Monday, January 19, 2009

High Dynamic Range without HDR

I'm working on a blog entry that I'll probably post sometime next week regarding achieving high dynamic range without having to do HDR. Most of the HDR images I've seen at various websites really suffer from some major issues like softness, color distortion, haloing, and that typical muddy HDR look. I've seen images created from up to 9 exposures. Why? I don't know when most of these images can be nailed with just one exposure.... perhaps 2 if the contrast is really vast. Getting the exposure right in camera is the most important thing in addition to the right RAW adjustments and fine tweaking in post processing can really do a lot to extend the dynamic range and produce a very natural looking scene. If it does take more than one exposure, Manual Exposure Blending is the superior method to use......if realism is the goal.


Made with a Canon 1Ds Mark III 17-40mm L (ISO50, f/22, 3.2 seconds) One exposure!


Harold said...

Beautiful shot!

Did you any type of filter?

Will King said...

Thanks Harold

Will King said...

Yes, I used a neutral density filter to be able to slow down the shutter to get the milky water effect.

David Le Cardinal said...

really nice shot! good work!

Will King said...

Danke schoen David.

Anonymous said...

Great work Will. Can't wait to read the follow up to this article.

(aka "Deuce" from HRT)

Jinxt said...

By expanding your dynamic range past what can normally be captured with a single exposure you are "technically" creating an HDR image (regardless of the processing technique used to achieve it). HDR images existed long before the invention of computers and digital cameras.

It's tone mapping that you want nothing to do with.

Will King Photography said...

Joey, so you read the wikipedia article too? The term HDR has morphed into many different meanings these days. The most popular being taking a bunch of exposures and throwing them into Photomatix and letting it do its thing. HDR is a great concept and you're right. It is technically creating one image that is comprised of several exposures to achieve a greater dynamic range that couldn’t be achieved with just one exposure. It's unfortunate that the term now is primarily associated with overly processed, out of this world, cartoonish images. HDR or tone mapping is no different from any other tool or technique though. The results will vary depending on how the tool/technique is used.

Jinxt said...

Really? You're insecure enough to throw out wikipedia as a "that guy obviously has no clue" term?

Back in the 90's in Photo 102, one of our assignments was create an HDR print. We had to merge at least 2 different exposures of the same scene in the enlarger. It was called HDR even then, before the advent of Photomatix and Topaz. And all we were doing was exposing for the sky, exposing for the rest of the scene and the carefully exposing different parts of those negatives to the paper for development.

You have the right to use important sounding euphemisms such as "Manual Exposure Blending" and, yes, it does put up a flag stating "I do not use automatic software to create my images and I consider myself to have much higher standards than the droves of others who are ok with cartoony overprocessed images" but the way you harp on against HDR really highlights an over-protective, insecure ego.

Your work is beautiful regardless of what you choose to call it. That can't be taken away by admitting that your process is, in fact, HDR.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Will King Photography said...

Hmmm, not sure how insecurity fits into this???

The blog article might be a bit misleading. I like high dynamic range photos but what I don't like are some of the issues that HDR images suffer from. I use the term "manual exposure blending" because most people associate HDR with loading a bunch of exposures into a software program and letting it do it's thing.

I don't think "Manual Exposure Blending" sounds anymore important than "Tone Mapping" There is a big difference in the two though and many people do not realize that HDR can be achieved without using special HDR software.