HDR sunset

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Caitlin Compton 2 months ago.

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  • #31950

    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    Hey Everyone!
    I recently saw a picture of a HDR on James’ Instagram that I really liked. I’ve tried taking a HDR before, but it didn’t work. But, after seeing this picture, I was inspired to give it another shot. The other morning there was a beautiful frost which I was out taking photos of, and I saw that the sunset was really nice. So, after taking a disappointing picture of it, I decided that now was the time to try out that HDR. 😉 I know basically nothing about HDRs apart from a few articles I’ve read over the years. So, I probably broke all the rules. 😊 I would like to know what I did wrong. Here’s what I did. I set my camera to bracket 3 photos. I didn’t have my tripod with me, so I was handholding. (I know that’s breaking a HDR rule. Lol!) I didn’t focus a heap on the composition side of things, as I was mainly focusing on trying to hold the camera steady in between each shot. Anyway, for the post processing side of things, I did a photo merge in Lightroom. I had the auto align and auto tone ticked, but no de-ghosting. I’ve always liked HDRs apart from the ones that. . . well… look like HDRs. 😉 Unfortunately, mine sorta turned out like one of them. It looks pretty fake to me! So, I was wondering what everyone else normally does when taking HDRs. Do you take 3 photos and merge them or 5 photos? Is there an ideal number? Do you merge them using Lightroom or Photoshop? would you tick the auto align and auto tone and would you do any de-ghosting? How do you get them to look realistic? Do you recommend editing the photos before you merge them or editing the final image? what are some HDR must-do’s and things you definitely don’t do? Phew! That’s a lot of questions! Basically, I’m just interested in anything about HDRs. 😊 Lol.

    If I’ve left this to late to talk about in the webinar tomorrow, I totally understand. Hopefully one day I’ll learn not to leave it to the last minute! 😊

    Attachments:
    #31958

    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    These are great questions! And you got it in soon enough that I’ll talk about them tonight! https://www.lenspiration.com/photo-critique-with-lenspiration-july-10/

    Frost? In July? Where in the world do you live?! 🙂

    #31966

    Ryan Madaris
    Participant

    Hi Caitlin! I actually really like this! Great job on your first try. I really don’t have much experience with HDR, so I’ll just ‘critique’ the photo itself. One of the first things my eyes were drawn to were the blades of grass in the foreground. You could remove those pretty easily in Lightroom, so I would suggest that. Also, the horizon is ever so slightly off balance.

    In my opinion, I don’t think it looks unrealistic, but if you really don’t like it, you could just slightly reduce the saturation in the photo. Also, great job for not having a tripod!

    #31971

    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    And you got it in soon enough that I’ll talk about them tonight!

    Yay!

    Frost? In July? Where in the world do you live?! 🙂

    What do you mean – who doens’t get frost in July?! Where do you come from. Lol 😉

    #31973

    John M.
    Participant

    Haha, not sure where in the world you live either, but I’ve never had frost in July in Viginia!!!

    #31974

    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    Thanks, Ryan! Yes, those pieces of grass were annoying me, too. I’ll have to remove them. Yeah, reducing the saturation could be a good idea. Thanks!

    @hayhand02 – Lol! I live in Australia! 🙂

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  James Staddon.
    #31975

    John M.
    Participant

    Oh!! lol that makes more sense…funny though I’d always thought of Australia as warmer. At least in my part of the US it NEVER frosts in July 😀

    As far as your picture goes I’m not too experienced in HDR either, but I don’t think it looks “unreal”. One thing I’d do is get down a little lower and capture more of the sky.

    #31980

    Ryan Madaris
    Participant

    Australia is a beautiful place! As @hayhand02 said, we don’t get frost in July either. It’s in the 90’s regularly here in Georgia! 😀

    #31987

    John M.
    Participant

    The reason being that Australia’s winter is June to August, and summer is December through February. So while we’re cooking 90’s over here, they’ve got refreshing mid-temps… 😮

    #31999

    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    @creative-click-photography, I didn’t feel my critique of your picture went very well last night during the webinar and don’t know if it will be included in the replay….so, here are my written answers to your questions!

    I would say the main reason your shot has the feeling of looking “fake” like you mentioned, is because of how dark it is around the sun relative to how light the rest of the sky is. In HDR, is everything to do with relative tonal values….what our eyes are used to seeing vs what is constructed by software. Since our eyes see 100% of every scene 100% realistically (that’s how we gauge “realistic” right?) just one tiny aspect of incorrect tonal balance will throw an entire picture off. Our eyes never lie. Learn what your eyes see (through intentional observation in various light-contrast situations), get to know what is “real” first, really wwell, and then see if you can start pinpointing problems in “fake” HDR images.

