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Thread: HDR and large format?

  1. #1

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    HDR and large format?

    I have searched some old threads about hdr on the forum and haven't seen any too recent or from people employing it for large format.

    I shoot 8x10 primarily and I imagine it wouldn't be practical there because trying to work with three or four 800 meg 16bit rgb images would grind my dual quad core to a halt plus the cost of 8x10 trannie's wouldn't be much fun either.

    I still have my 4x5 and I photograph in the swamps of Florida under very difficult lighting conditions. So I was thinking it may be worth trying.

    I scan with a Creo IQ 2 which offers lot's of range but I am still looking for more.

    I have seen some very nasty looking images done with hdr and thats not what I am going for. I am looking to use it for more a subtle effect.

    So are any of you employing this method or do you know of any well done examples out there? Please share some images if you have any.

    Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    John
    www.gladesgallery.com

  2. #2

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    Re: HDR and large format?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Brady View Post
    I have searched some old threads about hdr on the forum and haven't seen any too recent or from people employing it for large format.

    I shoot 8x10 primarily and I imagine it wouldn't be practical there because trying to work with three or four 800 meg 16bit rgb images would grind my dual quad core to a halt plus the cost of 8x10 trannie's wouldn't be much fun either.

    I still have my 4x5 and I photograph in the swamps of Florida under very difficult lighting conditions. So I was thinking it may be worth trying.

    I scan with a Creo IQ 2 which offers lot's of range but I am still looking for more.

    I have seen some very nasty looking images done with hdr and thats not what I am going for. I am looking to use it for more a subtle effect.

    So are any of you employing this method or do you know of any well done examples out there? Please share some images if you have any.

    Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    John
    Here is an article you may wish to read.

    http://www.thelightsright.com/CoachingSession4

    Photomatix may choke on large file sizes.

    You may wish to explore the HDR merge features of PS CS3 & CS4 Extended, particularly CS4 extended.

    Don Bryant

  3. #3
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: HDR and large format?

    HDR makes some level of sense when your capture medium has limited dynamic range. So if you insist on tranny film, and you want to photograph in SBRs larger than the tranny film can handle, then perhaps it would work for you.

    Or... you could switch to negative films. I've never had a need for HDR using negative films. This would save you some serious bucks when shooting 10x8, and some serious hassle in Photoshop that isn't really needed.

    But as always, YMMV.

    Bruce Watson

  4. #4

    Re: HDR and large format?

    I find HDR difficult to deal with. Adobe's requires conversion to rgb and back if the original is grayscale. Obviously as you suggest the file sizes get quite large from scanned sheet film, but how big a problem that is depends on your system. Adobe's interface is very non-intuitive, and it takes a few tries to get anything useful. Photomatix always chokes when I throw these big scans at it so I have no results to show from that. These tools are not really meant for this task, but can be made to help, as you suggest, in difficult lighting situations, which I tend to be drawn to. The problem is not that the film can't handle the range, or our scanners. The challenge for me has been to get to my original impression of the scene into a print I find pleasing, a straight approach to highly contracted film often is not what I had in mind, even though in the end the print may have a "straight" feel.
    Complex adjustment layer masking becomes the process, and can sometimes get frustrating. So HDR has occasionally helped. I've gone two ways- two different scans, one favoring highlight description with compressed shadows, and other with enhanced shadow detail at the expense of the highlights, and then HDRing these two. I think I recall it wanting exposure info, I just fake something in there. The 2nd way is simply creating two files like those above, but from one straight scan that had uniform linearity hight to low and no clipping, but obviously low local contrast and a flat feel. Both methods require Hi bit scans.
    Still, after HDR processing, I find it's a first step, and further editing definitely necessary, even possibly locally layering in parts of the original scans. The two attached images were done this way. It's been hit and miss each time, and I don't have a solid workflow to recommend.
    I do not enjoy going to such lengths frankly, and it's rare that i do. I don't enjoy maniputed looking prints, and prefer a direct adherence to the feel of the scene and the light. Sometimes, one curve, and some edge touch up and I'm done. But to paraphrase one of my favorite printers, Caponigro, I will pull out any and all tools I know of to get the print I want.
    So the bottom line of my rambling is- Yes, it can't be helpful if a creative approach to it's use is employed. I would also recommend downloading Perceptool and giving the demo a try on some of those difficult scans, it uses similar methods but from a single file, I'm still trying to determine it's usefulness. Again, a first step.
    Tyler
    http://www.custom-digital.com/

  5. #5

    Re: HDR and large format?

    in reading Bruce's post then rereading yours, I see you are shooting trannies, the above was a waste of time!!!! So I guess bracketing, multiple scans, and some major HDR moves are what you have to play with. I tried this little guy as a demo on some little DSLR captures, looks promising and economical -
    http://www.pangeasoft.net/pano/bracketeer/index.html
    Tyler

  6. #6

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    Re: HDR and large format?

    The impression I get is that the arguably best HDR program around (Photomatix) is oriented toward DSLR's and MFDB's, and no effort has been made to make it work reliably with large film scans. The other available HDR software tools are problematic to various degrees.

    This entire subject gives me a headache, and I just avoid the issue entirely and use either chrome or color neg film depending on subject contrast.

    An alternative to multi-scan HDR is combining color filtered scanned B&W negs into a single color image (something like Technicolor). This method is prone to registration issues due to subject movement, but I presume you could get even more dynamic range out of it versus color neg film by pulling the B&W negs. See Sandy King's posts in this thread:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...t=48583&page=4

  7. #7

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    Re: HDR and large format?

    "So are any of you employing this method or do you know of any well done examples out there?"

    Have you looked into compensating developers, or stand/semi-stand development ? Using such methods, people have been able to accomodate SBR ranges that would blow your mind, you might say.

    There has been a lot of discussion here and elsewhwere on these techniques.

  8. #8

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    Re: HDR and large format?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lee View Post
    "So are any of you employing this method or do you know of any well done examples out there?"

    Have you looked into compensating developers, or stand/semi-stand development ? Using such methods, people have been able to accomodate SBR ranges that would blow your mind, you might say.

    There has been a lot of discussion here and elsewhwere on these techniques.
    Thank you all for the input so far! I probably didn't make it clear but I am trying to work with color tranparancies. I am using Povia which has some latitude but not as much as color negative film. I am not a fan of negative film because it much grainier then my trannies.

    I am still intrigued by this process if it is feasible.

  9. #9

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    Re: HDR and large format?

    I have on occasion exposed two transparencies and then combined them in Photoshop using a combination of luminosity masking and adjustments to the opacity of the top layer to achieve the look I wanted. I have tried various HDR programs but have never been impressed enough to purchase one even for my DSLR images. I have also tried the built in HDR processing in CS3 but was again unimpressed. Given the time it takes any HDR program to process even 10mp images I would hesitate to use one with scanned LF images.

    David Whistance

  10. #10

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    Re: HDR and large format?

    I probably didn't make it clear but I am trying to work with color tranparancies.

    In that case, you may want to consider a different media - or use what cinematographers use, when shooting outdoors: big reflectors and lights.

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