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Thread: Article on Manually blended HDR

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    Shore Crawler Dylan & Marianne's Avatar
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    Article on Manually blended HDR

    The editor from HDR one magazine approached us to write a piece for them about manual blending of exposures
    With short notice, we put something together for this week's edition!
    Let us know what you think of the article - I wrote it but then Marianne was ruthless with the editing lol!
    The link to it is here:

    (mods, if it's in the wrong forum, please move it to the appropriate!)

    Manually Blended HDR on HDR ONE magazine
    Last edited by Dylan & Marianne; 21-10-2012 at 8:55pm.
    Call me Dylan! www.everlookphotography.com | www.everlookphotography.wordpress.com | www.flickr.com/photos/dmtoh
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    Singh Ray/Hitech/Lee assorted filters, Z pro modified system Cokin holder
    Post : Lightroom 3.6 catalogue -> Export as 16bit TIFF, Edited CS5 -> resized for web.

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    are you serious? Shelley's Avatar
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    Thanks Dylan - very helpful for me as I venture more into landscapes. I found it interesting especially on your exposures and the histogram information for each exposure. I will reread your article and try this at my training spot for landscapes. Also, the processing will be very helpful.

    Last edited by Shelley; 21-10-2012 at 10:57pm.
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Good article! I did do some HDR when I was more focused on landscape and much of that was manual, though probably less sophisticated than yours. I can see why you use filters on occasion as it does reduce the number of images you need to keep and process. That's probably the reason I rarely use HDR now.

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    Thanks Steve and Shelley about the filter thing - choice of slap glass on at the scene vs extra PP steps - if the result's going to be similar, I take the slap glass on option !

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Have you found a good way of keeping the images in a group? ie for HDR you need several images which essentially are components of just one image. I have never found a simple way of keeping these in a convenient group. The same applies to focus stacking where I would like to be able to call that group of images by just one name. Any ideas?

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    Steve - the only thing I do is tag them red on lightroom - but that's just to get all of the 'blend' images together when importing - I still get muddled at time when I've just changed compo slightly and rebracketed and things like that - would be great to hear any suggestions of alternate ways to keep it tidy in the archive!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    Have you found a good way of keeping the images in a group? ie for HDR you need several images which essentially are components of just one image. I have never found a simple way of keeping these in a convenient group. The same applies to focus stacking where I would like to be able to call that group of images by just one name. Any ideas?
    I've never used it like this in LR, but how about giving them a keyword or tag thus giving them a coded series number, like FileName_HDR_Seq#, so IMG1234_HDR_1 or IMG1234_FocusStack_1, thoughts?

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    tagging is something which I reckon would work well, but just like I tell myself to tag images with GND's as to what GND the image was taken with - more often than not, I forget to do it after importing !

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I'll do some playing in LR as it seems the most likely product. Another use would be for time lapse. There may be several hundred photo in a sequence, but they need to be kept together. Anything that takes a lot of work is out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    Have you found a good way of keeping the images in a group? ie for HDR you need several images which essentially are components of just one image. I have never found a simple way of keeping these in a convenient group. The same applies to focus stacking where I would like to be able to call that group of images by just one name. Any ideas?
    Wouldn't the filenames be sufficient?

    I shoot multiple exposures when I intend to produce an HDR image.

    I start with the longest exposure (which can be three or four stops over), and finish with the shortest exposure (which can be three or four stops under).

    If IMG_0001.CR2 is the first of seven exposures, and IMG_0007.CR2 is the last, I can easily tell by the filenames, as well as visually (due to identical composition and exposure times one stop apart) that they belong together.

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    If I'm out on a shoot taking heaps of shots and decide to do a Multiple exposure for manual blending or HDR , I stick my hand in front of the lens and take a shot , At the end I take another , Separates them from the others and is very visual, It works
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I would like something much better than that. I would like the system to treat all those photos as components of the one so that if I selected a photo which was HDR (or focus stacked or time lapse), it would recognise that as being 10 photos which were part of the whole and culd not be separated (unless I chose to). A really good data base that works on a PC would be good, but maybe I need to wait a while.

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    You could always just place the specific photos into a separate folder/directory.

    The problem doesn't seem terribly complicated to me, so I'm struggling to understand why it needs a complicated solution.

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Imagine if you have 50,000 photos and some of them are HDR (very few in my case), some are focus stacked (quite a lot) and some more are time lapse, not to mention the videos. This means that some processed photos (or time lapse videos) go back to a single RAW image and some go back to multiple RAW images. I have no simple way of associating them. I may have several hundred, possibly over 1000 focus stacked images alone. The whole issue of how to organise photos gets more muddled when you have things like HDR or focus stacks in there.

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    I can definitely see what Steve is getting at . For instance, I have started tagging images with marianne or dee from our 2010 trip which made finding our own images easier. Then I started tagging locations more religiously. Then, I started using yellow for panos, red for blends, blue for family shots, time lapse tags for time lapse sequences.
    When we come back from a long trip with tons of images, doing the initial tagging and labelling on the fly helps heaps. Say for instance I just want to work on panos tonight , I don't have to wade through the whole archive to find the images visibly but just click a yellow filter and type the location. My laptop is also a beast compared to my desktop so I,ll often collect all the pano files and export as a catalogue for the laptop to process.
    I hoe that makes sense. It adds simplicity to selection if you constantly jump from place to place in the archive which I am prone to do.
    It's not a necessity, but it sure has taken away a short time required for each photo which over time, adds up!

