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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Reference Subject

Above is a subject I photograph almost every week so it seemed like a good reference subject for me to try out a new photo-processing technique. For those of you who don't recognize it, the above is an example of an HDR or High Dynamic Range image. The above is actually faux HDR since it is extracted from one RAW image rather than several images. However the effect is the very nearly the same. Below is the same image as it came from the camera without the HDR processing. Click on these to look at the large versions for comparison.

9 comments:

Michaela said...

I like the top one the best, but both are fantastic!

Michaela

Snapper said...

The HDR looks fake (read: unnatural)to me, especially when enlarged. I much prefer the second, "normal" image. Is HDR the new latest best thing?

Thanks again for your well-articulated thoughts over at GDP. Cheers!

Benjamin Madison said...

Michaela, thanks for your kind comments - I agree about liking the top one best.

USelaine said...

Hmmm. I confess, I'm with Snapper. I could tell instantly, even at thumbnail on the portal, that the first one was "processed". I understand the interest in seeing the cloud detail, but you end up with a gray halo effect on everything else that doesn't improve on the original, in my view.

Benjamin Madison said...

Elaine and Snapper, thanks for your comments - my feelings too when I first saw some HDR. But I think it has great potential. As for being the latest/best new thing - the basic idea has been around for a long time under the formula (for BW photography) "overexpose and underdevelop" to bring out details in the shadows. What's lacking here is my ability to fine-tune the result so as to minimize the side-effects.

Benjamin Madison said...

Here's a link to some interesting HDR info and examples.

Snapper said...

I did the "overexpose underdevelop" thing for 20 years with 35mm Tri-X so I can wrap my brain around that conceptually. And I looked at the link you posted. I have to admit: That kind of techtalk makes my head hurt. The sunset photos they used as examples, well one was badly underexposed and one was badly overexposed and HDR was used to make a usable image from the two and it looked great. But the thing is, just about anyone could've gotten a good exposure of that scene with a little experimental bracketing, even with a point and shoot, no HDR necessary. Or am I missing the big picture (pun intended)?

Benjamin Madison said...

Snapper, my feeling is that HDR can be a useful tool for certain difficult lighting situations. Also that it can be used to produce some interesting (albeit unnatural) effects. I don't expect it to revolutionize photography. However, working with it has made me look a little more closely at what a photograph is and what I expect from a photo, in a similar way to your experiments with color. Now infra-red photography looks interesting too...hmmm...heh heh

Knoxville Girl said...

You should check out St Louis DP - he's been experimenting with HDR, both color and b&w.
I think it looks like one of those postcards from the 40s - colors seem exaggerated, but somehow flat.