Trying out Aurora HDR

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by hinman, May 27, 2017.

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  1. Just bought Aurora HDR to try out something different. I know that HDR is not for everyone but I am at the age that anything different gets my attention and I like it so far to spice up my pictures with color. On one extreme, I like everything black & white and now I try to explore the dreamy and often controversial side of unrealistic picture.

    [​IMG]
    20170513-DSC06528_HDR

    by Hin Man, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    DSC06538_HDR

    by Hin Man, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    DSC06453_HDR

    by Hin Man, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    Aurora HDR Test

    by Hin Man, on Flickr


    All the above are shot without bracketing. I will try to work with my bracketed shots and see how Aurora works. Some feedback will be highly appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Hin
     
  2. See my thread disappearing, try to reply.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
  3. I've been using Photomatix for years, but seeing my brother's results with Aurora HDR convinced me to give it a try. Iceland's landscapes can be pretty drab in early Spring, and Aurora HDR gives things more color without surrealistic effects normally associated with HDR processing. This is a little brighter than I would make an image, but it puts just enough punch into an inkjet print.

    Photomatix tends to be A or B, but Aurora HDR has a lot of steps in between and is just as easy to use. That lump at the top is real, the remnants of a 1996 eruption, as is the field of rhyolite scoria in the foreground.

    Mt. Hekla, IC, facing west, with a snow squall over the North Atlantic, without and with Aurora HDR processing. The mountains in Iceland make their own clouds.

    _DSC1600.jpg _DSC1600_Aurora2017_HDR-Edit.jpg
     
    hinman and helenalundell like this.
  4. Thank you Ed for your valuable input. I already purchased this software. Will hopefully put it into good use.

    Yesterday, I edited my hiking picture with Enlight in iOS. It surprised me with two simple filters


    Enchanting Redwood In Fog

    [​IMG]
    Purisima Creek Redwoods

    by Hin Man, on Flickr

    Purisima Creekside Redwood in Woodside, CA
    .
    I went hiking on Memorial Day in Woodside and my older boy now knows where to explore way smarter and more curious than his Daddy. When I saw a downhill slope, I paused and I had to split with my family as my knee was not doing well on downhill. I went back to my van with a short 0.5 mile hike back. I paused and went slow to take pictures.
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    Suddenly the fog kicks in and I can afford to take pictures as if there no time limit. I literally took 50+ pictures in a short window of 30 minutes. I tried different bracketing stops for subsequent editing in HDR. Though not much hiking, I was very content with my artistic outlet. On my way home, I was too tired from my allergy and my wife took over the driving. I transferred a few singles to my iPhone and played with Enlight. And Enlight app has been awesome on iOS but I don't see it available on Android. Oh boy, this phone editor app has bunch of image filters and image adjustment with presets that really open my eyes to another reality.
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    HDR or unrealistic pictures are not for everyone but I am an unusual photographer who likes cartoon type of animation and I love virtual reality. I hate 3D movie tough and I will never like it until I see it without sickness and headache.
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    This picture took the first preset filter with Mystic tone and then I tried a duotone image filter in the middle with pale blue tone. I sound like a great editor and I am actually randomly try the presets with one touch fix. When things are not planned, it is the most rewarding and beautiful. I
    .
    Please comment especially if you like or dislike the picture.
     
    michaellinder likes this.
  5. Hinman, there's what I consider to be a really solid HDR program - HDR Efex Pro 2- in what used to be the NIK bundle (bought by Google). I have found it quite versatile, for adding both color and detail, and also for providing other editing tools, e.g., a graduated neutral density filter.
     
    hinman likes this.
  6. Thank you so much for your valuable pointer. I love my Nik collection and I have been using Silver Efex and Color Efex and some Analog and I will look into the HDR Efex Pro that you mention. The Nik collection is superb in my opinion.

    Cheers with big thanks,
    Hin
     
  7. Happy you liked my feedback. Go to it!
     
    hinman likes this.
  8. I've used the NIK collection, and find it reasonably capable. Google announced today that further development for it has been discontinued.

