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interesting comparison of bad pictures,photo lesson
Old 09-25-2009, 03:53 AM   #1
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interesting comparison of bad pictures,photo lesson

what i did is take a rather mundane shot of a scene on a day where it was just impossible to take a picture without either over exposing the skys or crushing the darker areas. the light was just as horrible as could be.
picture 1 was shot with a d80 at zero compensation and is the best overall shot i could get.
i then took 2 more shots at +2 and -2 exposures, brought them into photomatix and fused all 3 together. got kind of a super exposure, no enhancements or light inversions done.
that is photo 2
photo 3 is 3 exposures put together and enhanced using light inversions and is a full hdr pushed a little in the inversions area...
overall picture 2 is probley the nicest of the 3 being very natural and very extended but not as showy, un-natural and flashy as the enhanced hdr in 3.
i picked these pictures because normally i would delete these shots but i used them as examples of what you can do with bad exposures and shots


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Old 09-25-2009, 08:19 AM   #2
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Wow. You need to teach a course. I like taking pictures but I am not technically proficient - I end up randomly tweaking them a bit in Photoshop (cheap copy from my college kid) with levels, curves and shadow/highlights until I get something I like. Do you know whether Photoshop can do the sort of multiple exposure merges that Photomatix achieves?
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:59 AM   #3
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It can but since im not a photoshop user i have no idea how ...
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Old 09-25-2009, 10:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Wow. You need to teach a course. I like taking pictures but I am not technically proficient - I end up randomly tweaking them a bit in Photoshop (cheap copy from my college kid) with levels, curves and shadow/highlights until I get something I like. Do you know whether Photoshop can do the sort of multiple exposure merges that Photomatix achieves?
Yes, certainly. You can use layers and create a mask to merge two exposures - pick the sky out of one for example. Various selection tools can make the mask creation quick, but it can also be tedious - depends on the subject.

I've done this often enough.

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Old 09-25-2009, 10:46 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mathjak107 View Post
what i did is take a rather mundane shot of a scene on a day where it was just impossible to take a picture without either over exposing the skys or crushing the darker areas. the light was just as horrible as could be.
picture 1 was shot with a d80 at zero compensation and is the best overall shot i could get.
i then took 2 more shots at +2 and -2 exposures, brought them into photomatix and fused all 3 together. got kind of a super exposure, no enhancements or light inversions done.
that is photo 2
photo 3 is 3 exposures put together and enhanced using light inversions and is a full hdr pushed a little in the inversions area...
overall picture 2 is probley the nicest of the 3 being very natural and very extended but not as showy, un-natural and flashy as the enhanced hdr in 3.
i picked these pictures because normally i would delete these shots but i used them as examples of what you can do with bad exposures and shots
You do so many of these, do you have a macro set up to batch process them? I was surprised to here that you don't use photoshop. I know nothing about photomatix. Can you tell us something about it? Don't you have registration problems caused by taking multiple shots? Do you always use a tripod? Digital seems to have a much greater exposure latitude than film (one reason i love it) and I always just assume that you created the exposure bracketing while converting from raw.

Sorry to ask such technical questions, and if you don't want to give away your secrests we will understand.

Thanks
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:11 AM   #6
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Yes, certainly. You can use layers and create a mask to merge two exposures - pick the sky out of one for example. Various selection tools can make the mask creation quick, but it can also be tedious - depends on the subject.

I've done this often enough.

Audrey
Aha. I did that once to create a special effect. But it was two photos of the same hing from a different time. I will have to try it with multiple exposures. Sounds like a tripod would be helpful.
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:36 AM   #7
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Tripod is mandatory.... the software will try smooshing the edges to align if you dont and it looks bad, as well as things in the background are slightly misaligned
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Old 09-25-2009, 02:53 PM   #8
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Aha. I did that once to create a special effect. But it was two photos of the same hing from a different time. I will have to try it with multiple exposures. Sounds like a tripod would be helpful.
Yes, it's trickier to merge without a tripod, although Photoshop CS3 does have some pretty good layer alignment capabilities.

If I need to do some minor exposure fixes, I use shadow/highlight. That's a very powerful tool with fine controls.

I have also had some luck with multiplying the sky with itself - you get those dark dramatic skies. You have to turn the opacity way down for it to look natural.

If the exposure issues are more major, I create two exposures in Camera Raw. Of course, you have to have taken your photos in Camera Raw mode for this to be an option. Then I bring two different exposure versions into photoshop and layer them to get a wider dynamic range. Since they are from the same actual shot, no problems with overlaying.

Finally, in some obvious difficult situations I have taken multiple exposures - but always on a tripod.

