Animal HDR (First attempt at manually bracketting in CS5..)

Discussion in 'HDR Discussions' started by ivomitcats, May 23, 2010.

  1. ivomitcats

    ivomitcats TPF Noob!

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    I wish my D40 had bracketting. Oh well. These are my first two attempts at HDR. The second one, I know looks a little overdone, and the first doesn't look HDR at all, but I tried.

    [​IMG]

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  2. Bynx

    Bynx TPF Noob!

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    The point of going HDR is to get yourself a good picture to look at. These both are good pictures. Neither is over the top and dont look like HDR at all. Both have a lot of good crisp sharp detail as in the fur and tree texture in the first shot and the grass and subtle color changes of the horse in your second shot.
     
  3. loki05

    loki05 TPF Noob!

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    couldn't tell it was HDR on either shots. I think w/HDR you want the photos to pop. w/the vignette on the 2nd, it doesn't work well. keep it up, i'd like to see more of your HDRs in the future.
     
  4. ivomitcats

    ivomitcats TPF Noob!

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    They are actually HDR. The evenly exposed version of both shots was actually very boring and plain. The HDR made the colors jump 100 fold. Thanks for the comments guys
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Before I crit or anything I am very curious as to how you went about getting these two shots as you say they are both true HDR images. I am asking because whilst I can guess how they were made I would like to hear the actual method (and this is in no way saying that they are poor shots - far from it).
     
  6. ivomitcats

    ivomitcats TPF Noob!

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    Manually bracketting several shots with different exposures on CS5.
    I couldn't actually take several shots with different exposures because of the particular content (They wouldn't have held still long enough :grumpy: and I was shooting handheld, and that elk was scaring me a little)

    So I shot in RAW and edited the exposures of each image several times, then bracketted them. I think I used three exposures on the elk and 7 on the horse.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ahh thanks for the clarification on the method you used :)
    First up you don't have any HDR shots here, what you do have is tonemapped images. The full differences can get more complicated, but essentialy a tonemapped is what you get from a single shot whilst an HDR (a true HDR) will come from a series of separate shots which (when added together) ensure that no area of the shot has been under/over exposed (thus showing the full tonal range present whilst retaining detail in each area).
    Let me also clarify that there is nothing wrong with tonemapping and for wildlife its often the only method we have to pull a little bit more detail from a single RAW image when we are unable to expose a scene perfectly because of the great differences in the lighting present.

    Secondly you haven't failed - infact your first shot is what I would consider a great use of the tonemapped method (or even HDR if you had got to it from several frames - more on that later). The high contrast and high saturation HDR images that are popular/commonly seen (and often look more cartoon than photo) is simply a style choice and you certainly don't have to get that effect to have a good HRD shot.

    Now onto the photos:

    1) f16 is the first thing I notice (when viewing the EXIF data) and its probably a bit small of an aperture, risky because it cuts out a lot of light and that's pushed your ISO up to 1600 for your shutter to keep up. I do agree though its a closer shot and the wide aperture has given you a great depth of field over the buck - I maybe would work a little more in the f8-f10 area myself if going for a similar shot.
    The other thing to note is just in the top left side there is a dustspot - a result of dust on your sensor in the camera that tends to show up at small apertures - a single use of the spot heal tool would remove this problem and uless you do a lot of small aperture work I wouldn't worry about it - otehrwise sensor cleaning is your next port of call.
    That aside I enjoy the composition, the overall lighting is well controled and you don't have the harsh reflections off the grass that can be a problem in stronger lighting. The stump in the background is about the only main problem other than some lack of detail in the clouds and some dark areas of the main body = but the head and eye are very well lit and outside of using a flash to boost the foreground lighting you could not have gotten better.

    Overall the effect of a small aperture and the choice of editing has given this shot a look that really appeals to me and what I would call a very "filmy" look to it. A good shot overall and one I like.

    2) A harder scene for the lighting is hitting a white horse and the grass and some areas of the horse are coming out a bit strong/overexposed - however the eye (dispite being small in the frame) is quite clear and not obscured in shadow - which I suspect would have been a problem if you'd underexposed initially any more.
    Compostion and conent wise though I'm less thrilled with this shot - I guess because its mating human and natural elements, yet between the two there is little communication - the background building could easily be anything without changing the foregrounds appeal or appearance and the composition feels very much weighted on the foreground of the framing trees. I do like though that you've got the whole horse in there, rather than cropping closer with the right side and having the tree more on the boarder. I also suspect that for the owner of the horse this shot would have more appear/connection between fore and background but for me its not working.

    Also not quite sure if the plants above the horse are maybe a little strong in the greens as a result of editing - not sure as the plant might naturally have a very strong green hue. Also there is a black spot on the horse - it looks like some sort of foreground element blurred in, but might also be a natural mark on the animal - it looks more the former than the latter to me - if its the latter I would use the spot heal tool/clone tool to hide this away - if its part of the horse of course keep it.

    Edit - forgot something:
    One the point of how shot 1 and 2 could have been taken with a more ture HDR process (that of having actual multiple frames) you could have shot the scene with the animal posed and then fixed the camera steady (tripod would be ideal - also as you can't change the aperture nor do you want to change the ISO - so you would have to use shutter speed which might take it out of handholdable range) ) and waited till the animal left the scene - then taken a shot of the background areas correctly exposed. For shot 1 this could have worked well for the sky - though you would still have not differed from the buck exposure (since you can't get to shots of him, just one and I feel that hte exposure you chose has worked idealy).
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  8. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've heard some say that a good HDR shot is one where you can't tell it was used. The key to understand is that HDR is a process not an artistic approach or look. Its a method by which we use multiple shots to cover a scene where the camera cannot achive detail and correct exposure in all the differently lit areas in a single frame. However bright spots and certainly shadows still have a very strong and important part in a shot - even when HDR is used. Shadows are something that is often overlooked and the result is that whilst one gets a "good exposure" over the whole of the HDR shot it lacks a depth to it (which is why it takes on that cartoony look) that a natural sight would have.
     
  9. ivomitcats

    ivomitcats TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the comments, Overread! That was all very helpful, and I have a better understanding of how to set up shots of that nature from now on.

    I didn't even notice that dust spec in the photo! It's not in any of my other shots (Or noticeable anyway) I need to fix that and look out for it from now on to spotheal it, thanks for pointing it out.

    The black spot on the horse's body I noticed earlier. I don't know what it is, but it isn't part of the horse. There's another one above the horse's head, in thin air. Part of me wants to say it's something hanging from the tree, but I don't remember it being there. To be honest I don't like that horse shot either. I mean, I do to a degree, but it's not interesting to me. I wanted to capture the horse in a better way, because the horse was very clearly malnourished, thin, dirty, and the house behind it was falling apart. I could have done so much more with the shot and regret leaving without getting anything better than that ( It was a very secluded area, and I had no idea whose land I was tresspassing on the get the shots.)

    To be honest, I don't know anything about aperture. I don't know what it does, what it means...I know how to change it on my camera, and I know it has something to do with how open the shutter is when you take a picture (Right?) But I dunno' what effect it has. I understand virtually everything else, but aperture kinda' escapes me a little...

    Thanks for the suggestions and tips. :thumbup: I'm still learning a lot.
     

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