Stained glass windows and HDR


andrewk

Link Posted 17/05/2014 - 00:33
After spending a little time a few weeks back arguing against the use of HDR for landscapes in another thread, I decided to give it a whirl in some of the shots I took in All Soul's Church in Halifax.

I took 8 shots at f/8, ISO 100 with shutter speeds ranging from 1/15sec to 8 secs, using a Pentax K30 and DA55-300mm zoom (at 87.5mm). I used Lightroom, with a plug-in LR/Enfuse to convert/merge the 8 RAWs into a 64bit TIFF just over 120MB. After a bit more twiddling and cropping in Lightroom, this came out of the mill.




I'm quite happy with the result. Thoughts?

Andrew
Flickr photostream

McGregNi

Link Posted 17/05/2014 - 01:20
Its a very good job Andrew, well balanced but with plenty of deep shadow retained, and of course I would agree that the HDR was the right approach! (Don't you think my K7 could have done it in one shot? )

The brightness on the glass is ideal for full detail - if anything the result is almost too 'perfect' ... i'd expect in reality to see a few brighter almost burnt out whites there (assuming daylight outside), so I'd nudge the whitepoint upwards a bit just on the glass areas, just to add a little reality.

The stonework brightness tone is great, very true to life. I would prefer a little less red/yellow saturation there, just to bring back more grey, it looks a bit tungsten but there's no light source apparent for that. And finally I think it could do with some more sharpening or other micro-detailing work to give a little more sizzle.

How did we ever reproduce church interiors before HDR?
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

andrewk

Link Posted 17/05/2014 - 09:42
Good question. I'd intended to try HDR from the start - so let's give it a whirl with a single image.




A quick and dirty conversion of one of the set used for input to the HDR processing, taken at f/8 0.5sec ISO100.

With a bit of work ...... who knows. Some of the blues in the stained glass are better, rather than the purple version in the HDR.

Andrew
Flickr photostream
Last Edited by andrewk on 17/05/2014 - 10:11

andrewk

Link Posted 17/05/2014 - 09:55
Or maybe this version? WB tweaked a little - but the cill under the window looks too blue (or does it?), as its main lighting source is daylight transmitted through the stained glass. The main light source for the stonework further from the glass is an open door way off to the right - and some quite high power tungsten lighting in the main body of the church. I think the WB of the shot has to be a compromise.




Andrew
Flickr photostream
Last Edited by andrewk on 17/05/2014 - 10:09

McGregNi

Link Posted 20/05/2014 - 14:54
Sorry Andrew, I lost track of your thread, yes I guess the WB needs a compromise. Would be interesting to see what the K3s new AWB system would make of it!

I still think the HDR version has the most 'pizzazz' and depth, although I'd like to see it with a bit more sharpening. And I think the WB on the last one is the most natural. The issue with the tungsten is that the light source is not in the frame, so the yellow cast doesn't appear to come from anywhere - for that reason I'd opt for a cooler tone coming from the natural light outside.

Its an excellent example of appropriate HDR work!
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 20/05/2014 - 14:54

Smeggypants

Link Posted 20/05/2014 - 16:23
I don't like the results at all. The window lacks contrast and is oversturated.

All that was needed for this shot was two exposures. One for the building interior and one for the window. After editing each shot separately with regard to it's purpose, layer the two, window shot on top, remove anything non window from the window shot and merge. job done
[i]Bodies: 1x K-5IIs, 2x K-5, Sony TX-5, Nokia 808
Lenses: Pentax DA 10-17mm ED(IF) Fish Eye, Pentax DA 14mm f/2.8, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8, Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.2, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8, Sigma 135-400mm APO DG, and more ..
Flash: AF-540FGZ, Vivitar 283

Helpful

Bobbinalorry

Link Posted 20/05/2014 - 17:00
I like what you have done here, good work; well executed, good result.
Best Regards, Larry.

All the gear & no idea.

johnriley

Link Posted 20/05/2014 - 17:06
I'm agreeing with Smeggypants here. The image doesn't look right and seems over-processed to me.

You could combine images in Photomatix, or even use the in-camera HDR, and I think you'd get a more natural appearance.
Best regards, John

McGregNi

Link Posted 20/05/2014 - 17:42
The solution suggested by smeggy is very intricate and difficult - layer-blending windows is never easy as you have to use a brush stroke over every tiny detail of window frame to give it the interior lighting, and it is a painstaking task to get the right brush softness to make a perfect divide between the glass and its framing material. You'll spend a lot of time going back and forwards over the same bit until its right.

