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More HDR

A week or so ago I shot off over 500 exposures to have a play with HDR, I did an earlier blog about it here

Anyway I finally got around to processing the rest of the frames and continued with my HDR experiments.


Reflections in a pond

I never did get a shot of the supermoon, I took this a couple of days before

What's HDR?

HDR "High Dynamic Range", yup, I knew you would ask that, honestly I don't know exactly what it is, this however is my interpretation of what it is.

All the pictures in this blog are composite images, at least 3 frames, 1 frame -1.0 EV, 1 frame 0.0 EV (camera standard) 1 frame +1.0 EV then compiled into a single frame in Photomatix essentials, then mosatly tonemapped with the painterly preset, some were processed as natural as tonemapping looked awful.

The idea I think is bring out details in a single picture that wouldn't normally be visible.

Hay's Galleria, on the South Bank of the Thames, I just liked the look of the roof hence this angle.


One thing I hear photographers say a lot is "look behind you", and if you do a 180 degree from the entrance of Hay's Galleria you have H.M.S. Belfast moored on the Thames.

Now, standing on the South Bank if you look left, you see what I consider to be the World's most boring bridge, it's horrible and not a patch on the beautiful old bridge that stood there until 1968..London embarrassing.

I think someone had the great idea of "Let's make this really boring bridge look better by lighting it in red" well honestly, what a waste of time, it now looks like the World's most boring bridge but lit in red.


Looking right from the Belfast and in attempt to stop myself from poking my eyes out after taking a picture of the World's most boring bridge I saw these Barges moored on the river and thought they looked like they would make a good photo, so I took one.

Now if you zoom out from the barges, you get the Tower of London, I guess by today's standards not exactly a tower, but in 1078 when it was built it was considered to be a bit of a marvel.

And of course if you look left again, you come across what I consider to be London's best looking bridge, many foreign visitors mistakenly call this "The London Bridge", it is of course Tower Bridge, and is everything London Bridge should have been, maybe the tourists have it right after all?


 This is my local pond at night.

All of the above were taking at either dusk or night

Daytime HDR

Now one school of thought is that HDR lends itself better to night shots, well the only real way to see if that is true is to take some daylight shots, which is just what I did, nothing overly photogenic here, just things that caught my eye.

This is a tree, just in case you weren't aware of this


This is a lamp post, again, just in case you couldn't tell

This is a completely random car.. oh ok, well it's mine

Thanks to the members of this forum I know know that this a Blue Tit

This course is a Magpie.

And this is a Robin.

This is one of my cats, his name is 'effoff' really it is ,because whenever you sit down or any visitors sit down he sits on their laps and makes a nuisance of himself, that wasn't his name, but he gets called it so often he only responds to it now.

And this is my other stupid Cat who falls asleep in the daftest of places, but what actually caught my eye was the crow, I kid you not, it really is sitting inside the chimney.




4 people like this.

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Date Wed, 09/05/2012 - 18:00

Enjoyed that Steve just like your other blog. So again it's a like from me.


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Date Wed, 09/05/2012 - 18:02

OK! I'm going to be quite blunt here. You've got some good HDR's there but you've got some awful ones as well. For instance the moon is full of noise as evidenced by the speckles in the bluish sort of sky. You've also got the dreaded Halos from over-processing the HDR tone-mapping, especially the strength slider. That's evident in the cat and along the roof-line of the last image, as well as the close-up of the Tower of London.

On the other hand HMS Belfast is looking good, as is Tower Bridge. 


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Date Wed, 09/05/2012 - 18:09

Hi Steve

I am not the biggest fan of HDR (as Mike will tell you).  Sometimes it's "over-cooked" in my opinion.  However, I love the one of your car and the birdies.

Love  "Effoff"  too!!!  We used to have one called "cooking-fat", well I think that's what Steph used to call it!!!

Nice one Steve

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Date Wed, 09/05/2012 - 18:28

Some good tutorials from practicioners of the Black Art

Captain Kimo


Trey Ratcliffe

Each of those three is an acknowledged master of using the HDR Technique and their tutorials are very good.


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Date Wed, 09/05/2012 - 20:03

Hay Galleria and the bridges are my favourites.

I did not see the 'before' cat photo but the one which is in the blog now looks good, just like a fat curious cat should look like Smile

Mögen alle Lebewesen wohlauf und glücklich sein
Verehrung Ihm, dem Erhabenen, Heiligen, völlig Erwachten!

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Date Thu, 10/05/2012 - 07:37

Looking much better.....although the last one of HMS Belfast looks a bit heavy in the clouds.

