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  #11  
Old 07-04-2009, 04:46 AM
jwmunro jwmunro is offline
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Default Re: I HATE HDR

Pablo -

I don't hate HDR I see it being used a crutch for proper photographic technique. If a scene is that far out of the realm of the sensor that filters and proper exposure is not possible then maybe the scene should not be captured. I admit that I have dual processed some scenes after the fact or at the time of setup captured for dual processing, but HDR, never. I was exposed to it in PS CS or CS2 and found it to be more work than was necessary. Though, it is a technique that has gained a lot of followers in professional circles so I guess it can't be all bad, but I will still work with the limits of my sensor or film and modify with filters and technique.

John
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  #12  
Old 07-04-2009, 08:37 AM
pablominto pablominto is offline
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Default Re: I HATE HDR

Thanks for the input and interesting viewpoints!

The expression I HATE HDR is of course pointed, exaggerated and only an effort to stir some reactions. I don’t waste strong feelings for trivia like this.

And I agree to those who say too much is bad whatever…

Lately I have noticed an HDR-like treatment I suspect comes from some PS plug-in… anyone who has experience with some software named TOPAZ?
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  #13  
Old 07-04-2009, 01:30 PM
oochappan oochappan is offline
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Default Re: I HATE HDR

examples and discussion about TOPAZ-denoise
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  #14  
Old 07-04-2009, 08:00 PM
Pentti Pentti is offline
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Default Re: I HATE HDR

Not all HDR are bad!
I have set up a theme here in TE "Good HDR images". So far I have put there one (1) single photo. So if you have in mind you propose here images suitable for that theme.
Pentti
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  #15  
Old 07-05-2009, 02:04 PM
Asiulus Asiulus is offline
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Default Re: I HATE HDR

Pablo, I assume that you and other people are rather referring not to HDR image, but to pseudo-HDR.

I'm not an expert, so I'll write you some words that I hope are right ;-)I already had a very interesting (and peaceful) discussion with one TE member, regarding HDR, so why stop here?

HDR,which is an abbreviation from "High Dynamic Range" is an image created from 3 or more differently exposured photos that properly combined, may help to create natural effect (what our eyes had really seen)when the scenery is too contrasty for camera's sensor. For example, where our eyes see everything, the camera would only record either details in highlights or in shadows.

HDR may be really natural, if wisely used. See some works of TrekEarth photographers: Lonelywolf (Maciej Duczyński) - they have nothing to do with low-quality pseudo-HDR crap some people are uploading on TE. In the case of some good, natural-looking HDR images you'd not even realise the use of this technique, unless you are aware of the sensor's dynamic range limitations.

Why HDR and not filters? Well, in some cases (for example in the mountains)gradual grey filters may result in bit unnatural results (too dark mountain tops etc.).
How about photographing bulidings from the inside - let's say, churches. Do you have window-shaped filters to correctly expose both windows and the walls?
So, combining multiple exposures (using HDR or DRI) to create realistic looking image shouldn't bother you.
In the times of film cameras people were also using various tricks in developing process to show more. If somebody is using this technique to create unrealistic, but high quality image - this shouldn't bother you either, because good work is a good work and the authot is a professional.

What is making some of us angry(me too), are praises given to pseudo-HDR photos, created with HDR soft from one jpg - which in many cases results in awful, oversaturated, artificial shots of poor image quality(the result of heavy jpg processing).
No invention and knowledge is involved, just letting the soft do the job and present it to delighted audience. If the author is overenthusiastic with "dramatic light" and other settings, and the photograph was not good from the start, the effect is dreadful. It's obvious that there are no details in the shadows(or no shadows at all); the sky is overexposed and there's no way you could call this product a "High Dynamic Range" image.

So... It's not the HDR that's the problem on TE. The problem is uploading pictures for no apparent reason. Pics of poor quality, badly exposed, badly composed, taken without thinking, showing nothing, damaged with heavy PP, without notes(pick your favourite sins). I can accept bad picture, if the note is interesting, if there's a story behind this shot- because from a good note I can learn something abouth the world.

