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I'm using photomatix pro to combine my images to try and produce realistic results. I took some shots last week with a very grey but stormy sky. There's plenty of interest and balances the subject. The problem I have is removing a 'glow' along the horizon between land and sky. Has anyone else experienced this - found a work around?
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Try playing with the Light Smoothing control.
As Roger said, Light smoothing to +2, also play with micro contrast and luminosity sliders.
I often do a couple of conversions, for different parts of the image and blend using layer masks, also you can blend with one or more of the "straight" shots.
Roger and Warney are spot on - the problem you are having is due to your application of the tone mapping process. However its also worth remembering that HDR is only one solution to getting a correctly balanced exposure. There are still times to consider other solutions:
1. At time of exposure - ND grads
2. Composite exposures - a manual hdr if you will where you splice together different exposures in PS using layers and masks. This tends to give a much more subtle result than hdr. Often I use this technique as the results can, in my opinion, be more natural than hdr in photomatix.
I've dabbled with HDR landscapes and interiors and have had much more success with interiors. I've always struggled with HDR landscapes, particularly with unrealistic overcooked skies and bright halo artifacts along hard edges such as hill outlines, tree branches etc.
For landscape work I'd tend to go with Adam's suggestion. Two exposures, one for foreground and one for sky then blended on separate layers via masks would seem to be the easiest way of getting "natural" looking results.
landscapes, HDD and mcfade do not mix I'm afraid
I'd probably suggest doing a fairly flat, bland HDR conversion and shoving it as a layer on top of an original shot. The flat HDR doesn't tend to have the halo effects you're on about. It's a ball ache, but worth a try.
Thanks for the replies. I always set light smoothing to +2 - anything else just makes the shot look weird and in my opinion gives hdr a bad name. I know some like it and have developed their own style. I'm trying to produce images that don't look like hdr has been used. Close ups, indoor shots and landscape shots without sky, I have no problem with. I've uploaded a landscape that is as natural as I can get it. I've also reproduced the halo effect on a single shot using USM and a very large radius. I might see if I can use this to my advantage . . .
I don't really want to go back to blending layers manually in PS. It takes too long for what I'm working on - hdr / panos. I'm currently tone mapping for one shot, saving the settings and then running photomatix in batch mode. I'm typically working with 30 - 60 initial images.
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