Looking for HDR how-to

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by sinclair, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    After seeing this thread, I want to even more try my hand at HDR. Especially with a planned photo outing next month. I want some help finding a how-to on making HDR images with my current setup. I have a Mac Pro running the latest version of OS X, the current versions of iPhoto, The Gimp, and GraphicConverter. My camera is a Pany GF5.Due to some unexpected medical bills for my newborn son, I have no money to buy any new software (or glass like I was planning). I have figured out how to get my camera to take 5 bracketed shots, 2/3 EV apart (Total of 3 1/3 EV range).

    What I have read so far: 3 shots is sufficient, but normally at 2 EV apart (Total of 4 EV range). Unfortunately, I can't do that with my camera, it can only do 3 or 5 shots at 1/3 or 2/3 EV apart. Sure I could do the bracketing my hand, but then I'll have to worry about aligning the images as well as doing the combining.

    So, I'm asking all of you wonderful people to help me find some how-tos that use the software I have to make HDR images, and to tell me if it'll even work with the image bracket my camera has. Please post links, and as I find stuff, I'll post too, as well as what I end up with from following the linked how-tos. Thank you!
  2. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Your camera bracketing is not a problem I do HDR with 5 shots 2/3 EV bracketing total of 2.6.
    One thi ng you need to remember is to shot in RAW and if your camera burst mode is not fast use 3 photos otherwise use 5 photos.

    Regarding the computer i have no knowledge of MAC.
  3. gugarci

    gugarci Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2012
    Lyndhurst, NJ
    You can do HDR's from 1 raw image. Make sure the exposure is correct for the starting file and then process other images from that same file varying your exposure. I've done this hundreds of times.

    I know they say it works better when you bracket your exposure. But if you are using a raw file this works very well and there's no chance of ghosting.
  4. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    First tip: choose your subject matter carefully. I relatively often see 'HDR' shots that are 'merely' tone mapped, weird-looking scenes that cover a dynamic range a single RAW file is perfectly capable of capturing. Honestly, good HDR software will be able to tackle a RAW file directly, so there's no point in processing separate JPG or TIFF files from RAW and then merging in HDR software (IMO).

    Beyond that, I used to shoot +/-1 or 2 on the Canon, and +/-2 in with 5 shot burst on the E-M5. Whether you need all of the exposures kind of depends. I shoot manual, so I can decide a little more precisely where the 'zero' exposure lies. I'm much more of an 'exposure blending' sort of guy - I use HDR to get decent sky saturation with good foreground detail in landscapes. Filters can obviate the need somewhat (Grad ND) and avoid Ghosting altogether, but not all scenes are well suited to filter use, and you don't always have filters on hand...
  5. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    Thanks, I'll check it out. Here's one I found using a plugin.

    As far as subject matter, I'm trying to learn and experiment with shots of the apartment complex I live in, and areas around work to prepare for going shooting of one of my other passions, trains.
  6. tdekany

    tdekany Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 8, 2011
    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8027uFEtxr0]Overview of HDR Efex Pro 2 - Nik Software - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjM7fk8XvKE]HDR Efex Pro 2 Tutorial - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch4SdbWHRTs]HDR Efex Pro 2 Tutorial - YouTube[/ame]
  7. ivoire

    ivoire Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2011
    Naperville, IL
  8. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    Well, I downloaded a free app thanks to a link from ivoire and this is what I got with a little playing. What do you all think?

    Original base image with PP in iPhoto.

    HDR image using Luminance HDR and The Gimp.

    It's a little on the dark side I think, perhaps I'll do some PP in iPhoto, but that'll wait until tomorrow.
  9. Low-fi

    Low-fi New to Mu-43

    Feb 25, 2013
    Hi sinclair, I'm using a very similar setup for HDR experimentation, on my Mac with GIMP and Luminance HDR.

    Nice job with the apartment complex HDR! I particularly like the texture & color of the brighter surfaces: the tree, walls, rocks and sky all look great. I agree that just above the center of the photo is a little dark, you could try some curves editing in GIMP to target that region.

    Here's one of my attempts from last year, taken with an Oly E-PM1. I used a 5 shot bracket with a +/-2 EV range, and plugged the JPGs into Luminance (I had some trouble blending multiple RAW shots with this program). The top photo here is the closest to middle exposure (+0.3), and the bottom is the finished HDR:

    original, unprocessed version:

    HDR version:
  10. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    I'm glad to hear that someone else is using this software package. I haven't had much time to play with it anymore as of late. Where would I find the curves in Gimp to mess with?
  11. Low-fi

    Low-fi New to Mu-43

    Feb 25, 2013
    Likewise, glad to meet a fellow Mac freeware user here. Luminance HDR does seem to be quite time consuming—there are so many tone mapping operators & parameters to mess with, and you have to keep updating the image manually (instead of a live preview of the changes). That Yosemite HDR I posted took a long time to get the right balance, without looking too surreal or grainy. But it's got a lot of bang for the buck! (or lack thereof...)

    You can adjust curves via the Colors menu up top in GIMP. When the curves window opens you will see a diagonal line, from lower left (which represents the darker part of the image) to upper right (brighter parts). The areas of your apartment photo that could use some brightening are likely towards the lower left, just experiment with adding points along the line and raising the curve a bit to bring out detail in the shadows, while hopefully preserving the overall contrast of the photo. You can also try common shapes, such as an S curve (increases contrast) or reverse S curve (reduces contrast).

    I love GIMP overall—and very excited for the upcoming version 2.9, which allegedly will allow for 16 bit color for the first time! (current version 2.8 can only do 8 bit)
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