Erik Rinehard Hates Your HDR

Flickr HDR:

The image is woefully over-compressed, with halos merging into random splodges. It is not unlike a large number of images posted on Flickr. It exhibits what some call the ‘HDR look’, and which I call a horrible set of unnecessary artifacts. It is highly unnatural and highlights the dangers of using Photomatix unless you know what you are doing. Please understand that HDR is not a style that you can either like or dislike. High dynamic range imaging has nothing to do with artistic freedom. What you see here is an artifact of the software that you choose to use, in combination with the parameters you choose to abuse.

I really enjoy a lot of pictures that have the “HDR look” he’s talking about.  But when I make them myself, I enjoy them less because I know the procedure to get that look using my software of choice (QTPFSGui) and it tends to come out looking the same, picture after picture.  (QTPFSGui is extremely versatile; it actually allows you to use Rinehard’s preferred techniques instead of the traditionally “HDR-y” looking ones.  Two of Rinehard’s algorithms are available in the latest versions of it.)

Lately I’ve been using exposure fusion instead of doing HDR strictly speaking, because it is more naturalistic, while still kind of interesting.

Reading Rinehard’s piece makes me want to do two things:

  • use his algorithms to make naturalistic cool HDRs he’d approve of
  • use the other algorithms to make wack artificial HDRs he’d hate

In approximately equal measures.