1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links to get to your favorite stores for holiday shopping!

To HDR or not to HDR (tests with Yosemite Valley pics)

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by josema, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. josema

    josema TalkEmount Regular

    55
    Mar 31, 2013
    Spain
    Jose M. Alonso
    Hi all,
    Still experimenting with bracketed shots and some HDR. I'm only using LR5 and Photomatix and I'm frankly trying not to overdo any of the photos. I'd appreciate your comments on what you think it works best, so I've uploaded a few test images to this Flickr set: Yosemite - Tests - a set on Flickr
    The HDR ones should be easy to identify as they all have an "HDR" tag. Here's an example (El Capitan, at sunrise from Cathedral Beach):


    I think the non-HDR version better reflects what I saw and looks more natural to me while the HDR one has a slightly strange green tone but seems sharper and punchier, I guess due to the micro-contrast on the mountain itself and generally. The RAW files are available at a GDrive folder. You are welcome to play with the them (all are under CC-BY-NC license). I'd appreciate a re-post or link to your results though so I can compare and learn in the process.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther TalkEmount Veteran

    473
    Aug 9, 2011
    In this case, I like the non-HDR version myself - but the HDR version isn't excessively overcooked :eek:
     
  3. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Agreed
     
  4. Mattithjah

    Mattithjah TalkEmount Veteran

    244
    Jan 17, 2013
    Czech Republic
    Matěj
    for me, NON shot looks much better...
     
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Have you tried bringing up the shadows a bit on the non-HDR shot in LR? I think that would work well for this shot.
     
  6. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Hey, I have no work this morning, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Here's my version of your raw file, adjusted in Lightroom to my taste:

    ElCapitan.

    I tried to make it look like what I'd expect to see in the morning there by adjusting the white and black points, boosting contrast and shadows, lowering highlights a bit, and then adjusting the luminosity and saturation in the sky with the HSL selection sliders.

    I'm sure if you asked 100 different people to do this, you'd get 100 totally different interpretations, but...whaddyathink?
     
  7. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Here's my quicky shot at it.

    test1.

    A little lighter in the shadows and a bit more saturated than Dave's effort, but I grew up shooting slides and that's what I'm used to. ;)

    It's a pretty good pic, holds up well to processing. :)
     
  8. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Nice, Jim.
     
  9. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Okay, I'll play...

    My tastes might not be as vibrant as some.

    In addition to the usual exposure/shadow/vibrance tweaks, I applied a graduated filter to darken, clarify and saturate the upper section somewhat. I applied a color profile of my own concoction ("Jeff's Velvia 50 vII") after auditioning various white balance and camera profiles.

    I also took the liberty of cropping a tiny bit and removing that dust spot in the sky. :cool:

    yos.
     
  10. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Ok! Another "what would you do with this pic?" thread! What's the prize for this one? A lens? What? :daz:

    Sorry, sometimes I just can't stifle myself. ;)
     
  11. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    I should have darkened the face as well. Mine looks a bit washed out compared to yours and Dave's.
     
  12. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    +1
     
  13. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Mine's darker because I was still recovering from the bottle of single-malt that I left cooling in the Merced River there. :p
     
  14. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    That might do it. ;)
     
  15. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    This is a fun exercise. I decided I'd see what this would look like in B&W.

    Yosemite2.

    Yosemite1.
     
  16. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Like the B&W with Half Dome!
     
  17. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    I prefer the coloured versions for this one - the B&W version kinda loses much of the (tree) details IMO
     
  18. josema

    josema TalkEmount Regular

    55
    Mar 31, 2013
    Spain
    Jose M. Alonso
    thanks, guys, and LR setting attached

    First and foremost: thanks all who took the time to comment and even play (!) with the files. This is really useful and fun. I should post RAW files more often. Happy to do so of any I may have on my Flickr stream, just ask.

    I have looked at the 3 variations: Woodworks, Bimjo, Jefenator. All are really good.

    I think the one I like the most is Jeff's but... the green in the trees is better rendered in the other two versions, i.e. it was slightly greener there.

    I think mine is probably too contrasty compared to Jeff's and I always have an issue with the blue sky. If you look at the left side, you'll see it's pretty washed out, much more than it really was, while none of the other versions have this problem.

    Let's go one step further as Jeff's explanation reminded me I forgot to post the LR settings, too. They're attached now. I'm afraid my interface is in Spanish, but I'm sure you know the slides well enough to know what's what. In addition to those, I've just found Vignetting was at -11 (probably a leftover)

    LR5_ES-ElCapitan.

    I think the perfect rendering for my taste would be Jeff's with that little more green I mentioned; Jeff, would you mind to post your LR settings, please?
     
  19. josema

    josema TalkEmount Regular

    55
    Mar 31, 2013
    Spain
    Jose M. Alonso
    Oh, and I can tell you how it certainly didn't look like when I was there (from: HDRSpotting - Touched by an Angel):
    [table="width: 1024"]
    [tr]
    [td] 06909233a209cde3c709ff0c9ce48b2356e1a6112ae0d88117bf7da49856979f3aa3e367c5caadb1_123049_lightbox. [/td]
    [/tr]
    [/table]
     
  20. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    My user preset "Jeff Velvia 50 v2" was an attempt to approximate a straight NEX-7 capture to a Fuji Velvia 50 slide I shot of the same scene. It didn't really work but I wound up with a preset that I seem to prefer applying to many of my landscape frames.

    Hue: Orange -28, Green +32
    Saturation: Orange +13, Yellow +23, Green -58, Aqua +19, Blue +25, Purple +23
    Luminance: Red +28, Orange -5, Yellow -16, Green -9, Aqua +31, Blue -10, Purple -13

    Again, this was a failed attempt at mimicking some slide film that has a pretty distinct personality of its own. It rendered the sky nice and deep, rocks a really rich dark orange and shrubbery came out rather dark. This preset somehow jibes with my earthy sensibility (I like earth tones - don't usually go for blatant saturation). I don't have a lot of experience manipulating color photographs and my eyes are a bit deficient in certain colors, so I'm sure there will be room for improvement.

    Hope this helps. Have fun! :)