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HDR - love it or hate it?

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Clodhopper, May 23, 2011.

  1. Clodhopper

    Clodhopper Well-Known Member

    HDR - spawn of the devil or valuable tool for every modern photographer?

    Personally I sometimes have a use for it, usually in interior and automotive & engineering images, but for landscapes, general outdoor or studio stuff I feel it's kind of like admitting defeat if I have to resort to HDR because if I have actually taken a set of bracketed shots I'll simply do a bit of messing about with different exposure layers and call it job done.

    I have several HDR shots in my pf, but I'm hoping nobody has noticed... :eek:

    So. any chance that HDR is just a passing fad and soon everyone will get back to producing properly exposed images straight from the camera? Or is it here to stay?

    Discuss :)
  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    As a tool, I find it useful. As a former Velvia user, I often don't actually want that much dynamic range, but sometimes I do and find it invaluable.

    As a style, I think overblown HDR is on the way out, which is great - not because I don't like it ever, but because it works occasionally for me when it's just the odd image, rather than a whole portfolio of the stuff.
  3. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Funny I thought that was a form of HDR?

    Because your are pulling DR from other images into a final image that the sensor could not cope with normally. :confused:

    My understanding this is similar to how say a HS20 works, although not as targetted as hand crafted. :)
  4. Draig

    Draig Well-Known Member

    I think it was about 3 years ago that I got interested in HDR. I did state on another forum that it was going to be a main item and that loads of people would be doing it and that as far as I could see there were 2 versions of HDR. One was the 'in yer face' final image and that the second was one where it would be used to enhance a picture and that it would not be obvious that HDR had taken place.
    Personally, I like both and believe that like many other modes of togdom (mono, panarama etc etc) it has a place in every togs armory.
    (but for many - it will still be a marmite subject)
  5. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    Can't comment, don't know what it is, but nothing photographic is of sufficient importance to evoke such passion.

    But whatever, now I do love my dog and I do hate slugs...........does that count?
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  6. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    I've tried playing with HDR but haven't produced anything worth keeping but if I did I would hope this would be the reaction.
  7. Clodhopper

    Clodhopper Well-Known Member

    HS20? Can't comment on that as I don't know what it is... But I don't really consider taking a shot exposed for the sky, then another for the land and blending them together to be HDR. I'd consider that to be much the same as using ND grads or the magic cloth technique.

    HDR would seem to involve pulling every last detail out of the tiniest bit of shadow and calming down every little blown highlight, something even our eyes are not capable of.
  8. Clodhopper

    Clodhopper Well-Known Member

    Stick with your dog Brian, can't go far wrong then. :) Slugs are vile but they are improved with a sprinkling of salt.
  9. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Carefully blended exposures are a better solution to a scene which cannot be captured in a single exposure, but please take the time and effort to do it properly. If you can see the halo it is overdone for me.
  10. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Worth carrying over some points from the original location. I think all creativity ends when people apply some kind of definition in their minds and promptly shut said organ.
    To say that a photograph that is nothing more than a simple superimposition of several photographs is no longer a photograph, seems to me to be self-delusion of a wild kind. Just because it looks like a painting doesn't make it one. The means of recording an image by the two media are quite different and one involves brushes and stuff.
    Similarly to suggest (as an earlier post did with a learned ;) quote) that one medium can own a subject and by definition do it better than another (be it bricks in a wall, or refelections of yachts) seems like similar self-delusion.
    I don't like 95% of the HDR pictures I see, but that doesn't mean I don't like HDR, any more than I don't like paintings done with pallet knives or stipple brushes. But I'm sure there were people in the early days of those things that also averred very strongly that they weren't art.
    Still it all means that you can easily spot a creative soul; they don't hobble their minds with such thoughts.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2011
  11. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    Nobody is saying it isn't art, what I am saying is it (Railway Station HDR) isn't photography.
  12. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    One definition of "Photography" is : the art and practice of creating pictures by recording radiation on a radiation-sensitive medium, such as a photographic film ,or electronic image sensors. Photography uses foremost radiation in the UV, visible and near IR spectrum. For common purposes the term light is used instead of radiation.

    That seems a reasonable definition to me and HDR falls well within it - it doesn't alter the fact that I do not usually like the result.
  13. Clodhopper

    Clodhopper Well-Known Member

    Photography is constantly evolving and I believe HDR is just another step in the evolution. I don't think you can say it isn't "photography" any more than you could say that using any kind of software to manipulate an image, or using darkroom techniques to achieve a special effect, makes an image no longer a photograph.

    I would love to be able to say I was an artist, but for me to create a watercolour landscape, or a portrait in oils, would be night on impossible. However, I could take a photo, and with a few clicks of the mouse button, make it look like a bit like a painting... However, it would still be a photograph. To say it wouldn't be is a bit like a watercolour purist saying that a picture painted with acrylics is not a "real" painting...
  14. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I'll say it for you. You are most certainly an artist. :cool:
  15. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Nobody said you said it isn't art. My comment was aimed at the statement that what is clearly a photograph isn't a photograph. I have tried twisting my brain in a knot but I can't fathom that one. What other photographs are not photographs, or are only stacked photographs not photographs? Is stacked focus a photograph? :confused::confused:

    Then why not stacked exposure?
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  16. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    And occasionally I see works of art that are so photographic you couldn't tell the difference. In the old days of advertising we used to spend a fortune at it. But no such piece of art ever became a photograph and no amount of swearing is was would make it so. Tis a futile argument.
  17. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    Sorry, but I am am not sure what you mean by stacked focus or stacked exposure, unless you mean the practise of taking multiple shots at different focus or exposure and blending them together. If that is so, then, provided that the end result looks natural, then it could, I suppose, be called a photograph. Railway Station HDR is totally unnatural and looks as if someone went over all the outlines and drew over them, then boosted the saturation to unnatural levels. As an image it is fine, if you like that sort of thing, but as a photograph it is awful.

    I am not an artist, and have never pretended to be one, I like to see photographs that look natural, not over-processed, as so much "imagery" is these days. That may be old-fashioned, but there you are. I may be shooting myself in the foot here, as I have been known to boost saturation, use unsharp mask and levels to improve what came out of the camera, but my sole aim is to make the image I produce look as natural as possible. Unnatural looking images are not my scene.
  18. Dorset_Mike

    Dorset_Mike Grumpy Old Fart

    Looks like we got the same hymn sheet Roy!
  19. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    I'm afraid that I find this a particularly futile discussion.

    HDR is a tool just as multigrade paper, sepia toner, lith developer are tools. Used badly the result is awful, used well the image is enhanced.

    If an image starts life as a photograph and you apply some sort of tool to change it (any one of the ones above or any of the multitude of others) then the image doesn't stop being a photograph. The idea is crazy.

    If I take a hammer and chisel to a block of marble and produce David then I still have a block of marble - just a differently shaped block.

  20. chris000

    chris000 Well-Known Member

    ..... and that is the whole point, it is not the technique which is the problem, but the way that it is used, overused and abused.

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