My thoughts about HDR photography: should it reflect reality or imagination?

HDR photography: should it reflect reality or imagination?

  • Reality

    Votes: 7 33.3%
  • Imagination

    Votes: 1 4.8%
  • It depends

    Votes: 9 42.9%
  • It's a stupid question :)

    Votes: 7 33.3%

  • Total voters
    21

PeterN

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Actually I think that the answer to the question in the topic's title depends on many parameters like story, photographer's mood, scenery etc.. So, my answer is "it depends" :), but what's about your opinion? Statistics may help to estimate the viewer's response :).

I tested both approaches during my last travel to the Mosel valley, Germany.
I did not use a tripod, just high speed series of photos with typically +2, 0 and -2 exposure correction were enough for adequate overlap.
The choice for editing style below depends on my mood and impressions from the scenery mostly - sometimes I want to be closer to reality like in the 2nd and the 3rd images, sometimes I try to illustrate a tale like in the 4th one, sometimes I try to make a postcard :) as on the 1st photo.

Also I tried a new approach for me: stitching panorama from HDR images (27 in total, as I remember), you may find this example below too (photo #5).

Your comments and critique to my photos are very welcome and appreciated.

1. Cochem castle from the bridge over Mosel
$mosel_hd_15_sm.jpg
Link to the original image - http://www.nikolsky.name/28/mosel_hd_15_sm.jpg

2. Cochem castle from the streets of Cochem
$mosel_hd_14_sm.jpg
http://www.nikolsky.name/28/mosel_hd_14_sm.jpg

3. In the middle of nowhere at Mosel :)
$mosel_hd_19_sm.jpg
http://www.nikolsky.name/28/mosel_hd_19_sm.jpg

4. Inside the castle
$mosel_hd_9_sm.jpg
http://www.nikolsky.name/28/mosel_hd_9_sm.jpg

5. Panorama of Mosel from the bridge at Berncastel-Kues
$pan2_mosel_HD_sm.jpg
Link to the original panorama -http://www.nikolsky.name/28/pan2_mosel_HD_sm.jpg

P.S. Sorry, I posted this topic initially in a wrong sub-forum, but already asked moderators to kill the 1st one.
 

cgipson1

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I prefer reality myself... especially compared to the way overcooked, tonemapped images that many noobs call HDR.

Op.. some nice images, and not overdone!
 

Ilovemycam

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There are no photo police, we do as we like. (except on forums)
 
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PeterN

PeterN

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I prefer reality myself... especially compared to the way overcooked, tonemapped images that many noobs call HDR.

Op.. some nice images, and not overdone!
Thank you for the feedback :).
Don't you think that overcooking HDR's sometimes could be used like B&W photo to put some accents on key details with "over-contrast"?
Does it work?

I tried this here:
$mosel_hd_25_sm.jpg
http://www.nikolsky.name/28/mosel_hd_25_sm.jpg


There are no photo police, we do as we like. (except on forums)
I'm glad to hear this. But why shouldn't we think about the viewer's opinion if we make our photos not for private use only? :)
 

cgipson1

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I prefer reality myself... especially compared to the way overcooked, tonemapped images that many noobs call HDR.

Op.. some nice images, and not overdone!
Thank you for the feedback :).
Don't you think that overcooking HDR's sometimes could be used like B&W photo to put some accents on key details with "over-contrast"?
Does it work?

I tried this here:
View attachment 46287
http://www.nikolsky.name/28/mosel_hd_25_sm.jpg



There are no photo police, we do as we like. (except on forums)
I'm glad to hear this. But why shouldn't we think about the viewer's opinion if we make our photos not for private use only? :)


It depends on the Image, how overcooked it is, and what it is supposed to emphasize... some of the overcooked stuff we see has no semblance of reality (looks like cartoons or ad copy).. those I usually don't care for! But it does vary depending on the subject and intensity.

I have never believed in the maxim " it's ok, because it is art!"... because many of these types of shots do not fall into my definition of art (or the classic definition of art), lol! So yes.. I believe as you apparently do, that you have to target your audience with what they find acceptable, or you may face rejection.