BTW - I'm going to get that Photomatix software. I have some images that might look really cool with the HDR effects. It looks like something that belongs in my arsenal.

Audrey
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Old 09-25-2009, 05:52 PM   #9
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You do so many of these, do you have a macro set up to batch process them? I was surprised to here that you don't use photoshop. I know nothing about photomatix. Can you tell us something about it? Don't you have registration problems caused by taking multiple shots? Do you always use a tripod? Digital seems to have a much greater exposure latitude than film (one reason i love it) and I always just assume that you created the exposure bracketing while converting from raw.

Sorry to ask such technical questions, and if you don't want to give away your secrests we will understand.

Thanks
oh for sure we batch them, i use nikon capture nx to batch all the raw and convert them to 16 bit tiffs so photomatix can use them. i then apply some middle of the road settings that seem to work well with about 80% of our shots..i then batch them in photomatix... we go out for a while , come back an hour later and they are ready for review.

we run thru them and decide what to keep. we open the keepers in capture nx2 and just add individualy levels and curves and perhaps where needed a tiny amount of high pass sharpening. i rarely use un-sharp mask on them...


most film has much greater dynamic range then a dslr... not by much though. the digital sensors are still easily overloaded and even a slightly overcast day will give you white or turqoise skys.

i always use a tripod when bracketing as while the software does a decent job aligning the subject the backgrounds are never realy clear handheld... heres a hdr sample that was done on a tripod. notice the background clarity.

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Old 09-25-2009, 05:59 PM   #10
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Just a really dumb question-how did you learn to use these programs? I love photography but I've never learned much about manipulating the images.
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:02 PM   #11
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Ok...somebody really has some talent at this photo-taking thing I think. Wow...is all I can say. Wish I knew you well as I'd beg for a couple copies of some of your stuff.
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:19 PM   #12
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Just a really dumb question-how did you learn to use these programs? I love photography but I've never learned much about manipulating the images.

trial and error is how marilyn and i learned, and we are still learning.

we are probley the only 2 serious photographers who dont use photoshop. in fact im still trying to figure out elements and how to do layers.
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:59 PM   #13
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Thanks, I really admire your work. Even more so knowing you learned this stuff by trial and erroe. Kudos to you and our wife!
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Old 09-25-2009, 07:01 PM   #14
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Oops-your wife, not our wife!
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Old 09-26-2009, 04:42 AM   #15
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ha ha ha i was going to forward you our bills....
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:12 AM   #16
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we are probley the only 2 serious photographers who dont use photoshop. in fact im still trying to figure out elements and how to do layers.
What the heck, you are FIREd (or working on it), so you can hardly afford Photoshop. If you want all those weird tools you can download the open source GIMP for free and try that.

Edit: I forgot to add, even if you don't use the GIMP, there is a great book called Grokking the GIMP (available free online complete with photos/illustrations) that provides a tremendous introduction to layers, masking, levels, curves, etc. Definitely worth a look even for Photoshop or Paint.net users. My problem is I read this stuff and use it once or twice but don't have the patience to use it often enough to really internalize it. You sound like you have the interest and patience to deal with this stuff.
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:05 AM   #17
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we have two goals when we finally retire in 15 months , 4 weeks 8 hours 31 minutes...

we will start a little real estate photography business in the pocono mountains of pa where we will be home based , and 2nd to learn photoshop... its really a must as there are so many things we want to do and cant...
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:28 AM   #18
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A few years back I spent many days learning about contrast masking. Put that phrase into search engine, and explore the many topics. For instance, this link is a great tutorial.

Many of the Photoshop techniques can be done with Photoshop Elements, which is about $100. For beginners, PE is much better.
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Old 09-27-2009, 10:20 AM   #19
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heres another comparison, i chose to use this photo not because its a good composition, which its not but because it had so many different parts to it where differences can be seen. pay particular attention to the trees on the left and the sky
photo 1 is the unedited raw straight of of camera, boring, dark shadows not visible , this was the best exposure out of 5 i could get . if i wasnt using hdr this would be my basic picture before playing around trying to make it all purdy, however that shadow information in the trees on left are gone .
photo 2 is one exposure only enhanced in photomatix
photo 3 is 5 pictures merged , a little level and curves and sharpening
photo 4 is full blown 5 pictures in hdr using detail enhancer mode
i think has the most natural potential if you spend time editing it further, 4 is flashy and showy but isnt natural at all.




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Old 09-29-2009, 06:58 PM   #20
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Ran across this site flak-ing a new small HD video camera - some pretty amazing jumping from cliffs and motor racing and surfing videos:
GoPro HD HEROŽ: Pre-Production Test Footage
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