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View Poll Results: What do you think about HDR photography?

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  • It ROCKS!

    15 32.61%
  • Too trendy

    3 6.52%
  • What is HDR?

    10 21.74%
  • I like some, but not all, HDR shots

    21 45.65%
  • I hate it!

    1 2.17%
  • No comment.

    0 0%
  • I am the HDR god/godess!

    0 0%
  • This thread is my first introduction to HDR.

    9 19.57%
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  1. #1
    .•*º draziW tnioPetiS º*•. bronze trophy
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    Photography 2.0: HDR

    HDR

    Likes? Dislikes? A trend that will come and go? Is it here to stay?

    Hehe. Maybe I am opening a can-o-worms here...

  2. #2
    .•*º draziW tnioPetiS º*•. bronze trophy
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    Btw, if you can not tell already, I am not the greatest poll maker.

    For me, a lot of the "trendiness" I see in HDR is not in the technique itself, but via the places that showcase the final product... Like Flickr -- I am not a fan of Flickr (nothing against it, just not a fan.)

    Anyone still shooting with film?
    Last edited by mhulse; Mar 24, 2007 at 03:25.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    There are places to use it, and places not to. I mean, it's just a technique... if that's your desired artistic effect, go for it.

    I think it can produce some cool results.
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  4. #4
    .•*º draziW tnioPetiS º*•. bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleys View Post
    There are places to use it, and places not to. I mean, it's just a technique... if that's your desired artistic effect, go for it.
    I think it can produce some cool results.
    Makes sense to me. Well said.

    I have tried a couple times to do a little HDR... but the results were not the best. I think I just need to find a setting where an HDR shot is called for... or, er, most useful. Lol -- sorry if I am not making sense here.... need zzZZzzs.

    Thanks for the reply and the vote.

    Cheers,
    Micky

  5. #5
    The Mind's I ® silver trophy Dark Tranquility's Avatar
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    HDRI are techniques that might be very useful sometimes, IMO they are very good for stuff like night tone mapping and motion effect simulations as it somewhat renders the values of luminance and/or radiance! Just like any other technique the high dynamic range imagery has its pros and cons and shouldn't be used anywhere...

  6. #6
    Night Elf silver trophybronze trophy Varelse's Avatar
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    The technique cannot be applied for the sole purpose of using it, it should serve an idea that a designer/photographer has in his mind.
    I've seen so many overdone HDR photos that looked really poor - in such cases the effort that's been put into the photo is simply wasted.
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  7. #7
    .•*º draziW tnioPetiS º*•. bronze trophy
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    Great replies all! Thanks for the input.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Tranquility View Post
    HDRI are techniques that might be very useful sometimes, IMO they are very good for stuff like night tone mapping and motion effect simulations as it somewhat renders the values of luminance and/or radiance!
    Oooh wow, I did not think of using HDRI for that! Night tone mapping sounds interesting. Though, my camera does not do so well at night...

    This is about as good as it gets on a full-moon summer night:



    Looking back on that shot though... Maybe that would have been a good situation for HDRI. It was hard getting a good balance between the moon and everything else -- I do still have the bracketed exposures... maybe I will revisit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Tranquility View Post
    Just like any other technique the high dynamic range imagery has its pros and cons and shouldn't be used anywhere...
    Good point (I assume you mean "everywhere".)

    Quote Originally Posted by Varelse View Post
    The technique cannot be applied for the sole purpose of using it, it should serve an idea that a designer/photographer has in his mind.
    Definitely!

    Hmmm... anyone seen studio shots that use HDRI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Varelse View Post
    I've seen so many overdone HDR photos that looked really poor - in such cases the effort that's been put into the photo is simply wasted.
    Yeah. A lot of overdone HDR on Flickr... but a lot of good shots too... though, I have not spent a lot of time searching-through that site.

    Thanks again all! Good discussion. I like these new forum sections.

    Cheers,
    Micky

  8. #8
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    As all methods, in its proper place a great thing, applied in a poorly chosen environment, not so good. It is a great method, I have seen spectacularly refined images done that way, to me it is almost like what one tries in painting, you cull out and exaggerate, you loose the excess to make it clearer, stylize but keep it realistic. My vote goes to "it ROCKS"
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  9. #9
    .•*º draziW tnioPetiS º*•. bronze trophy
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    Words of wisdom! Thanks for the reply Datura, always a pleasure to hear from you.

  10. #10
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Thanks, I have not talked to you in a while, the pleasure is mine as well. How did you lose the tooth (avatar?), carrying that tripod around?

    This new section for content is great, it gives another side to sitepoint!
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  11. #11
    .•*º draziW tnioPetiS º*•. bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Datura View Post
    Thanks, I have not talked to you in a while, the pleasure is mine as well.
    Yeah, I have been afk for a while... Nursing my carpol tunnel.

