Yes. Not HDR. Just real life.

Fifth Street and Lamar Blvd. "Red Car."

Is it more honest if you just happen to catch it all in one exposure while you are holding the camera in your bare hands? Is HDR just a reflection of our lack of patience or our need to have everything happen in a controllable way? Does the reliance on a few techniques rob us of our spontaneity? 


Mr said...

well, lets fix those possible issues...

post the same image processed in 10 different ways....


Kirk Tuck said...

I don't understand the comment. But I like it.

Anonymous said...

"Is it more honest if you just happen to catch it all in one exposure while you are holding the camera in your bare hands?"

Depends on the shooter.
Honesty has little to do with shooting techniques. Mastering any technique requires skill and vision, it has little to do with honesty.

"Is HDR just a reflection of our lack of patience or our need to have everything happen in a controllable way?"

Depends on the shooter.
HDR is just a technique. As such it can be either used as originally intended, or abused/misused as usual. In the hands of morons, any technique will yield moronic results.

"Does the reliance on a few techniques rob us of our spontaneity?"

Depends on the shooter.
Whether or not one chooses to use a given tool or a technique is not as relevant as how and why one is using them.

Next meta question.

Jean Marc Schwartz said...

You know Kirk, my experience in my photographic work learned me that to have some patience and to wait that the miracle occurs is a luxury. Of the time of the argentic (which always exists), we produced an image of concordance of elements, light and contents. Today, cross one and the same image in the vegetable mill Photoshop and you obtain an image for every day of the week then according to its processing. I see a lot of image of landscape and nature where everybody desecrates goes into raptures, but for me to see the greasy processing and dripping with softwares reminds me that we go away from the purity of a photography. You see this woman? (By analogy) prefer you these breasts of course or boosted in the plastic surgery?

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to have spontaneity while thoughtfully composing a shot?

Is concentrated use of any technique or discipline counter to spontaneity?

If you consciously train yourself in technique to be unconsciously competent, and you react instinctively, are you still truly spontaneous?

Is spontaneity all that it's cracked up to be?

I don't know

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous Posters. Swagger, swagger. Do you understand what a Rhetorical Question is? The rest of us do.

Anonymous said...

I am quite enthusiastic about the use of HDR to create natural looking results. I've tried the enfuse algorithm, Oloneo, as well as other HDR and image fusion software which can produce lovely images when used in a subtle and measured way. HDR has revolutionized interior photography. What is very interesting is to apply film techniques of adding flash to either a series of exposures or to a single image and then combining it with an HDR sequence. I find HDR to be a wonderful tool to add to our disposal as photographers.

Kirk Tuck said...

And my POV is that HDR is ruining the art of interior architectural photos.

Anonymous said...

Many architectural photographers feel the same and try to avoid an overcooked look on their images.

Quite a few of interior photographers use enfuse for
dynamic range expansion only and to keep the resulting fused images as natural as possible. A touch of directional flash adds a nice subtle pop of light to the fusion process.

Great blog by the way. I am wage to find out if you like photographing with a Nikon D7100.

Claire said...

I have to say it, I hate HDR. With a passion, too. It does equate lazyness, slopiness in critical exposure, lack of artistic drive and ability to make choices, along with sorry visual taste, for me.
That being said (I guess I just made a whole new bunch of friends, lol...), I totally respect that people like and use it. Or overuse it ;-)

Noons said...

I reckon it depends on what the purpose is.

If we want a photo of reality, then HDR has no place.
(yes, it can enhance a photo and make it match our memory perception of the original moment. But it is not a photo)

If we want a striking image, then HDR and a lot of other "shop" techniques have their place. I'm OK with that, provided no one tries to pass a "shopped" image as photography.

I find RAW processing gives me all I want in terms of photo enhancement.

In the very few occasions when I want further manipulation - to make it convey a strong feeling or thought - then I make it obvious and no one in their right mind should imagine it was a simple photo.

I guess the above is just a way of saying "horse for courses"?

Anonymous said...

HDR,for me, prevents real entry into the scene. The photo of the red car has the same effect, for me, as a billboard on the highway: you notice it; but you are still on the highway. A well composed,skilfully exposed photograph, such as your counter scene, gives me the chance to enter the restaurant. I guess reality does that sort of thing. HDR is entertaining. I rarely look to photographs for the purpose of being entertained. I look to them with the hope of remembering, or possibly getting away.


Anonymous said...

"Do you understand what a Rhetorical Question is?"

Next question.

"If we want a photo of reality, then HDR has no place."

HDR, in its original form and intention, is reality. When done right, you might not even notice it's an HDR photo. That was the point. The usual tone mapped candy vomits labeled as HDR photos have little to do with that.

The old saying goes "when in doubt, leave it out." Case in point, the street scene featured. I bet it would look much better as a 'normal' photo, but one shouldn't really blame it on the HDR technique in general.

Many people can do almost as much damage with a single flick of the wrist on the LR clarity/vibrancy slider. The over-eager sliding happens way more often than the usual "HDR" treatment these days.

FWIW, I don't do HDR photos. They're not my cup of tea, and I'm too lazy, but I don't hate properly made HDR photos.

Anonymous said...

There is respected research being done at internationally respected universities by people who have PHDs in the study of developing natural high dynamic range algorithms. There is a natural HDR movement and excellent tonemappers available. Of course there is a rampant miss use of HDR processing or rather a lack of technique out there. How about HDR done right? It is certainly possible to control the sliders in the software to achieve excellent results.

Claire said...

I totally agree with the last point made by "Anonymous". HDR is not the culprit for the vomit colored shorts, improper use, and interpretation, of the technique, is.
I guess aside from the visual offense (which is real for me), what unsettles me about HDR is the core philosophy, aka refusing to work with what you have, and make an educated choice in advance so the outcome matches your vision of the scene. I use Sony cameras (mirrorless) that sport top of the class DR, so I do have a pretty neat tool to start with, and I *do* use the "built-in" DR enhancer known as DRO, *at its LOWEST* level. DRO lifts the shadows in my shots just to the level of what my eye naturally sees, in normally contrasty conditions. Other than that, I deal, as anybody else, with a lot of situations where the contrast is more than the camera can handle, and I happily live with that, just by making an educated and thought choice about how I want the scene to appear. Choice is my big incentive in photography and I don't want let go a single opportunity to make one, so I enjoy having to decide how I will deal with any particular exposure options for a shot. This is, profoundly, why HDR, even superbly done, is not for me.

David said...

Is it less honest to use a slow shutter speed to produce cotton candy streams or waterfalls that do not really exist? Tools and techniques get used and abused. Which is effective use vs. abuse in generally a matter of personal opinion.