    A real advantage to established and often expensive software over freebies and small-shop products is longevity, continued development and service.

    AuroraHDR includes a flexible split-grad section, as well as polarizer emulation.
     
  9. Green Carpet

    [​IMG] Green Carpet
    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    single HDR with Aurora -- Pigeon in Captain Kimo preset


    Yellow Banana Slug

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    Banana HDR -- Color Structure
    by Hin Man, on Flickr

    Finally my HDR helps me with a very yellow banana slug. The original color is more brownish yellow. I feel like cheating. That is the guilty unhealthy thinking and what do you all think of HDR type of photography? It is my 1st week into HDR with Aurora and some iPhone and Android app.


    [​IMG]Aurora Landscape Soft & Airy
    by Hin Man, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    Landscape Realistic by Hin Man, on Flickr

    I edited the last one too fast and the HDR looks way busy on the background then the original picture. Overall, I am liking Aurora as an good aid for trying out HDR especially when I have prepared bracketed shots to get fuller dynamic range in the pictures on both shadows and highlights.

    Thanks for all the valuable inputs and feedback. And Michael, I went and check my version of Nik Collection from Google, I unfortunately don't see the HDR Efex. I will look in search and other places. I love both Silver Efex Pro and Color Efex Pro, they are essential part of my b&w and film simulation for digital.

    Cheers,
    Hin
     
  10. I was wrong, my copy of Nik Collection does have the HDR Efex Pro 2. I was not seeing the HDR option in the Edit plugin menu from LR but the it is one of the many applications in Nik collection when I spotlight search on Mac. In browsing the presets, I find Aurora to be more powerful and installed with rich variety of presets, the landscape and Captain Kimo are my favorites so far. The split tone and layering seem very capable in Aurora. I have only touched some entry points with some of the presets. And I am going through my usage with 3 to 5 bracketed shots. Will use a monopod or tripod on next outing.

    There is so much to learn and this tool has added powerful tool together with my Lightroom usage.
     
  11. I have found very little difference between using a 3-shot +/= 2 stop bracket and a 5-shot x 2 stop bracket. Considering the wide dynamic range of the A7Rii, a 1 stop bracket increment is not particularly effective. Even at 5 fps, there is often a slight movement of the camera (sans tripod) or objects in the frame of view. Out of caution, I shot nearly everything bracketed in Iceland, because there's no telling when I can return (but return I shall). I used AuroraHDR for the following shot, and on close examination, captured detail in the snowy talus slops and black basaltic sand dunes. In addition to HDR processing, I applied PhotoKit Output sharpening (Web, 1000 pixels wide). It would be okay to blow some highlights for a more snowy appearance.

    The sand, by the way, is very soft and water laden, with a springy feel underfoot. I applied a lesson learned long ago in Florida - always extend the smallest section of tripod, unless you want to spend hours disassembling and cleaning the joints (Gitzo).

    Vestrahorn, SE Iceland
    _DSC3792_Aurora2017_HDR-Edit.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
    hinman likes this.
  12. Ed, thanks again for the great input and sample. I am totally new to HDR an bracketing. I did my bracketing shots without a tripod and I was shooting with A6000 and a Zonlai 25mm f/1.8 E-mount aps-c lens. I did try to check [x] on alignment in stacking up the series in Aurora, maybe I understand the [x] alignment option wrong, the merge came out worse than not having it unchecked. The likely movement in between shots is a challenge to me as well and I will try to use a tripod/monopod next time. I don't quite know why some of my bracketed shots come out as 4 shots instead of 5. I also don't see a big difference between the 3-shots versus 5 shots. But I don't yet have the trained eyes and I am very casual on pictures.

    This is a 3 shot bracket that appears to be okay but I am sure the hand-held shots along with my A6000 is quite taxing for the fine detail when pixel peeping

    [​IMG]
    Captain Kimo Lightning Bracket: -0.5, 0 , +0.5 and

    by Hin Man, on Flickr

    So much to learn, try and retry -- exciting.

    Cheers,
    Hin
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017

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