Archive for the ‘hdr collaboration’ Tag

Inland Sailor – An HDR Collaboration Project   19 comments


The HDR Collaboration Project: In each round, one photographer provides a set of image brackets to the group, and we apply our personal style in post-processing the set. The person who provides the brackets posts the results, and as most would agree, it’s fascinating to discover how each contributor ‘sees’ the same scene. 


Oh, the guff I took over this one!

As we were emailing each other for the latest project, I asked the group what genre of brackets they’d like this time. A mighty chorus of one chimed in with “waterscape.”  So be it: Let’s see what I’ve got in the library.

One potential bracket set had 11 frames, but with a heavy sun flare and dust spots, I thought it would be more effort than they’d like to endure. Another composition was decent, but nothing all that spectacular.  “Okay, I like this other one,” I thought as I uploaded my chosen bracket set to DropBox.

What I’ve learned is that one should never present a paltry three-bracket set to these Big Guns without expecting a lot of ribbing about a simple -2/0/+2 EV set. You’ll see how they processed that sad bit of information in their comments below each picture. They’re all friends, so I don’t mind giving them a place to vent their rage.  🙂

So, why I did I have the audacity – the unmitigated gall – to present only three exposures to this pool of talent?  Allow me to explain:

We were in Maine, on Mount Desert Island, one of the most scenic places I know.

Many died that night. Four, in fact. There were horrible cracking noises, much gnashing of teeth, moaning, slurping… and a good bit of drawn butter. Susan and I had gone to the southwest side of the island to Thurston’s Lobster Pound, one of the best in the area. We were all over those lobsters like crazed squirrels on a feeder. (If you’re unfamiliar with a lobster pound, it’s a restaurant directly on the docks at the waterfront, where lobster boats unload their daily catch. The bugs go into holding tanks near the cash register, and you can choose, name, and give last rites to your dinner before it gets hauled off to the steamer. You can’t get a fresher Maine lobster.)

We finished dinner and went back to our campsite at Somes Sound, then decided to go out onto the camp’s dock to catch the setting sun. This dock was a challenge in the best of circumstances. Made of aluminum sections, it extended about 80 yards over the water, but as you walked it, it wobbled back and forth pretty badly. By the time I got to the end, I figured it would be best to flop on my belly and get low for stability. There was no way to stabilize a tripod there, and besides, I wanted a perspective as low as possible to the water.

That taught me another lesson: Never roll around on your belly after filling it with a bunch of lobster.  Being in a bit of discomfort, I set the camera to bracket and fired off a quick, handheld set of three.

Most of the photographers here routinely take bracket sets of 5, 7, 9, and 11 or 13 is not unheard of. When the chorus of indignant howls came up from the group, I told them, “Suck it up! Go back to your roots.”  We all pretty much started our exploration of HDR with minimal sets of three, so I thought it would be a good exercise to revisit that idea. As it turned out, the three frames provided plenty of dynamic range to keep these pros happy, and in my opinion, they all did a fantastic job, expressing their individuality on a fairly classic situation.

Following are the versions from myself, Mike “TheaterWiz” CriswellJim DenhamScott FrederickMark GarbowskiJacques “FotoFreq” GudéMark Gvazdinskas, and Bob Lussier. Each photographer represented here has a body of work that speaks volumes to their talents. Please be sure to visit their sites by clicking the links associated with each name.


Inland Sailor by Rob Hanson :


Inland Sailor by Mike “Theaterwiz” Criswell :

Inland Sailor by Mike 'Theaterwiz' Criswell


“Thanks for the cool brackets Rob, I really like the scene, they actually came together quite nice, and a nice steady hand I might add.

“I ran all three brackets through Photomatix, although it faulted out and asked where the other 6 to 9 brackets were at, after I got past that hurdle I went through some normal fixes, then decided I wanted to do something a bit different with the processing, at least different for me. I used OnOne Perfect Effects and only perfect effects. I had about 3 different versions and finally decided on this one. Although I do not remember the exact effects I used, I know a few were from the landscape presets and I added a cloud texture as well. I was having so much fun with the different effects and how to use them I was happier creating that taking notes. After I was finished with OnOne I chose a different crop, to narrow the field of vision a bit, I liked the result. Thanks again Rob!”


Inland Sailor by Jim Denham :

Inland Sailor by Jim Denham


“What a beautiful scene Rob has presented for us. A gorgeous sunset over a calm inland bay. Fantastic Rob – thanks for sharing!

“In the normal banter that takes place amongst this group, a few folks were giving Rob a hard time for supplying an image with only 3 brackets and, in response, Rob said, “Suck it up; go back to your roots,” and that’s what I did. No presets, only some layering in Elements and final touches in Aperture. I loved the sky and wanted to darken it up a bit to bring out the colors. Also loved the rocky shore to camera left and wanted to make sure it stayed illuminated and sharp. I thoroughly enjoyed this set Rob, thanks for taking care of us this round!”


