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Sipadan underwater HDR


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#1 loftus

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 05:15 PM

Well as promised, I tried some underwater HDR in Sipadan last week. The three images posted were all done with 3 exposures 2 EV apart in Photomatrix, Tokina 10-17 with Magic Filter, Nikon D200 on a Gorillapod. I did capture 5-7 images 1EV apart, but more images just created more artifact. Water was quite cloudy right in front of the dock at Sipadan Water Village, Mabul, so I don't have the clarity I was hoping for. My main interest was to see how high contrast fairly static scenes like these late afternoon reef scenes would turn out. The crocodile fish was a nice static cooperative subject though probably not ideal in terms of contrast. I think the results are interesting though not great. I know I could do more work on these in terms of playing with the color (maybe a little too much magenta in the first one), but thought I'd just post my initial attempts. HDR processed in Photomatrix Details Enhancer Tonemapping, sharpening and quick color balance in PS.
It's almost impossible to avoid some artifact underwater, so I don't think underwater HDR will hit primetime until more rapid sequence capture and / or HDR sensors become a reality.
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Edited by loftus, 09 November 2008 - 05:26 PM.

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#2 MatthewAddison

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 05:26 PM

How did the Gorilla pod work out underwater. I see some movement in the hard sponge (image #1) and would imagine that is from camera shake. I really like the colors but agree they could be worked a bit more. I would imagine these would be perfect with a weighted tripod though. I really like them.

Edited by MatthewAddison, 09 November 2008 - 05:31 PM.

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#3 loftus

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 05:36 PM

Things were a little buoyant and could have benefitted from attaching some weights to the Gorillapod. I think what is more difficult, if not impossible to control, is any shimmering of the sunlight which creates artifacts, and is present in all but the stillest water
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#4 MatthewAddison

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 08:43 PM

Things were a little buoyant and could have benefitted from attaching some weights to the Gorillapod. I think what is more difficult, if not impossible to control, is any shimmering of the sunlight which creates artifacts, and is present in all but the stillest water

I am not picturing how the shimmering light can cause the artifacts you are seeing on your full res pics. I don't doubt you, I just don't get it.
I believe a rock steady tripod (cheap aluminum w/20lb of weights) would make an ideal platform. I was going to try it in the Bahamas on my last trip but shoot days became limited due to weather.
It is interesting that you and i had the same issues with 5 shot trys. I had to cut mine down to 3 as well due to artifacts. Your pics came out much better and I think the delicate lighting and balance you achieved really does justice to the possibility of tonemapped underwater images. For instance, your third shot would not have been possible without multiple exposures, yet looks absolutely natural. Well done.
I'm hoping the faster frame rate of the D3 will yield better results than my D200.
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#5 jeremypayne

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 05:25 AM

Jeff! Welcome back. Looks very promising! I think this technique will eventually payoff underwater. I think being close makes it harder and some distance to the subject might help reduce ghosting.

Very excited to see what else you got up to ... !! ;)


P.S. If you would be so kind as to share copies of the three RAW files from the first set, I'd love to try and see what I could do about the artifacts. I'm working from home today and in production mode as I need to make slides for three talks I'm giving this month ...

Here's an HDR panorama I'm gonna print ... I linked to a 5,000 pixel wide version on Flickr, but the original is about 7,700 wide.

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Next trip is all about the U/W HDR Pano ... hopefully gonna go to Grand Cayman at somepoint in January for a few days if I'm lucky ...
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#6 loftus

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 05:59 AM

I am not picturing how the shimmering light can cause the artifacts you are seeing on your full res pics.

Look at the margins of snells window, you can see some artifact, also I sense the rays are not quite as sharp as they could be. Of course any moving fish are also a problem and I have a few images like that. I think we will be able to get some interesting seascapes particularly if the coral is more colorful, just that the opportunities will be limited. Interesting opportunities will be standing pools of water, over/unders etc as well.

Jeremy I'll get you the files for you to have fun with.
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#7 TheRealDrew

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 06:19 AM

Well as promised, I tried some underwater HDR in Sipadan last week. The three images posted were all done with 3 exposures 2 EV apart in Photomatrix, Tokina 10-17 with Magic Filter, Nikon D200 on a Gorillapod. I did capture 5-7 images 1EV apart, but more images just created more artifact. Water was quite cloudy right in front of the dock at Sipadan Water Village, Mabul, so I don't have the clarity I was hoping for. My main interest was to see how high contrast fairly static scenes like these late afternoon reef scenes would turn out. The crocodile fish was a nice static cooperative subject though probably not ideal in terms of contrast. I think the results are interesting though not great. I know I could do more work on these in terms of playing with the color (maybe a little too much magenta in the first one), but thought I'd just post my initial attempts. HDR processed in Photomatrix Details Enhancer Tonemapping, sharpening and quick color balance in PS.
It's almost impossible to avoid some artifact underwater, so I don't think underwater HDR will hit primetime until more rapid sequence capture and / or HDR sensors become a reality.



Jeff

They look good and I like the Crocodile Fish. Will be interesting to see where sensors will go and when they may come out with the HDR. But all things considering hard to argue with what you got.