    Tis nice to be back though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Datura View Post
    How did you lose the tooth (avatar?), carrying that tripod around?
    Lol! I wish... been a several months since I last shot any pics.

    Need inspiration! Looks like I am finding it now via this forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Datura View Post
    This new section for content is great, it gives another side to sitepoint!
    For sure!

    See you around the forums.
    Cheers,
    Micky

  12. #12
    code ninja hamstu's Avatar
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    HDR can look really cool sometimes. Case in point: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/376850340/

    Surreal

  13. #13
    busy Steelsun's Avatar
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    HDR, in my opinion, is something that has been corrupted and changed so that what the meaning of HDR was, is no longer true.
    HDRs were originally static images (i.e. landscapes) that were a blend of 2 or more images taken at differant exposures.
    Now they are most often a single images that have been tweaked/faked by software and do not truly have a High Dynamic Range, just and altered range.

    Nevertheless, some are great, some are pure drek. Unfortunatly I happen to see more drek now than quality. It largely depends on the artist and intent.
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  14. #14
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    WOW! That is cooooool! Thanks for sharing link.

  15. #15
    Matt Williams revsorg's Avatar
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    I think this is awesome. I just discovered HDR a few days ago and my experiments have been far from awesome. A lot of people say it promotes pointless photo taking.
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  16. #16
    .•*º draziW tnioPetiS º*•. bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelsun View Post
    Now they are most often a single images that have been tweaked/faked by software and do not truly have a High Dynamic Range, just and altered range.
    Interesting... I have not really studied the history of HDRI... Still kinda new to me. My first introduction to HDRI was about a year ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steelsun View Post
    It largely depends on the artist and intent.
    For sure, makes sense to me.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Steelsun. Very interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by revsorg View Post
    I think this is awesome.
    Oooh, that does look nice too. Not over-done. Kinda surreal.

    For some reason your post reminded me of photo journalism... I work at a newspaper for my part-time job (Web Content Editor), and occasionally we get photos from the photogs that are obviously dodged/burned via Photoshop... sometimes a little too obvious (i.e. major halos.) Anyway, when/where is the use of HDR in photo journalism an acceptable practice? Should every HDR shot be labled "Photo Illustration by..."? Or, like dodging/burning, is a small amount of HDRI good and/or legitimate use of documenting something news-worthy? Is HDRI closer to what the eye sees in real life (if not over-done)?

    Quote Originally Posted by revsorg View Post
    I just discovered HDR a few days ago and my experiments have been far from awesome.
    Hehe, I feel the same way about my experiments... though, I have yet to really find a situation where it is called for.

    Quote Originally Posted by revsorg View Post
    A lot of people say it promotes pointless photo taking.


    Good discussion! Thanks all.
    Last edited by mhulse; Mar 27, 2007 at 13:32.

  17. #17
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    Done some HDR shots myself:
    http://www.aguntherphotography.com
    but I generally prefer exposure blending over HDRI since it looks more natural.
    You can easily get carried away with the technique.

  18. #18
    Now available in Orange Tijmen's Avatar
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    I did hear about it a while ago, but never really took the time to have a good look at it.

    I really like some of the photos from the flickr HDR group, although some of them do look a bit unrealistic. Its the same with lots of other techniques, it has its purpose, but when overdone it can make things a lot worse.
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  19. #19
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    Some of them were over used.

  20. #20
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhulse View Post
    I work at a newspaper for my part-time job (Web Content Editor), and occasionally we get photos from the photogs that are obviously dodged/burned via Photoshop... sometimes a little too obvious (i.e. major halos.) Anyway, when/where is the use of HDR in photo journalism an acceptable practice? Should every HDR shot be labled "Photo Illustration by..."? Or, like dodging/burning, is a small amount of HDRI good and/or legitimate use of documenting something news-worthy? Is HDRI closer to what the eye sees in real life (if not over-done)?
    I find it ok for a news paper, it is a form of editorializing, cutting away and making it clearer. It, the photo, can become a much stronger message than it would be without this technique.

    Of course it should not be used within this particular setting to create an illusion, that will become like a tabloid suddenly, a fake. If it is distorting reality strongly, I think there should be a mention of this under the picture.

    I think the image you can get this way is closer to what the trained eye sees, therfore it will bring reality closer to the untrained eye.
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  21. #21
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    HDR is a buzz-word and is usually misused.

    HDR is nothing to do with "post processing" an image in photoshop or using some crazy plugin or software. It has to do with the response curve of the medium ie film or digital sensor. However, people refer to HDR plugins and HDR filters, all all these plugins/filters do is enhance the _local_ contrast of an image that was taken with a flattish response curve - or multiple images with different camera settings. But this local contrast enhancing looks _tacky_ and can look downright ugly when overdone. When it's done well it's, at best, a one-size-fits-most approach to dodging and burning, a technique used in photography for around 150 years. It's not HDR - HDR refers to the tone curve of the sensor used to capture the image (or if multiple images are combined, the 'virtual' curve gained from combining them). Viewing it on a screen or printed will not make it HDR, and using local contrast enhancement on it is not the be all and end all of HDR.