Inland Sailor by Scott Frederick :

Inland Sailor by Scott Frederick


“This was a great set to work on by Rob Hanson for two reasons.  I don’t get a lot of chances to shoot scenes like this and our collaboration group has a tendency to edit grungier brackets, so this was a refreshing change! I had two runs at this image.  The first pass through Photomatix without the de-ghosting option enabled allowed some ghosting of the trees in the water to bug me a little.  So back through Photomatix to take care of that!  Also Rob shot this scene handheld with 3 brackets at 2EV spacing and I must admit, I was very happy with the results that these brackets 3 brackets gave me while tone-mapping.  Next was off to Photoshop CS5 for some lens correction to fix the distortion and CA, a little noise reduction with Nik’s Dfine and some sharpening with Nik’s RAW Pre-Sharpener.  Next I fired up onOne’s Perfect Effect 3 and applied a few filters before bringing the images back to CS5 to apply some Un-Sharp Mask to the boats, trees and rocks!  As always, I finished the image off in Aperture 3 with subtle contrast and brightness adjustments, curves and levels and some saturation adjustments!  Thank you Rob for hosting this round and providing this fun set to work with!”


Inland Sailor by Mark Garbowski :

Inland Sailor by Mark Garbowski


“Never apologize in this group. That’s the lesson from this round. Rob made excuses as he posted the image for us to work with this week, because it only had 3 brackets, and we greedy folks are used to a minimum of 5 and as many as 11. So of course we all teased him before we even looked at them. And of course there was no need for any excuses.

“I loved working on these. I first made a version that enhanced the original golden hour look, and did that mostly in Nik Color Efex 4. Then I created a blue version in the latest update of OnOne’s Perfect Suite. While still in that powerful new suite, I pulled the golden version in as a layer and blended them using the masks and layer feature in the suite. The end result is I flipped the image from golden hour to blue hour. My final move was to crop out most of the sky and foreground, emphasizing the elements of interest in the horizon and creating a bit of a panoramic feel.”


Inland Sailor by Jacques “Fotofreq” Gudé :

Inland Sailor by Jacques "Fotofreq" Gudé


“At first, when I saw this set of brackets, I thought to myself: Oh, No! A landscape shot!  I’m not a landscape dude.  How the heck am I gonna do this?  So, I left them there on my desktop, not sure what I wanted to do to with them.  Fast forward to about a week later, and I was in a Google Hangout with my boys, Rob Hanson and Bob Lussier, I believe a day or two before Thanksgiving.  Heck, I’d completely forgotten about these brackets, when Rob asked something along the lines of: “So, when are you two going to get those brackets done.  No rush, but I wanted to post them RIGHT NOW!”  Ok, so maybe not that moment, but he wanted them soon.  Turns out Bob and I were holding up the crew.  It’s done when it’s done, right?

“A couple days later (Black Friday), while most of America (probably exaggerating here, but not much) were out shopping, I found myself a nice “quite” corner in a Starbucks near my hotel and went to work.  I ran the brackets through Photomatix and HATED what I was getting there.  Dang!! What to do?  I know!  DRI (aka Dynamic Range Increase)!  Or at least I think that’s what they call it when you merge (or blend) your brackets together manually.  I’d done this once before, and loved the result.  So I opened all the brackets up in Photoshop CS 5 and went to work, painting in here and painting out there until I had a nice canvas to play with.  I was already digging what I saw and the tunes I was working with (First Hans Zimmer’s Last Samurai soundtrack, and then his Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s Ends soundtrack.) were REALLY inspiring me.  I used various blend modes to get particular looks I wanted as I my drawing hand danced around my Wacom table: here a brush stroke, there a stroke, everywhere a stroke, stroke).  A little dodge here, a little burn there, and I even learned a few new techniques in Photoshop along the way; that happens when you are after a particular look somewhere on your canvas and are not sure how to go about creating said effect, which is ALWAYS good.  Finally, and I was done, and I was digging what I saw.”


Inland Sailor by Mark Gvazdinskas :

Inland Sailor by Mark Gvazdinskas


“What a fun set of brackets, Rob! One of my favorite things to do when new brackets are dropped is to blindly put them into Photomatix and drool at the possibilities.

“I put on my “Kiss the Cook” apron and deep fried the heck out of this one.  The second I loaded the brackets I noticed the clouds and the reflection. I hated to take out the amazing detail in those gorgeous clouds but felt this was the perfect opportunity to do some practice in OnOne’s Perfect Effects. In order to give this a long exposure feel I first did a full strength radial blur layer. I then added a glow to the sky and water to give that glassy appearance. I always like the warmth I get out of my 10 stop and wanted to create a feel like that so went a little crazy with the colors here. I was going to do a sharpening layer for the boats as Photomatix always seems to take a bit of that tact-sharp feel out of the image, but decided to leave them be giving somewhat of a blurred effect as if the shutter was open for 30+ seconds and the boats would be rocking. Finally I added a pretty heavy vignette. All editing done within Perfect Effects and Layers. This software is just something else.