On the castle image.. that basically works for the image... although I would prefer a little less personally. As I said, it depends on the image, and how "cooked" it is... (for me, at least)
 

12sndsgood

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I feel it depends on the application and the subject matter and the intent of the photographer. I'm not a fan of the overcooked photos, but that's my personal preference. I think if the photographer wants a way over the top look then that's what he should go for. A lot of the problem I think with new people coming into HDR is they fall into the "well if a little is good, then a lot must be better"
 

KmH

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HDR originated to show the reality (dynamic range) cameras can't capture.

The viewer's opinion is a way the artist assesses validation of a work. The more positive viewer opinions there are, the more 'successful' the work is deemed to be.

But art has no rules, and an artist only has to satisfy them self.

However, take note that the visual arts do have guidelines, and that those guidelines developed gradually over several thousand years of visual art trial and error. Note too that many 'viewers' have no art training, and cannot articulate why they do, or don't, like any particular work.

It is not coincidental that most successful visual artists, including photographers, have a solid understanding of those visual art guidelines.
 

amolitor

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HDR and tonemapping are just tools, really. You can do whatever you want with them, and I think there are a variety of aesthetics that can be built around these tools -- some old, some new.

Some new aesthetics will succeed, some will not. I don't happen to like the super popped colors and weird tonal scales that people create, but I am distinctly a minority.

As a final note, what we accept as "looking real" changes over time. No photograph "looks real" in any meaningful or objective way, we simply accept them as such, or we do not, largely based on what we have been exposed to and how much.
 
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PeterN

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I feel it depends on the application and the subject matter and the intent of the photographer. I'm not a fan of the overcooked photos, but that's my personal preference. I think if the photographer wants a way over the top look then that's what he should go for. A lot of the problem I think with new people coming into HDR is they fall into the "well if a little is good, then a lot must be better"
I agree with you :).

HDR originated to show the reality (dynamic range) cameras can't capture.

The viewer's opinion is a way the artist assesses validation of a work. The more positive viewer opinions there are, the more 'successful' the work is deemed to be.

But art has no rules, and an artist only has to satisfy them self.

However, take note that the visual arts do have guidelines, and that those guidelines developed gradually over several thousand years of visual art trial and error. Note too that many 'viewers' have no art training, and cannot articulate why they do, or don't, like any particular work.

It is not coincidental that most successful visual artists, including photographers, have a solid understanding of those visual art guidelines.
Well, there are no doubts that traditions exist :). But they are gradually changing, we can use impressionism as the example. This is definitely not the reality of an average person. At least I hope so :). And aggressive tone mapping may have a similar role in photography, IMHO.

HDR and tonemapping are just tools, really. You can do whatever you want with them, and I think there are a variety of aesthetics that can be built around these tools -- some old, some new.

Some new aesthetics will succeed, some will not. I don't happen to like the super popped colors and weird tonal scales that people create, but I am distinctly a minority.

As a final note, what we accept as "looking real" changes over time. No photograph "looks real" in any meaningful or objective way, we simply accept them as such, or we do not, largely based on what we have been exposed to and how much.
+1 :thumbup:
 

nmoody

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I am also in the boat of people who like it more natural instead of pushed a lot. I voted reality as almost all of the time thats what I want. Of course like most creative arts there is always an exception (have not found one yet, but don't doubt it exists) where I may prefer something "overcooked". To each their own, I typically don't share my opinions on "overcooked" HDR as it sometimes wouldn't be constructive.

BTW OP very nice job on those.
 

jake337

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I'm not voting.


It should reflect whatever the hell you want to create!
 

cptkid

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I normally only "overcook" my b&w HDR images.

But each to their own. If you wanna overcook it, do it.

But the point of HDR is just that, to get High Dynamic Range.
 

cwcaesar

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I really think it depends on what the customer wants. If they want me to 'overcook' the image, then so be it. Personally, I don't like it overcooked.
 

Majeed Badizadegan

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Stylistic choices.
Done well, either style can be great.
Done poorly, either style can suck.
 

hopdaddy

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I try to present MY vision , sure some won't like it ,some will like it , but in fear of the masses will keep quiet , and in some cases, the masses will love it and it will be crap with no solid artistic Merritt . Point is I think you should create the Art you like best ,present that style and hopefully gain some respect from the viewers . OR, you can follow the constantly changing popular style of the day ,and sometimes ,of the hour .

My answer to the question , Depends . I really think, A good number of the "HDR"s don't even need to be "HDR" in the first place
 

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