But some shots seem to be uploaded only to not miss the daily limit and to gather points....

That's all.

I hope my ramblings are not too complicated, sorry for such a long post.
Regards
Joanna
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  #16  
Old 07-05-2009, 09:08 PM
stego stego is offline
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Default Re: I HATE HDR

No matter how in general I don't like any kind of over-processing, I wouldn't say that "I hate HDR". I don't like that kind of generalization. The fact that HDR wasn't invented to be an artistic expression doesn't mean that it can't be used as such. After all, Art is supposed to use any kind of technique. You can like the result or not; no matter we can talk about "Aesthetics" and "good taste", "beauty" is much of a matter of personal taste and the only thing we should restrain from doing is considering that our appreciation is superior to others.

As far as I know, there have been much studies about the naturalness of Photography in general is actually much elusive, even if the aim of the photos is documentary or journalism. Maybe one of the key factors on the fascination of Photography is that it has an immediate appearance of reality but at the same time it induces the viewer to use his/her imagination and subjectivity to interpret what he/she sees. The first time I thought about that was when I read <a href='http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_Barthes' target=_blank>Roland Barthes'</a> book "<a href='http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera_Lucida_(book)' target=_blank>Camera Lucida</a>".

You can't pretend to get a really natural representation of reality with a 2D image produced with a machine that has little to do with our eyes other than having the capability of registering light, but does it in a completely different way. I am not talking only about exposure latitude, DOF and angle of vision - our eyes are constantly moving and while we can only focus and see more clearly a small area, we perceive almost 180 degrees.

All this to say that it does do much sense labeling as bad tasted this or that technique that aims at overcoming the technical limitations of the cameras. In this point I disagree with John Munro when he states "If a scene is that far out of the realm of the sensor that filters and proper exposure is not possible then 'maybe' the scene should not be captured." (note that John is one of the photographers that I appreciate the most in TE, not only for his photos, but also for the insightful critiques and advice he gives). The camera and filters are technical tools, just as PP software is, so I really don't see why we have to stick to some tools and avoid others. Furthermore, one of the things that you pay in a superior camera is the software embedded in it and not only the hardware - there is more than one way of producing an image from the electric charges induced in the sensor by the light and every digital camera uses some kind of software to do that, even if the output is raw.

With all this talk, it seems that I am totally pro-HDR. Believe me, I am not. No matter I agree with what Henk Floydian wrote often - "photo is an ilusion", - I find that the appearance of natural, even if elusive, is often fundamental to me to consider a photo as "good".

Like Joanna (Asiulus) pointed, maybe the real problem isn't "real HDR", but the pseudo-HDR produced by some filters. As far as I know, strictly speaking you can't have HDR with JPG's or other common bitmap formats. You can emulate the result of HDR by mixing two or more images of the same subject taken with different exposures, a technique that is perhaps best named "exposure blending". I maybe wrong, but most of what we see in TE and anywhere else labeled as HDR comes originally from only one shot.

I have no problems at all telling that I use "exposure blending" very often, mostly because I find the technique one of the most effective (and often also not so complicated as it seems) to compensate for the limited latitude of the sensor of my camera. In many occasions I also use only one shot and I do the exposure blending with 2 or 3 conversions from raw with different exposure adjustments. I even set up a <a href='/themes.php?thid=11139' target=_blank>theme</a> grouping my posts in which I did that. Actually some of the posts using that technique aren't in that theme, either because the posts are panoramas, which forcibly imply a merger of several shots, or because I used only one shot and the correction introduced is minimal. In the latter are included much posts in which the sky came from a darker raw conversion. I just hope that there aren't much posts of mine that look too unnatural because that isn't my intention.

Finally, about the HDR becoming almost a must for winning a contest: well, my friends, contests are usually much more about popularity than about quality (whatever that may be), so what can we do about that? I don't like most of the songs that are usually on the tops... Maybe the best we can do is trying to find the balance between what's more popular, namely trying to have an open mind and trying to understand the fascination of others for photos we don't like, and be consistent with ourselves, continuing to produce the photos the way we find "best".

