First foray into HDR - thoughts? Suggestions?

tirediron

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This is the world-famous lighthouse at Peggy's Cove lighthouse, about 40 miles south of Halifax, NS, and reputed to be the most photographed location in Canada. There are a million sunset shots of the lighthouse (anyone who uses Windows 7 has one), but I wanted a sunrise. After getting out there for the sunrise, I realized why there aren't any - geography just doesn't let it work. So, since I'd gotten up at oh-dark-stupid and driven out there, I figured I mind as well get something...

Processed in Photomatix 4 from five images, one stop separation.

Lighthouse_HDR.jpg


I am a total neophyte in the processing of HDR, so any thoughts or suggestions for improvements would be appreciated, bearing mind my goal is to maintain a reasonably natural looking image.
 

ShooterJ

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I've been playing with HDR a lot in school. It's easy to overcook them and wind up with something that's too plastic.

I like what you've done here. Way better than 90% of the first time HDR images I've seen.. despite not having the sunrise I think you got a nice image out of it.
 
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tirediron

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I've been playing with HDR a lot in school. It's easy to overcook them and wind up with something that's too plastic.

I like what you've done here. Way better than 90% of the first time HDR images I've seen.. despite not having the sunrise I think you got a nice image out of it.
Thanks!


Did a bit of tone mapping to give it some pop.View attachment 48411
Neat edit, not quite what I had in mind, but I like it.
 

Ballistics

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Composition wise, I think it would be better if you cropped up to the water removing the lower half of the image entirely. I also think the photo could use a little more contrast but a little less red.
 
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tirediron

tirediron

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Perhaps... I'm just playing around right now; I rather like the warmer tones as it helps to impart the idea of the sunrise that I couldn't capture the way I wanted.
 

skieur

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This unfortunately is NOT a shot for HDR. The white in the lighthouse appears over-exposed and a little fuzzy (fog perhaps?) A graduated neutral density filter would have worked better.
 

ShooterJ

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Perhaps... I'm just playing around right now; I rather like the warmer tones as it helps to impart the idea of the sunrise that I couldn't capture the way I wanted.

HDR is a lot of fun to play with and playing with it is the only way to find the look that you like. It has so many possibilities.

Given your ability, I think you'll wind up with some amazing HDR shots.
 

SCraig

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The rocks, the whitewater, and the sky all look fine. Had you not said it was HDR I might not have noticed. There is something about the white and red of the lighthouse that just looks wrong in the context of everything else. Perhaps, as skieur said, just some overexposure.
 
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tirediron

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No, the over-exposure and fuzziness is my processing (still learning my way around the software).

This:
LighthouseA_Small.jpg

is the image with the best lighthouse exposure; looking at the geography and composition, I really don't see how I could have made a G-ND work. What would your process have been?
 
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tirediron

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Perhaps... I'm just playing around right now; I rather like the warmer tones as it helps to impart the idea of the sunrise that I couldn't capture the way I wanted.

HDR is a lot of fun to play with and playing with it is the only way to find the look that you like. It has so many possibilities.

Given your ability, I think you'll wind up with some amazing HDR shots.
Thanks!
 

ShooterJ

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I had a similar situation with the Lighthouse on Lake Hefner and a G-ND was suggested .. however, as was pointed out in that thread.. there's a lighthouse sticking up. Looking at tirediron's post with the lighthouse exposed well vs. the foreground I don't see why this wouldn't be an HDR shot. This kind of dynamic range is exactly what it's for.
 

skieur

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No, the over-exposure and fuzziness is my processing (still learning my way around the software).

This:
LighthouseA_Small.jpg

is the image with the best lighthouse exposure; looking at the geography and composition, I really don't see how I could have made a G-ND work. What would your process have been?
$LighthouseA_Small_e.jpgThe above image is much better than the first image you posted. This one I have submitted is a a GND used in post. Not as good as a GND used on the camera. The decision that you need to make for a particular shot is when do I use dynamic range optimization in camera, when do I use HDR, and what settings do I use.
 

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