does not seem to help. I gave it a quick try.

BTW, the world is too small. I seem to remember that tree and will check my files. I believe I have a similar image.







Sep 24, 2012 at 05:30 PM
newhaven
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p.1 #8 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


Another way is the luminosity mask method. I double processed the image, once for the highlights and once for the shadows, placing the brighter image in a layer above the darker image. The mask is placed on the brighter image layer. The mask was a super dark luminosity mask as described on Tony Kuyper's website. I also blurred the mask.












Sep 24, 2012 at 06:06 PM
 

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AuntiPode
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p.1 #9 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


I'd suggest opening the shadows with shadows/highlights adjustment tinkering and then some selective and general changes:












Sep 24, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Bsmooth
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p.1 #10 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


Newhaven, I'm just starting to get into Luminosity masks, could you go into more detail on how you used it ?
I'm still working on trying to get the selections into my images, sometimes I wind up just adjusting the whole image, even though I have already chosen a selection, and copied and pasted it into a new layer. Could you show a screenshot of what it looks like in the layer area ?
I like the luminosity one the best so far. I also think you could do a very mild HDR, and then adjust your levels afterwards, to get the punch back. Good thread !



Sep 28, 2012 at 04:32 PM
newhaven
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p.1 #11 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


Sure. The background copy is the original, and the ev +1 layer with the mask is a brighter version adjusted for the shadows. I also attached a curves adjustment layer to fine tune the brightness of layer ev +1. The mask, according to Tony Kuper's naming convention, is Shadow Darks. The basic luminosity mask is created with a ctrl-click on the RGB channel. This will load the selection. Then go to Layer> Layer Mask> Reveal Selection to create a mask from the marching ants. The Darks mask is just the inverse of the basic luminosity mask. You probably will want to visit www.tonykuyper.com to find out how to create the other masks. Hope this helps. I also blurred the mask with gaussian blur.







Sep 28, 2012 at 05:46 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #12 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


Took a stab at it.







Sep 28, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Greg Campbell
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p.1 #13 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


HDR? NO!!
PLEASE don't inflict HDR on your poor image!

Given the somewhat flat lightning, I'm not sure that extensive PP is ever going to make this image 'pop.' The HDR attempts look IMO! awful.

A slight crop to eliminate that distracting rock and branch, light curve tweaking and a blue-sky boost gave me this. Maybe more rock massage would help, I quite like Rusty's rocks.

FWIW:



Sep 30, 2012 at 02:26 PM
oldrattler
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p.1 #14 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


I ran it through my normal workflow... LR4; Nik Define; Nik Viveza; Nik Color Efex Pro; CS5; Size & sharpen for web... There was a fair amount of selective adjustments... Just my interpolation... Jim







Oct 01, 2012 at 11:20 PM
HiredGoon
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p.1 #15 · To HDR or not HDR this Canyonlands image?


Thanks for the responses; sorry that I have not been commenting but I've been away camping in the rainforest and now I'm heading to the beach. Hopefully I'll get some more time later to comment on individual shots.


Oct 02, 2012 at 11:12 PM





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