High Dynamic Range

by John D October. 13, 2020 74 views

A while ago, HDR, or High Dynamic Range, was a big photographic fad. It seems to have fallen out of favor recently, however. I think that between people using it for all kinds of unnatural acts, and the cheap, rip-off HDR that tries to simulate it from a single image, it just got tiresome.

I have always liked a more naturalistic approach to HDR, although even at its most natural, there is still a touch of the surreal about it. I like to think that a touch of the surreal is part of my personal “style” anyway though.

This is a “true” HDR, in that it is built as a composite of 5 different frames shot at Av; -2ev, -1ev, 0ev, +1ev and +2ev from a tripod.

After creating the HDR composite, I sharpened the flowers, but not the background. I then applied a layer of un-sharping to the background (for NR), followed by a standard noise-reduction with DxO/NIK Define on the clouds/hills as well. I then did another layer of spot NR in the flowers.

There are a couple of other tricks that I’ve been trying out too. The first is that I do all my development work at the highest resolution possible. My old habit was to crop very early in the workflow, often as the first step, but now I am consciously waiting to crop/resize as the last step of the workflow.

I am also trying to be aware of the final size that I want the image to be viewed at. Sometimes, as with my last “October Sunrise” post, at-or-near 100% full-res is part of what I want you to see. At other times, such as this and “…Accidental”, there is a limit to the useful resolution that the image can support. Anything much larger than fit-screen isn’t useful here, and will just highlight flaws, so I deliberately limited the image size. The process of size reduction adds to both NR and sharpness, so if I get the file at its best looking at its highest-res, then the size-reduction as the last step further enhances the IQ.

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