My 2 cents...
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  #17  
Old 07-05-2009, 11:02 PM
jwmunro jwmunro is offline
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Default Re: I HATE HDR

Good evening Jose-

You made some very good points. I still stand by my philosophy that if the sensor can not record the scene using good technique and the tools at hand, then maybe the scene should be passed on or at least reconsidered when the conditions are optimal. Like I also said, I do prefer to plan a dual process when the conditions warrant. My experience with HDR drives my opinions dated as they may be. I have not reconsidered HRD since the initial exercise in a Digital Darkroom class in 2004 mainly because of the less than appealing results of the exercise. Maybe I should re-investigate the technique sometime.

Later - John
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  #18  
Old 07-06-2009, 01:17 AM
stego stego is offline
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Default Re: I HATE HDR

Good evening John,

I understand your point about "passing on" a scene. I have the clear notion that if the original shot requires elaborated PP it can hardly be turned in a such great photo. Like any good book on Photography teach us, we should make our best to get the best conditions at the time of shooting and make the best use of them, something that anybody who shoot slides does intuitively.

However, my disorganized, impulsive way of shooting doesn't conform with that "bah... the conditions are bad, I'll do it another time" attitude. It may be because I am in a place that probably I won't be seeing again, at least in the short term, but also because I often find myself not visiting places that are easily accessible for me for years.

For instance, yesterday I went to a place in the coast near Lisbon, where I had never been, although I had it on my list for almost 3 years, since I shot <a href='/viewphotos.php?l=8&p=542547' target=_blank>this post</a> in my earliest times in TE (the place I am talking about are the scarps seen on the left of that photo). Sometimes I have the notion that I already went often to that area, but the fact is that I only did some shooting recently more than a year ago (which resulted in <a href='/members/stego/photos/Europe/Portugal/South/Lisboa/Cabo_da_Roca/' target=_blank>these posts</a>). Nevertheless, that is probably the place most visited by me with the sole purpose of shooting, but between the clearly bad (clouded) weather and the occasions that the weather looks promising near home but it is completely gray and/or foggy there, despite it is less than 40 Km away, it passed more than a year.

Regards,
José
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  #19  
Old 07-07-2009, 09:24 AM
Asiulus Asiulus is offline
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Default Light... and some other matters

There's no possibility of editing, so I'll add something more here.

I think it's about light, too. And time. Let's ask the best landscape photographers how they get their stunning pictures and we'll learn that really much time had to be sacrificed to find the best location, to wait for the perfect light. Sometimes they had to go somewhere several times to get what they want.
If we had possibility (and patience)to wait for good light everytime we want to take the picture, there would be not so much need for PP. So HDR, especially as pseudo-HDR(but also all other sorts of heavy PP), may also be the mean to squeeze out something more from picture shot in inconvenient light. Sometimes (well, especially on the trip with more people) we can't wait for better light (or are too lazy), so it's the choice between having or not having a picture. PP (HDR soft too)may give it a new touch.

But it's up to you to decide whether the picture is good enough to be published in the net, and some TE users seem not to bother with selection. If they read only praises under their shots, they don't learn. If they read a constructive critique and react agressively, they don't learn. New users, seeing many points there start to think that bad photos are good photos and upload similar mediocre shots. Many (old and new)users tend to write copy-insert "critiques". More advanced users grow irritated at that. So it's the same, over and over again...

Is it not?

Oops, I wrote a novel again.
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  #20  
Old 07-07-2009, 09:49 AM
oochappan oochappan is offline
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Default Re: I HATE HDR

Addendum
photography is not about showing the handicaps of your tools, I presume,
when looking straight into a sunset, all surroundings become black for a dig camera, not your eye,
up to you to anticipate this handicap to eye-level, no matter how you do it,
as long it reflects your perception and feeling of that unique moment in a natural acceptable way
it will always include some exageration if you want to reflect the feel of the moment at th same.

PS
sometimes an innatural exageration can be astonishing too, enhancing the subject even more,
these are matter of a personal choice, most important is still what we can convey to the viewer cause in Art there are no rules.
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