    The import into separate folders works too, but I tend to like just importing, typing in the key words, then walking away to do things like baby care while fits happening. If I had to do several imports, I think it would actually be a little more inconvenient! Many ways to skin a cat but it works for us !
    Last edited by Dylan & Marianne; 22-10-2012 at 10:07pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    Imagine if you have 50,000 photos
    Not hard to imagine at all; I have something along the lines of 35,000 images in my hierarchy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    and some of them are HDR (very few in my case), some are focus stacked (quite a lot) and some more are time lapse, not to mention the videos. This means that some processed photos (or time lapse videos) go back to a single RAW image and some go back to multiple RAW images. I have no simple way of associating them. I may have several hundred, possibly over 1000 focus stacked images alone. The whole issue of how to organise photos gets more muddled when you have things like HDR or focus stacks in there.
    I'm still not understanding the problem.

    If you have three images, or three hundred images, it doesn't matter.

    If you preserve the camera's image filenames (as I do) and keep all of the images from a particular shoot in one directory (as I do), it's very clear from the filename sequence numbering and their location in a single directory, as well as the image previews in your library application, that they belong together.

    Here's a list of files from a directory for a specific shoot I did recently:

    IMG_9365.CR2
    IMG_9366.CR2
    IMG_9367.CR2
    IMG_9368 Processed.JPG
    IMG_9368 Processed.PSD
    IMG_9368.CR2
    IMG_9369.CR2
    IMG_9370.CR2
    IMG_9371.CR2
    IMG_9372.CR2
    IMG_9373.CR2
    IMG_9374.CR2
    IMG_9375.CR2
    IMG_9376.CR2
    IMG_9377.CR2
    IMG_9378.CR2
    IMG_9379.CR2
    IMG_9380.CR2
    IMG_9381.CR2
    IMG_9382 Processed.JPG
    IMG_9382 Processed.PSD
    IMG_9382.CR2
    IMG_9383.CR2
    IMG_9384.CR2
    IMG_9385.CR2
    IMG_9386.CR2
    IMG_9387.CR2
    IMG_9388.CR2
    IMG_9389.CR2
    IMG_9390.CR2
    IMG_9391.CR2
    IMG_9392.CR2
    IMG_9393.CR2
    IMG_9394.CR2
    IMG_9395.CR2

    In Adobe Bridge (which I use to view the images before convering the raw files), I can see all of these images.

    Files 9368 to 9374 all have the same composition (which is apparent when viewing the files in Bridge or Lightroom or whatever you use).

    I produced an HDR image from these nine files, and the multi-layered PSD file takes its filename from the first image in the series; ie, IMG_9368 Processed.PSD. The JPG I exported also uses that naming format.

    Given that I keep all of the files from one shoot in one directory, that I preserve the filenames, that I can visually see that images X to Y all have the same composition and have all undergone raw-conversion (Bridge highlights this fact with a little icon next to each preview), and that I name the final image based on the first image in the bracket, I have no trouble identifying that these nine images (plus the processed versions) belong together.

    It could be nine images or nine hundred. If you file and name them logically, you don't need any special software to tell you which images go together in a multi-image composite.

    A few years ago I published an article on my blog about my approach to image storage and backups. While it's a few years old and some of the details have marginally changed, my file storage method is the same one I've been using for ten years, and I don't have a problem finding things or knowing which images belong together.

    Here's my article:

    http://xenedis.wordpress.com/2010/07...e-and-backups/

    It might add a bit of clarity to what I am trying to say.

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    John, lets say you wanted to look at all of the panoramas you took during the Africa trip . I don't quite understand how you would easily do that if the files are all in separate folders from different shoots . Wouldn't you have to visually scan each individual folder? I am not saying your system isn't good. I just think it has limitations if you are relying on visual cues ( don't know about you but if I,m looking at lots of files in the library, the PC slows down so I want to look at as few as possible.

    Or do you import these all to Lightroom too?

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I don't think that it's at all obvious that images are part of a group. Say I take two slightly different focus stacks, one after the other. Where exactly does one end and the other start? HDR is a little easier but it still relies on you looking at the thumbnail to decide what it is. There is nothing easy in LR or other software to indicate the groupings. It would be nice if you could link all of the group to a primary name.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtoh View Post
    John, lets say you wanted to look at all of the panoramas you took during the Africa trip.
    That's easy -- I don't shoot panoramic images. ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by dtoh View Post
    I don't quite understand how you would easily do that if the files are all in separate folders from different shoots
    Ah, but I thought the idea was to find all images from a series of bracketed or focus-stacked images (for instance) which belong together, as opposed to a bunch of images shot yesterday, and a different bunch shot today.

    Under my filing system, they'd all be in the same directory.

    Quote Originally Posted by dtoh View Post
    Or do you import these all to Lightroom too?
    I don't use Lightroom.

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I've found something, Dylan. Perhaps the stack function in LR can help. It allows you to select a group of images, right click, and group them into a stack. That may help considerably as it removes all except the first (?) image from the grid view and it groups the images together.

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