“All in all an absolute blast to work on this gorgeous set. Thanks for the opportunity to destroy your pretty shot, Rob!”


Inland Sailor by Bob Lussier :

Inland Sailor by Bob Lussier


“Thanks to Mr. Hanson for providing a great set of brackets to work with. And, from one of my favorite places to shoot Acadia National Park, Mt Desert Island, Maine.  I have probably driven past this little harbor dozens of times over the years but, unlike Rob never had the vision to stop and shoot it! So thanks for looking out for me, Rob!

“I used this opportunity to play around a bit with onOne’s new Perfect Photo Suite. I figured, since it was Rob’s image I would potentially be screwing up, I had nothing to lose! After running the three brackets through Photomatix, I pulled them into the Photo Suite. I ran the “Daily Vitamin” filter on it, which boosted the local contrast and punched up the colors a bit with emphasis on the blues in the sky. I then went to the “Glow” tab and added some “Deep Forest.” I really love how the shore, boats and treelike are mirrored in this image, so I wanted to bring back some of the contrast. I added one more layer in onOne and painted in some “lighten” tonal adjustment on the boats, dock, house and some of the rocks on the left shoreline.

Thanks again, Rob!”



Thanks for your entries, gentlemen. See you for the next round.


BEWARE – An HDR Collaboration Project   9 comments


Time for another round of the HDR Collaboration project! This time, the brackets were hosted by Mark “Silent G” Gvazdinskas, but since he doesn’t yet have a blog, I offered to put his results here. Mark promised us all a free puppy if we hosted him. Personally, I like Black Labs.

If this is your first time visiting the HDR Collaboration project, in each round one contributor provides a set of image brackets to the group, and we apply our personal sense of style in post-processing. As we usually see in the results, there is a wide range of ‘personality’ that can be applied to a given image. A good image is created in post-processing in equal measure to the importance of composition, lighting, lens choice, and other factors, and it’s always fascinating to see how others ‘see’ the same picture.

Each photographer represented here has a body of work that speaks volumes to their talents. Please be sure to visit their pages, galleries, and blogs by clicking the links associated with each name.

So, Mark Gvazdinskas presents the following, but…. do BEWARE :


“Welcome to this installment of the HDR Collaboration Project!  This is my first time hosting brackets and second time participating—what an incredible opportunity it is to be working with these talented photographers. The usual suspects took part in this round: Mike “TheaterWiz” Criswell, Jim DenhamJacques “FotoFreq” GudéRob Hanson, Bob LussierMark Garbowski, and myself, Mark Gvazdinskas.

The images start with my own version so here goes:

BEWARE by Mark Gvazdinskas

“I don’t know about everyone else but I had a heck of a time with this set. I’ve shot this area in Marin Headlands, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, several times and have only once lucked out with sun. Naturally, that day I didn’t have the fisheye. Knowing this particular day would be foggy (in SF, GET OUT) I still made the trip up the winding road to grab this entire abandoned WWI/II bunker with the Nikkor 10.5mm/f2.8 Fisheye lens. I stood with my back to the corner and fired away — the bunker is maybe 10x10ft and the fisheye was the only way to grab all the tags and windows without pano gear. The fog made this especially tough as there truly wasn’t much background to work with, but rest assured this is one of the most rugged and gorgeous coastlines you’ll ever stumble upon (which is why I find the BEWARE tag to be so fitting) — views will take you all the way up Highway 1 to Muir and Stinson Beaches and leave the lonely Pacific Coast Highway trailing off in the distance. I personally love the eerie, foggy days in Marin Headlands. You can’t see the bridge but you know it’s there and all you can hear beyond the crashing waves is the bellow of a horn from Point Bonita Lighthouse — it feels like Shutter Island.

I used all the available brackets, put them through Photomatix 4.0, then into Lightroom 3 for some tweaking. Naturally Color Efex Pro and Focal Point 2 came into the mix, but only a couple layers since the background didn’t have much more than fog and an undetermined horizon.

I hope everyone had a good time with this set and thanks again for letting me share!”