HDR is a much more intelligent solution (intelligent processing that is), and has done a great job of it here.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

andrewk

Link Posted 20/05/2014 - 17:44
Yes, I agree with Smeggypants too. The first image is definitely overcooked.

The TIFF produced by LR/Enfuse was too dark. Bringing up the shadows; reducing the reds a bit, adding +20 contrast in LR, reducing saturation to -20 but no other processing generates this image.




I certainly prefer this to the over-cooked version. I'm not sure whether I prefer it to the second image above (single shot at 0.5sec).

I don't understand why there's a large area of purple in the bottom left corner of the window - it's blue out of the camera (preview images). I wish I could remember what it really looked like.

I'm still not sure what I think about using LR-Enfuse. It seems that most of the time, even in quite extreme situations, you can get a decent result from a single image, providing you don't blow the highlights.

I'll have a ponder .......

Andrew
Flickr photostream

MrB

Link Posted 20/05/2014 - 19:11
The second image looks the best one of these, but still seems too light. When thinking about the church windows I've seen before, the colours here don't look quite right to me. The stained glass is usually quite vibrant and contrasty, with more defined blacks from the designs and from the lead, e.g. from #2 -




Cheers.
Philip

davidtrout

Link Posted 20/05/2014 - 19:41
I believe in keeping it simple. No HDR for me just straight shots when I take pictures like this. By exposing for the brightest parts of the image - that's the window itself - and ignoring the dark stone surrounding area, it usually works for me. I don't feel the stonework needs lighting, the image is the glass. Unlike Smeggy I wouldn't make two exposures, one for the glass and one for the church interior. The stonework, with just a little detail, makes a good dark surround to the bright window.
I used to under expose by either 1/3 or 2/3 of a stop but since moving from a K10 to later models, K5, K30 and now K3, I find the meter gives me acceptable images from straight exposures.
Shooting RAW also helps to recover any hint of blown highlights.
For me the most successful treatment of those posted Andrew is the final, by Mr B. It has good saturation in the glass. There's a lot of detail in the stonework too but as I said earlier I prefer to see that area quite dark.
David

PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout
Last Edited by davidtrout on 20/05/2014 - 19:46

DrOrloff

Link Posted 20/05/2014 - 19:47
There is no greater exponent of the stained glass window image than the bloke above this post. Good advice.
You can see some of my photos here if you are so inclined

andrewk

Link Posted 21/05/2014 - 00:57
OK,let's try again. This is a conversion from a single exposure taken at f/8 0.5sec ISO 100, the longest shutter speed that *just* avoids clipping of highlights.

I have tried to concentrate on getting the glass as I think it should be and pretty much ignoring the stonework.




This is a crop from the bottom of that image.




How are we doing? Any better?

Andrew
Flickr photostream

Smeggypants

Link Posted 21/05/2014 - 04:31
McGregNi wrote:
The solution suggested by smeggy is very intricate and difficult - layer-blending windows is never easy as you have to use a brush stroke over every tiny detail of window frame to give it the interior lighting, and it is a painstaking task to get the right brush softness to make a perfect divide between the glass and its framing material. You'll spend a lot of time going back and forwards over the same bit until its right.

HDR is a much more intelligent solution (intelligent processing that is), and has done a great job of it here.

Absolute nonsense. There's SIX separate elements od that church window to draw a selection round, invert the selection and cut out the non window stuff for the Window exposed frame. It's not difficult at all.

see this pano I did....

https://www.360cities.net/image/burnham-mkt-post-office-xmas-day#83.50,2.99,64.4

I used two exposures, 6 to 10 seconds for the street and another set of shots exposed for the lit shop windows ( can't remember the exact exposure but probably somethign like 1/200s at the aperture/ISO I was using ), and I combined them exactly as described.


HDR is NOT the right solution as IMO it hasn't worked in the results offered up here.
[i]Bodies: 1x K-5IIs, 2x K-5, Sony TX-5, Nokia 808
Lenses: Pentax DA 10-17mm ED(IF) Fish Eye, Pentax DA 14mm f/2.8, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8, Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.2, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8, Sigma 135-400mm APO DG, and more ..
Flash: AF-540FGZ, Vivitar 283
Last Edited by Smeggypants on 21/05/2014 - 04:31
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