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Ashness Bridge HDR3

By KMRennie
Back to images that are almost 2 years old. A 3 shot HDR that I have ignored as I thought that the others were better. I have since noticed the slash of sunlight in the foreground. I was looking for a black and white shot for a competition so burned and dodged away to add contrast. No matter what I tried the image looked flat, so returned a little colour.

1 problem remains, the colour of the sky looks false to me (I know it is as an HDR and will always look dodgy to some) how to I change the sky colour?

Tags: Water Bridge Keswick Hdr Digitally manipulated Derwent Ashness Landscape and travel

Voters: ChrisWallace, Tom_H, LV426 and 17 more

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acbeat 12 14 United Kingdom
25 Jan 2011 12:55PM
Nicely done grate colours and depth.

Andy B

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JackieB 7 18 3 United Kingdom
25 Jan 2011 2:20PM
I love it...well done
Dennis_Bromage 10 45 20 United Kingdom
25 Jan 2011 5:12PM
I haven't done any HDR work in over 2 years but when I was using the technique I often had the same problem. My solution was often to blend in the sky from one of the original exposures which can work quite well if done carefully Smile
DRicherby 8 269 725 United Kingdom
25 Jan 2011 5:23PM
I can't help with your question about the sky but I'll offer some general remarks. I should say that I'm not a big fan of HDR so you should filter my comments through that. Smile

My question to you is whether you need HDR for this shot at all. Remember that HDR is a technique for reducing contrast to let you capture scenes whose dynamic range (i.e., contrast) is greater than the six stops or so that digital sensors can cope with. The classic case is church interiors, where you often have bright sunlight streamin through a window into anotherwise rather dark space. There, exposing for the highlights would lose the shadows and vice versa so a single exposure can't capture the scene.

This landscape scene doesn't look massively contrasty, to me. At the cost of maybe losing a little detail under the bridge, it looks like a single exposure could have captured everything here, from the bright-ish clouds to the dark-ish trees. This is, I think, why you couldn't get a satisfactory black and white version: you were starting with a scene with fairly normal contrast and you then used a processing technique that reduced that contrast, leaving the flat image that you complain about. You tried to bring back some contrast by dodging and burning but it would probably have been better not to HDR in the first place. If the middle exposure doesn't have burnt-out clouds, try doing a b/w conversion of that single image and see where it gets you.

Alternatively, it may be that the scene had a little too much contrast for a single exposure and that any exposure that kept the clouds in check would leave the ground dark enough that brightening it would introduce too much noise. In that case, you have two options besides HDR. One would be to use a soft ND-grad to balance the sky and the land better. The other would be to take two shots, exposing one each for the clouds and land. Then load them both into Photoshop, paste the sky shot as a layer on top of the land shot and use a mask to delete the under-exposed version of the land so the correctly-exposed version shows through. Don Smith has a tutorial on his website (though it must be desperately, desperately tedious to do this with 11 shots!) and I have a two-shot example on mine.

I hope that was helpful, even if it possibly wasn't what you wanted to hear. Some people like the 'HDR look' and, if you do, then that's reason enough to use the technique on your shots, whether it's technically necessary or not. But, since you were having problems, I think it's fair to go back to the start and ask whether HDR was the right technique to be using.

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