BEWARE by Mark "Silent G" Gvazdinskas


BEWARE by Mike “Theaterwiz” Criswell:

“Thanks for the great brackets Mark aka Silent “G”, fun to play with for sure. This is actually a second version after I butchered the outside scene in the first by mistake. I ran all 9 brackets through Photomatix then started throwing all kinds of filters at the image, I think I started over 3 times in the process. Athough I had too many tweaks to even keep track of most everything was done in Topaz, I even used a hint of the new B&W effects plugin. I wanted to give the weird Alien art a presence and I wanted the inside of the bunker to have a nice warm glowing feeling without taking away from the foggy goodness of the outside scene. Thanks again for the brackets “G””

BEWARE by Mike "Theaterwiz" Criswell


BEWARE by Jim Denham:

“Thanks to Mark “Silent G” for supplying the brackets and to Rob for hosting this round of the collaboration project! Love this scene and how it really is two scenes in one – The graffiti covered building interior and the beautiful coastal scene on the exterior! Good stuff.

I focused on two things, the ‘Beware’ writing above the window on the right because it was the title of the image, and the scenic outdoors. Made a selection of the outdoor panels in order to edit them separate from the indoors. Darkened up the outside a bit and added some saturation, along with some sharpening. To the inside, I applied the Spicify preset from Topaz, then dodged the ‘Beware’ letters to make them standout a bit while darkening up the rest.”

BEWARE by Jim Denham


BEWARE by Jacques “Fotofreq” Gudé:

“Man, Silent “G”, what a great set of brackets.  Used to be I did not care for graffiti in URBEX environments, but I suppose I’ve come to appreciate some of the cool wall art out there.  In this shot, I really dug the ‘Beware’ graphics, together with that cool green dude, which is why I tried to accentuate those elements.  To process this one, I used only  seven of the brackets, dumping the darkest two.  After running those seven brackets through Photomatix, I pulled the resulting tone-mapped canvas into Photoshop CS5, together with the 5 lightest original bracketed shots.  After masking in the parts I needed to get the base look I envisioned, I used several of Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters, as well as Nik’s Viveza 2 to finish things off.  As always, my Wacom Intuos 4 tablet was indispensable in my post-processing.  Thanks a million for letting me work this set, Mark!”

BEWARE by Jacques "Fotofreq" Gudé


BEWARE by Rob Hanson:

“Thanks for the great set of brackets, Mark!

I found this to be an interesting subject. As I looked at the elements, it seemed that there were only a few ways to go, as the surroundings are fairly straightforward — no mysterious stairways, no dark secrets, no creepy asbestos hanging from the ceiling. Then I realized that my approach would lay in balancing the interesting, grungy interior with the sublime scenic view outside. Too much or too little in either direction would yield an unrealistic balance.

My result is based, then, on HDR Express and 32 Float, programs which render color well and provide a very realistic result. Float allowed me to create several 32-bit layers — one for the base, one to highlight the exterior, and one for the interior, masking in and out along the way. Once I had the overall balance where I wanted, I boiled the file down to 16-bit and went off in other directions.

In addition to bringing out the details and knocking down saturation in some areas, I used warming and cooling filters and dodging/burning to lead the eye where I wanted it to go — past the blue man and out the door.  I also took out some of the severe fisheye effect without removing it altogether… it just seemed a bit too bendy at first. Finally, I used my super-secret-patented* de-fringing technique to get rid of some obvious magenta fringe around the doorways. (* It’s no secret at all.)  In all, I had about 25 different layers during processing.

I really enjoyed processing this set, as it provided a unique challenge in balancing two disparate elements — the landscape view and interior grunge. Very interesting…”

BEWARE by Rob Hanson


BEWARE by Bob Lussier:

“Mr G, this is awesome. I’ve only been to the Bay area once. This image makes me want to go back and explore. I kept to a relatively straightforward processing style for this. After running the brackets through Photomatix, I used a couple of filters in onOne’s PhotoTools suite. Just a touch of Blue Dawn Leonidas and some sharpening. I reversed the mask on the sharpening layer and removed the effect on the outdoors portion of the image. I wanted to make sure the interior maintained a crusty, grungy feel, in contrast to the slightly soft outdoors.”


BEWARE by Bob Lussier

BEWARE by Mark Garbowski:

“These brackets nearly broke me. I don’t think it was anything inherent to the brackets. I think it was me, but the difficulty was real.

In my first attempt, I tried using the outdoor window views from one original bracket while heavily modifying the interior. It just ended up a chaotic, ugly mess with lots of halos and chromatic aberrations.

I’m still not in love with this result but I am at least satisfied with it. I applied the Tea Stained filter from On One to the Interior, then added the following Nik filters to the entire image: Pro Contrast, Skylight, and Brilliance/Warmth (with slider set to slightly cool). The last two filters somewhat counteract each other but I prefer the result to how it looks without either one applied. Go figure.

Finally, I added a lens correction in Photoshop because I personally was distracted by the curved doors and windows.

Silent G: I don’t think you meant it to be this hard but as it stands you challenged me and in the end i enjoyed it. Thanks.”

BEWARE by Mark Garbowski


Thanks for your entries, gentlemen. See you for the next round.







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