Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Another HDR / non HDR comparison

One of these photos is a downsampled HDR -- the other is one of the 11 photos used to assemble the HDR. Can you tell which is which? ;) Click to enlarge.


Nicolas said...

Hi Ryan,

Congratulations for all this pictures (including the ones with Lanette). The HDRs that you produced look really great...
Can you tell me where precisely does this church stand in Nebraska?
Also can you post on Flickr the full size picture of this last HDR (and possibly put somewhere else the watermarks; it really looks horrible on the wall!! :-) )))
It makes some great desktop's wallpaper!
Congrats again. Cheers.

Dooser said...

Second is HDR?

Ryan McGinnis said...

Yep! The second is HDR. :)

Sorry, nicolas -- I can't provide it any larger (1280px wide should be plenty wide for most monitors out there!), and while I know the watermark is a bit obtrusive, it's kinda required at the resolution it's at to avoid people stealing and selling my photos to stock agencies. (Happened to another photographer that I know.) The good news is that it's a less obtrusive watermark than most watermarks are (and still a real bear to try to remove with Photoshop)-- most watermarks are across the entire image.

Glad you liked 'em!

Mike from NJ said...


File names give it away ;) but truly, the difference is astounding.

The things you're able to accomplish with the HDR technique gives me the impression that those 'altered' photos are more representative of what the human eye would actually be able to experience in those situations. Even taking assorted random (cheapy digital camera) photos myself, I've noticed how... washed out... a lot of pics seem. (Then again I'm a rank amateur, and not a pro like you, Ryan)

They're simply amazing to look at, and are a good reason I come back to 'Backing Winds' every week.

Thanks for providing wonderful visual stimulation, Ryan and Lanette.

Anonymous said...

Ryan - What are the holes in the floor along the aisle?

Ryan McGinnis said...

Hi! The holes in the floor are for a channel of pebbles that water flows over, creating a pleasing sound. It only flows in the Spring and Summer (it'd be a block of ice right now if they left it on). Really neat architecture, IMO.

Nicolas said...

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for your answer, I totally understand your point regarding watermark.
About the size, I was asking because the biggest size on Flickr is "only" 850x567, when you usually post at 1280. 1280px wide totally suits me!! :-))
And regarding the location in Nebraska, can you tell me where it is? I'm curious to see what the church looks like seen from Google Earth. (I'm based in France)

Once again, thanks for all, I'm a big fan of your work, and I learn a lot looking at your pictures.
Mines can be found here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/zedwarf/ but are definitely less interesting than yours.
I will try to post later in the week some pictures that I took yesterday night in Paris...

Ryan McGinnis said...

Hi! Nicolas! You're right -- that one is 850 px. However, I'll try to get a 1280 version of that up later today to replace it. You should be able to click on the image on this page later today and have it bring up the 1280 verison on Flickr. :)

BTW, the shrine from space looks like this!

Kinda boring from above!

Whitney said...

Strangely, I like the non-HDR image more...I think I may just not be used to seeing HDR images, so it seems a little counterintuitive to see the whole range of values. I've enjoyed most of your other HDR images, this one just looks little unnatural to me for some reason.

How do you watermark your photos? Photoshop? Right now I'm only posting low res images and mostly stuff I don't think anyone would bother stealing, but you never know...

Ryan McGinnis said...

Hi! Yep, I use Photoshop to put in the watermarks. It's pretty easy and quick; you just type out the text you want at the size you want, rasterize it, then do a "Layer->Free Transform". You can then move the text around, rotate it, and distort it any way you want by holding down CTRL and clicking and dragging any of the box's points. When you're done, you decrease the opacity of the layer until it's just faintly visible. It's best to stick the watermark somewhere where it doesn't ruin the image, but would be a total bear to remove.

I agree with you that that HDR seems a bit unnatural. The problem is that, while capturing the whole range of dynamic information, the information has to be heavily compressed for normal monitors, since today's monitors don't have the ability to be so bright they give you retinal burns -- like the sun can. :)

I like to envision HDR like parts of a photograph. Say you have an image the is 5000 pixels wide and a monitor that can only display 1024 pixels. You can either take a slice of the image that is 1024 pixels wide and display that or you can compress the image down so that it is now 1024 pixels wide. With the former, you retain detail but lose the "big picture". With the latter, you retain the big picture, but lose detail. HDR is similar in that you can either take a slice of the dynamic range (i.e., one shot, exposed for whatever you think is most important to be exposed correctly), staying closer the correct contrast ratio for those things that fall within the sampled dynamic range, or you can compress the range (i.e., sample the whole range with many shots, merge them, and then downsample them), which preserves the detail that the eye sees as a whole, but violates the contrast ratio that the eye sees. The sun is thousands of times as bright as the interior of the church, but you can't show that on today's monitors.