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DPChallenge Forums >> Individual Photograph Discussion >> Assistance required in PP for sunrays
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08/08/2016 05:06:49 AM · #1
Like many here, I have in the past overcooked some HDR images. Sometimes I even prefer a more stylised image. But generally speaking I gave up using HDR methods when LRCC improved to the point where I was getting better results with just the one image. That said there will still be some situations where HDR may be the better way to go and so it was on the day we visited the magical Meteora. With thick heavy storm clouds flattening out all late afternoon light I set the fuji for HDR bracketing and proceeded to just shoot and hope for the best in PP, however about halfway through the clouds started parting and produced some great sunray shots.

Once I had all the images on the PC I first tried PP using my standard methods in LRCC and while the fg wasn't too bad I couldn't get the clouds and rays to look anything other than mushy. Switching to HDR the inbuilt methods of LRCC weren't any better and HDR Pro just produced over the top edits. About this time I came across some marketing for Aurora HDR and thought I'd give it a try. This too gave garish results but at least I felt there was more local control and ways to tone it down until I eventually ended up with my submission.

I still wasn't happy with it but I'd run out of time and the score/comments received support the fact that I'd let an opportunity for a great image slide by due to what I believe is poor PP. So in an effort to learn from this I invite anyone with the inclination to offer their vision of the same shot but please list the PP steps taken.

The 3 bracketed images are here in dropbox both in original RAF & DNG RAW format.

My submission:
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1185082.jpg
08/08/2016 08:44:54 AM · #2
To me, that photo was on the edge. What pushes it down s the blue in the distance, it's too much blue. If you knock the down a lot, to really only a hint of blue, it will look a lot better.
08/08/2016 11:05:54 AM · #3
I belong to the less is more school of HDR, so not a fan of the overcooked look at all. I gave that image a 5, mainly because it was well composed and a nice scene. Normally an image like that would get a 3 or 4.

I looked at the raw images and played around a bit, but I found it very difficult to get anything I would be happy with. I found the raw images were somewhat underexposed which made it quite hard to pull detail without getting a lot of shadow noise.
08/08/2016 11:49:19 AM · #4
When there is not much color or contrast, I opt for monochrome. I chose to bring out the structure and some detail in the mountains. There are many ways to approach this. It's a sloppy job but you get the idea.

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1185606.jpg
08/08/2016 12:28:58 PM · #5
Here's a quick 'n dirty stab at it. Processes listed in notes. It's a LR HDR merge of the darkest and lightest of the 3 images, reworked extensively in Nik. The full set of images is way too dark; the darkest one is Ok for the sky but the lightest one is still too dark for the foreground, so this took a lot of fussing.

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1185607.jpg
08/08/2016 01:40:44 PM · #6
Really liked Robert's redux; that is much more to my taste. That is to say, as far as the "level of cooking" where HDR is concerned, I prefer medium rare to very done.
08/08/2016 01:52:22 PM · #7
My attempt to get this image pop more without overcooking.
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1185608.jpg
08/08/2016 01:57:46 PM · #8
I like Robt's version. Took that as a base to save time, and threw in a bit of dodge and burn to give some more dynamic lighting here.

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1185609.jpg
08/08/2016 04:34:55 PM · #9
Editing this beautiful photograph was a treat, it's been a while since I did anything related to photography.

Here is my quick attempt, I used single exposure with bunch of luminosity mask layers.

28571028980_d9c7fbc6b6_m.jpg

Edited:Realized I had updated the linked picture, but never updated the thumbnail, fixed that.

Message edited by author 2016-08-09 12:47:59.
08/09/2016 07:26:14 AM · #10
Originally posted by vikas:

Editing this beautiful photograph was a treat, it's been a while since I did anything related to photography.

Here is my quick attempt, I used single exposure with bunch of luminosity mask layers.

28571028980_3fbf7490f9_m.jpg


I may have come up with a different final edit but this is certainly the way I would have approached it. You're starting with a small bracketed series (+/-1 stop) and the dynamic range of the sensor is enough that you're not going to lose much.

Nice edit.
08/09/2016 03:35:07 PM · #11
Wow everyone thanks for jumping in on this, there sure are some varied results:
96751.gif tanguera - I did try B/W but didn't get it looking anywhere near as good as yours. Could you please list your basic steps?
30861.gif Bear_Music - This is probably my fave here but I do like 21.gif Cory's additions
21.gif GeorgesBogaert - Not sure if this one is too different to mine.
31.gif vikas - Love the overall tone but the FG is still too dark (my fault). Are your steps of luminosity masks complicated? If not can you elaborate?

Well the 1st thing I've learnt here is 'tho I normally only take 3 exposures a stop apart for HDR, in the case of a high contrast scene like this I should take as many as the gear will allow.
The 2nd would be - if you at any stage during the PP sit back and wonder if 'this is too much', then it probably is.
08/09/2016 04:32:06 PM · #12
Michael, Darker foreground is my personal taste, your file has enough data that it can be pushed a lot.

Here are two screen shot at 100% zoom
1) no edits
2) +2 using exposure slider.

There is a fair bit of details in the second shot without any real visible noise.

28260088144_3e6daeecd1_z.jpg28262045743_a9819d4fec_z.jpg

Looking at my edit again I do feel it is more warm and slightly on the darker side on my second screen then what I like. I used to like the HDR look, but more and more I admire the editing styles of photographers like Ted Gore, Ryan Dyar and others using Tony Kuyper's luminosity mask technique. Getting that extra touch of light in the foreground would require just more time.

Here is the psd with all the layers.
PSD with all Layers
08/10/2016 05:35:48 AM · #13
I haven't played around with things, but I'm thinking that the Vikas one is excellent. Simply because when you look at the light, there should be a big difference between the light areas with the sunrays and the foreground. I haven't played much with HDR, but what I haven't liked about it is that in trying to get the full range, people even things out way too much. And when you're looking at it, the lighting doesn't make sense anymore. Having the luminosities match so much takes away from the heavenly light that's coming through the clouds. That is much brighter light. But where is your foreground light coming from in that scene? Evenly lit across the whole foreground and bright, as well, doesn't match the light source. But some darkness and warmth does, imo.

Beautiful landscape!
08/10/2016 11:02:31 PM · #14
My Attempt - has halo issues
This is from just the single file processed in adobe camera raw. I sent it into Vivenza to add structure.
Also selective curves on the clouds alone as well.

Thanks 21.gif MichaelC for letting us play with your amazing photo! That Dynamic Range is absolutely Wicked! Makes me want to buy the camera you shot this with.

Version #2
Same thing here different tones. This is from just the single file processed in adobe camera raw. I sent it into Vivenza to add structure.
Also selective curves on the clouds alone as well.

If I had a little more time i'd play with some dodging and burning to make the rays stand out more as well.

Access the Files Here

Finally a Photomatix HDR edit:
HDR Attempt - Too much Halo - Weird color in SKy

Don't think i am allowed to post photos, just links?
dateposted-public

Message edited by author 2016-08-11 08:30:19.
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