    Do you take 3 photos and merge them or 5 photos?

    The key is making sure your brightest shot is exposed properly for detail in the darkest areas, and your darkest shot is exposed properly for detail in the lightest areas. Looing toward the sun at sunrise/sunset, it’s usually going to be a 5 photo bracket. (I usually bracket 2 stops between photos.)

    Is there an ideal number?

    No. I generally don’t do more than 3 or 5.

    Do you merge them using Lightroom or Photoshop?

    Sometimes Lightroom does a good job. You can tell if you do the merge and then zoom in to 100% and scan over the image. You’ll know which areas were not merged well. Photoshop does a better job. Manually merging multiple exposures realistically is called “Photo Blending”. It’s a more complex process which I haven’t learned yet. I am trying to learn from Jimmy McIntyre, https://www.shutterevolve.com/

    Would you tick the auto align and auto tone and would you do any de-ghosting?

    Yes! Do auto align especially if you hand held the shot! Auto tone means after you finish merging the photos, Lightroom will automatically adjust the sliders to edit the photo in the way that it thinks looks nice. Since you have complete control over the sliders, it doesn’t matter. You can reset or adjust each slider however you want. It just depends on where you prefer to start (with 0 auto adjustments, or with the computers auto adjustments applied). And lastly, yes, I apply high de-ghosting, but I don’t know the pros/cons. It’s there to remove ghosting in your final, merged photo if there happened to be any moving object in your scene (like a tree blowing in the wind or a person walking along).

    How do you get them to look realistic?

    Tweak, tweak, tweak! This is a super deep question. Maybe you could start another topic on it?

    Do you recommend editing the photos before you merge them or editing the final image?

    It is not necessary to edit the photos before merging them. I only edit the photos after the merge.

    What are some HDR must-do’s and things you definitely don’t do?

    If at all possible, use a tripod next time. 🙂 The mistake I usually always make is when shooting the bracketed exposures, I don’t get enough detail in the brightest and darkest photos. Realistic HDR takes a whole lot more time, so be prepared for that. It’s a more artistic form of photography so approach it as art and less documentary. Prepare to spend a whole lot more time in post processing on the computer too.

    What not to do? Don’t rush. Don’t expect to get more than one HDR merge per sunset/sunrise. Think it through, do it right, learn from your mistakes, and enjoy the artistic experience.

    Hopefully that will get you started? 🙂

    #32024

    Joshua Ong
    Participant

    Frost? In July? Where in the world do you live?!

    Of course! We all (in Australia) get frost in July and maybe even in August. I’ve enclosed two pictures to prove that we do get frost here during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer months. The photos were taken in front of a house in which I used to live a couple of months ago.

    By the way, I like the shot of your colourful sunset, @creative-click-photography.

    Australia is a beautiful place!

    Just curious, @rmadaris, have you been to Australia before?

    Attachments:
    #32029

    Ryan Madaris
    Participant

    @joshuah_ong, I wish I could say yes, but no… 🙁

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Ryan Madaris.
    #32043

    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    Thanks so much for answering all my questions, @jamesstaddon.

    I didn’t feel my critique of your picture went very well last night during the webinar

    We’ll I didn’t get to watch it live, so I can’t say. 😉

    Hopefully that will get you started? 🙂

    I think so! 😀 I’ll check into the photo blending by Jimmy McIntyre – it’s sounds interesting.

    Don’t expect to get more than one HDR merge per sunset/sunrise.

    I wondering why this would be the case – is it because it takes more time?

    Also, I was wondering what happens when it’s really windy. Obviously the de-ghosting can help with that, but can it remove all the blur? If it’s super windy or there’s a lot of motion from a person etc. does it mean that you can’t do a HDR?

    How do you get your camera to bracket 5 photos at once? Mine does 3 at the moment – is there a setting that I need to change somewhere or do you do it manually?

    Thanks for your help!

    #32045

    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    @hayhand02 – yeah, my composition really wasn’t the best. I was annoyed I didn’t get down lower, too!

    Yep, it’s so weird, @hayhand02 and @rmadaris, to think we’re living in different seasons. We have the wood fires going here and you guys are probably having a swim at the beach. Lol!

    Thanks, @joshua_ong! It looks like you’re getting some cold frosts, too!

    #32046

    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    BTW, @jamesstaddon, no we don’t have chick-fil-a here, but it seems to be a very American thing. I don’t believe we have a cow celebration day either. 😉

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