    HDR is also nothing to do with your 3D graphics card. Any game can choose how to represent light any way it wishes on any card. It takes zero extra processing power to represent something with a flatter response curve (ie, more dynamic range). Yet there are 3D cards and drivers that are marketed as being "HDR enabled", which is garbage. They're really just referring to some sort of manipulation of the image to make us _perceive_ bright things as _really bright_ (by drawing halos and fake lens flares around them, and darkening everything else out etc). But it looks tacky at best.
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  22. #22
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmj View Post
    HDR is a buzz-word and is usually misused.
    I understood it to be as several pictures taken with different exposures and combining them into one image, thereby enhancing and sharpening, bringing out a crisper detail. A look of lighting that is almost generic in character, a composite. Is that a wrong assumption on my part?
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  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard cranial-bore's Avatar
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    I'm a bit bypassed by the current use of the term HDR. I was first exposed to it as HDRI where (as datura said) multiple images with different exposures were combined to create an image file that stored light values beyond "pure" white at 255. It was used in 3D rendering to photographically light a scene. As the HDR image had data about the intensity of areas of light (not clamped to the RGB limitations) the renderer could create realistic image based lighting. The definition seems to have shifted to this photographic process, where RGB images are created from multiple exposure sources. The resultant image doesn't really have a high dynamic range, but the process does.
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  24. #24
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Datura View Post
    I understood it to be as several pictures taken with different exposures and combining them into one image, thereby enhancing and sharpening, bringing out a crisper detail. A look of lighting that is almost generic in character, a composite. Is that a wrong assumption on my part?
    ——.——Datura
    Yes.

    HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It refers to a means of capturing or storing image data where the difference between the brightest and darkest parts of the image represent a very large difference between brightnesses in real life. Usually this simply means - a "greater" range than a normal camera is capable of capturing. For instance, in one image, film is only able to capture brightnesses within a certain range (probably 10 stops or less). Digital is the same or even a bit lower. Everything brighter than a few stops past the midpoint is blown out as hot areas/highlights and everything darker is too dark for detail to be visible enough among the film grain or digital noise.

    The camera itself can capture light of a much wider range of brightnesses, but not in the one image.

    So, one method of obtaining an HDR image is to photograph the same scene multiple times using different camera settings - each time capturing a different range of brightnesses in the 'sweet spot' of the camera but overexposing or underexposing other areas. Then, software can be used to merge the images together into one with a high dynamic range. Another method of creating HDR images is to render them from 3D models. Or you could use some crazy photography technology that is yet to be invented (perhaps involving lasers or antimatter).

    However, viewing an HDR image on a screen or printing it on paper doesn't make it HDR. Your screen can only see a short range of the brightnesses and if you compress the dynamic range by flattening contrast then all you get is a contrast-dull image. So the HDR information is useful only when you are doing processing on an image that requires extra detail present in the highlights and shadows.

    If you have a very contrasty scene and you want to make sure everything looks more 'even' you can play with the contrast in specific parts of the photo. This means you use a filter that enhances local contrast (similar to a high pass filter - you can simulate that look using a high pass filter in photoshop and combining the result with the original) or you can do it yourself - "dodging" and "burning" particular areas. That high pass filter/local contrast enhancement effect is what some people believe HDR is. It isn't. It's just a tacky, one-size-fits-most approach to bringing out more highlight and shadow detail in any image, and can be used regardless of whether your image was HDR or not.

    To clarify, HDR does not refer to sharpness or crispness. It also does not refer to detail, apart from the ability to rescue detail from very dark (shadow) areas of an image by brightening them or in some cases the highlights by darkening them.

    This means, shadow areas can be lightened without making the film grain or digital noise more obvioius, and highlight areas can be darkened without exposing the fact that detail had been lost in 'hot' areas.

    This is a reasonably good example of what HDR can assist, if it indeed did use an HDR technique. It's possible that the church was just well lit to begin with and so it didn't need much manipulation. The photographer has played around with contrast in order to boost the detail in really dark areas without blowing out the highlights. To do this he may have required pretty good detail in the shadows already, which could have been obtained from an HDR image. Remember: we don't SEE the HDR. We see whatever effect the photographer used in photoshop. But the HDR may have helped to make sure that effect had plenty of shadow/highlight detail to play with.
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  25. #25
    SitePoint Enthusiast bochgoch's Avatar
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    HDR was new to me before this thread, but some really lovely pictures in the thread and links are making me a fan.


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