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Which Exposure method is best for Landscapes ?

GaryPk

Bailey, US
537 posts

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GaryPk Silver Member Nikonian since 01st May 2012
Sat 27-Oct-12 07:14 PM | edited Sat 27-Oct-12 07:16 PM by GaryPk

Hi. Which Exposure method is best for Landscapes:

Meter off a neutral tone or expose to the right without clipping?

Or, does it even matter if done correctly?

When I shoot an HDR bracketed sequence the result still has blown highlights even though I get the first exposure to the right without clipping.

Thank you ...

See examples here. All are HDR's off for the same problem.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/30039864@N07/

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OMMBoy

San Diego, US
678 posts

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#1. "RE: Which Exposure method is best for Landscapes ?" | In response to Reply # 0

OMMBoy Registered since 22nd Feb 2007
Sat 27-Oct-12 05:58 PM | edited Sat 27-Oct-12 06:01 PM by OMMBoy

Wow! Your landscape shots are absolutely beautiful! I can see what you mean about the blown highlights, however. Bummer :(

I would recommend investing in some soft neutral density graduated filters. They don't need to be fancy or expensive -- I order mine from 2Filter.com. They have graduated filter kits available for ~$70 US that include 1-, 2-, and 3-stop filters, a filter holder, and an adapter. I like the Hitech 85 soft line grads as opposed to the hard line grads. Try something like that and your blown highlights should disappear. Continue to expose as before and let the filters take care of the sky.

Good luck, and I hope I was able to help :)

Chris

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The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE.
Ernst Haas, 1985


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GaryPk

Bailey, US
537 posts

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#2. "RE: Which Exposure method is best for Landscapes ?" | In response to Reply # 1

GaryPk Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Apr 2012
Sat 27-Oct-12 06:05 PM

Thanks Chris ...

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blw

Richmond, US
28573 posts

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#3. "RE: Which Exposure method is best for Landscapes ?" | In response to Reply # 0

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004
Sat 27-Oct-12 08:09 PM

> When I shoot an HDR bracketed sequence the result still has blown highlights even though I get the first exposure to the right without clipping.

I'm having a hard time parsing this. It sounds to me that you're saying that you have blown highlights even though you didn't clip (ie blow highlights)! You might mean that the first exposure of the bracket has no blown highlights, but the HDR result clearly does? If so, I'd say that there's been an error in the processing. How did you assemble the HDR?

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GaryPk

Bailey, US
537 posts

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#4. "RE: Which Exposure method is best for Landscapes ?" | In response to Reply # 3

GaryPk Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Apr 2012
Sat 27-Oct-12 08:53 PM | edited Sat 27-Oct-12 11:47 PM by GaryPk

Hi. I used Photomatix but I am sure there is 'Operator Error " as the cause of the problem. These were supposed to be a 5 exposure HDR with the middle exposure set just left of the right side of the histogram.

Added: Apparently my mistake was assuming I needed do use all 5 exposures to create the HDR. I should have picked those that covered the dynamic range without blowing the highlights.

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blw

Richmond, US
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#5. "RE: Which Exposure method is best for Landscapes ?" | In response to Reply # 4

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004
Sun 28-Oct-12 12:04 AM

I don't think that was your error. Photomatix knows how to discard unnecessary bits. More likely you have some other kind of setting wrong; I can't help as I don't know Photomatix. But if you have 5 exposures of HDR and they're a stop apart, it's hard to imagine that you didn't have the highlights covered properly.

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Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

GaryPk

Bailey, US
537 posts

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#6. "RE: Which Exposure method is best for Landscapes ?" | In response to Reply # 5

GaryPk Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Apr 2012
Sun 28-Oct-12 01:34 AM

Thanks. I suspect you are right. I am going to try and salvage these with a single image HDR conversion in Photomatix. At the time I took these I was still confused about the main command dial settings for bracketing and could have set this to +3 rather than just 3.

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klrbee25

Naples, US
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#7. "RE: Which Exposure method is best for Landscapes ?" | In response to Reply # 6

klrbee25 Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jun 2006
Sun 28-Oct-12 01:53 AM

Watch the histogram in your HDR software while you're adjusting settings. Make sure you're not adjusting contrast levels so far that you're losing highlights that you've made an effort to preserve.

-Alex Rosen
www.flickr.com/photos/klrbee25/

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GaryPk

Bailey, US
537 posts

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#8. "RE: Which Exposure method is best for Landscapes ?" | In response to Reply # 7

GaryPk Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Apr 2012
Sun 28-Oct-12 02:59 PM

Thanks Alex. I reprocessed this series as single image HDR's with an eye on the histogram in Photomatix .... definately better.

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MotoMannequin

Livermore, CA, US
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#9. "RE: Which Exposure method is best for Landscapes ?" | In response to Reply # 8

MotoMannequin Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Registered since 11th Jan 2006
Tue 30-Oct-12 06:01 PM

I vote expose to the right without clipping, and that your HDR problems are a result of the setting you're using in Photomatix.

Absolutely you want to include exposures with blown highlights in your HDR, because those are the ones with clean shadows. If you didn't need to include those, then what you're saying is the photos with good highlights also have clean shadows, which is to say you don't actually need HDR at all.

...which is worth mentioning. I often find myself shooting a bracket on my D800 expecting the scene to require HDR processing, only to find the data nicely fit into the D800's 14 stops of dynamic range. So there's that.

Also, I typically will include only 2-stop intervals in my HDR processing (discard the ±1 shots from a 5-shot bracket).

My strategy in Photomatix is two-fold: avoid halos and other HDR artifacts, and be sure the output histogram is not clipped or bunched up at either edge. Often this results in a low-contrast image. I then bring the output (in the form of a 16-bit tiff) into my image editing program and recover contrast there.

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
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GaryPk

Bailey, US
537 posts

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#10. "RE: Which Exposure method is best for Landscapes ?" | In response to Reply # 9

GaryPk Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Apr 2012
Tue 30-Oct-12 09:01 PM

Yes, I agree that was it. Thank you very much.

Gary
www.GaryPackPhotography.com

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G