Despite what many people say I've always believed that there is no right or wrong when using HDR. It's a technique, not a style, and how we interpret using that technique is up to us, whether it be the garishly surreal or the more subtle you wouldn't know it's HDR.

Recently there has been a drive to try and get more natural looking HDR images with programs such as HDR Express, HDR Expose, Oloneo Photo Engine and SNS HDR Pro being released, all of which give that more natural look. In fact with Express, Expose and SNS you would be hard pushed to create anything other than a subtle HDR, it's just the way the software has been developed.

As a long term practicioner of the Black Art I have most of the well known HDR software programs installed on my PC and a good few that aren't so well known. Nearly all of them, bar one, I got as legal freebies (another story) but my weapon of choice these days is Machinery HDR Effects. It's not as slick as PhotoMatix, it's still in the development process, but updates are free and I just like the results I get with very little effort.

Most of my HDR images I post process in Photoshop Elements. Captain Kimo gives some great hints on post processing and his video tutorials are easy to follow. Another very good HDR practicioner is Rob Hanson, I forgot to mention him last night. He has done a series of video tutorials, which look at analysing the image through to final post processing, well worth watching.

As many of the HDR tutorials I've mentioned are hosted on YouTube it's well worth getting a plug-in/extension for your browser that allows you to download the YouTube content to your hard-drive. I use Chrome and I've got a free extension called YouTube Downloader (funnily enough). Using that I can download and watch in my own time.

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Date Thu, 10/05/2012 - 08:54

These are stunning! I have no experience with HDR (don't fully understand it) so I have no criticisms. Actually, can you produce these effects with the software supplied with the camera? I am planning to upgrade to the HS20 from the S2970 (entry level camera). Do you think I could do anything like this with the HS20 and its supplied software or do you have to buy special software?



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Date Thu, 10/05/2012 - 10:46

Great blog Steve, I am also a fan of good HDR pictures. I suppose some people enjoy photo manipulation and others do not, one thing you did right was to contact Mike, I hope it will not embarrass him by saying he is a really helpful guy and he gave me some great pointers with a problem I had when trying out some new software. On a more personal note I prefer to see the full HDR effect as in your first few pictures rather than just subtle effects that usually have to be pointed out to the viewer.

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Date Thu, 10/05/2012 - 12:28

An interesting blog, HDR is not my cup of tea, but I can see why you like it.  It certainly gives an extra depth (no pun intended) to your creativeness.

Whilst writing this I had another look through the pics.  The Hay Gallery I think is superb.


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Date Thu, 10/05/2012 - 19:00

You've produced another interesting blog with some good looking shots which I've enjoyed looking at. The only one I would say still needed editing, although not for HDR purposes, but to correct the vertical aspect would be the first shot of Tower Bridge, immediately after The Tower itself. It appears to be tilted and looks wrong to me.

Great stuff and inspiring.

My Gallery



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Date Thu, 10/05/2012 - 20:19

Its nice to see HDR done to its best because I think it is badly used, usually OTT but not enough.  Your use of the medium shows there is a place for the extreme end of the spectrum with the right subject. I liked the tree and the lampost shots.  If I saw them as posters in a shop I would consider buying them. liked the first few HMS Belfast shots as well.

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Date Thu, 10/05/2012 - 20:53

Perhaps you can straighten the finished shot in software. Last blog it was possible to choose a favourite, I wouldn't be able to this time, too many excellent shots.

My Gallery



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Date Sat, 12/05/2012 - 11:47

I don't really know much about this sort of thing but get the impression that it can be over done, not that it's a bad thing as with many things some times if over done it gives you a different perspective of the shot. I'm all for experimentation as some of you will know and I try to promote this, So I will say some I liked others just did not appeal but then they did to others and that's what it's all about from my point of view, carry on with the experiments, best of luck regards Leon. a like from me.

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Date Mon, 14/05/2012 - 06:40

Some great shots here, Steve. Nothing too OTT in my mind - keep them coming!

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Date Sun, 10/06/2012 - 16:48

Absolutely stunning Steve..

It's you that gives me the inspiration to try and experiment with HDR.



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Date Tue, 19/06/2012 - 08:48

nice blog...yes some foreigners call it the London Bridge when they know all along it is the Tower bridge but it was late at night and they were tired...They corrected it and wrote a comment for you and  also commented on Big Ben as everyone world wide calls it, we all know it is actually the bell inside the clock in "St. Stephens or Clock Tower" Some historians say its official name is The Clock Tower and some say it is St. Stephens so take your pick. I have a photo of underneath London Bridge with London Bridge etched into the wall so I really really did know that the Tower Bridge was really the Tower Bridge LOL. Sorry couldn't resist Steve...

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