BTW I need to post in the other thread, I started focusing a bit more on trying HDR when I was out in San Diego in August with the G9 and a couple of weeks ago with the dSLR.....

#8 MatthewAddison

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 12:28 PM

Next trip is all about the U/W HDR Pano ... hopefully gonna go to Grand Cayman at somepoint in January for a few days if I'm lucky ...

UW HDR Panos? You are obviously a CIA operative trained to withstand great pain! I look forward to hearing your experiences and seeing the results. Your topside HDR panos are superb!
Are you planning on using Alex's magic filter for the shoots? It looks like Jeff's images hugely benefited from the filter use. Do you know which lens you will be using? I would imagine a rectilinear will give you the best stitching results.
Will you be rotating or moving down a line for the panos?
BTW, per our previous discussion, my Epson 4800 is working flawlessly (at the moment) & if you would like I'd be more than happy to print one of your favorite panos on 16" roll stock. I have gloss 260 & luster 250. I have to pack up the printer next week & ship it so I'm using as much stock & ink as I can before shipping. Actual paper width is 16.23" for both.
Of course, part of the deal is I get to print a second one & when I get to NY, have you sign it!
Let me know & I can forward you my custom .icc profiles for those papers.
UW HDR Panos!.... A madman!

Edited by MatthewAddison, 11 November 2008 - 12:36 PM.

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#9 loftus

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 03:36 PM

UW HDR Panos!.... A madman!

Or a masochistic photographer at least. ;)
Jeremy, search for a nice colorful reefscape in calm clear water, anything else while go beyond mad or masochistic. Preferably no fish, or be ready to clone / mask as needed.
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#10 jeremypayne

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 08:59 PM

UW HDR Panos? You are obviously a CIA operative trained to withstand great pain! I look forward to hearing your experiences and seeing the results. Your topside HDR panos are superb!

I'm nuts ... but it is fun.

Are you planning on using Alex's magic filter for the shoots? It looks like Jeff's images hugely benefited from the filter use. Do you know which lens you will be using? I would imagine a rectilinear will give you the best stitching results.
Will you be rotating or moving down a line for the panos?

Magic Filters - Definitely a yes. I would use the Powershot G9 with equivalent focal lengths between 35-50mm. I would most likely rotate. I have an old tripod I stole from my high school photo lab in 1984 that would make the perfect sacrifical instrument ... Perhaps I'll try and make an "L" bracket for my Canon housing for a better axis of rotation ... hmmm ....

BTW, per our previous discussion, my Epson 4800 is working flawlessly (at the moment) & if you would like I'd be more than happy to print one of your favorite panos on 16" roll stock. I have gloss 260 & luster 250. I have to pack up the printer next week & ship it so I'm using as much stock & ink as I can before shipping. Actual paper width is 16.23" for both. Of course, part of the deal is I get to print a second one & when I get to NY, have you sign it!
Let me know & I can forward you my custom .icc profiles for those papers.

Wow ... that be great! I'll take you up on that - as long as you let me buy you a round or two when you drop it off. Send my your profiles and I'll pick a winner ... I actually did end up getting a bunch printed at Adorama ... after convincing them that going from PhotoPro to Printer was better than PhotoPro to sRGB to Printer. They are having a sale ... 16x20 on Kodak Metallic/Lustre for $4.95 ... can't beat that ...

These are what got printed ... Link to JSP's Recent Prints

UW HDR Panos!.... A madman!

Just need the right calm clear water ... and the right late day sun ... easy ... (hah)
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#11 MatthewAddison

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 10:02 PM

Well, Jeff has certainly upped the bar for us UW HDR plinkers. I don't know what he's going on about though. The last two shots of his are pretty damn cool. I thing the sacrificial tripod is the best bet for your pano attempt. Bring a 50lb lift bag as part of your kit, because you'll want to weight the tripod down with 20 or 30 pounds of lead once you find your location.
Do me a favor while you are out there shooting... I'd love to see what one of your fake P&T of a reef scene would look like. Could be interesting.
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#12 jeremypayne

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 05:33 AM

Well, Jeff has certainly upped the bar for us UW HDR plinkers. I don't know what he's going on about though. The last two shots of his are pretty damn cool.


For sure. The proof of concept phase is officially over!

I thing the sacrificial tripod is the best bet for your pano attempt. Bring a 50lb lift bag as part of your kit, because you'll want to weight the tripod down with 20 or 30 pounds of lead once you find your location.

Yeah ... this will require some planning ...

Do me a favor while you are out there shooting... I'd love to see what one of your fake P&T of a reef scene would look like. Could be interesting.

I am still on the prowl for the "right" scenic for that kind of thing ... here's one I did from a visit to stingray city ...
Stingray_City.jpg
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#13 loftus

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 04:48 AM

I appreciate the compliments guys; but at least with these shots, I still think I have a ways to go before hanging them on the wall.

Edited by loftus, 13 November 2008 - 04:55 AM.

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#14 loftus

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 08:28 AM

One of the earlier ones in B&W. Quite dramatic I think.
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#15 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 09:16 AM

Interesting results, Jeff.

A couple of guys on my Red Sea workshop shot some HDR series in St Johns Caves in the Red Sea. But we actually learned that it is the shadows and highlights in those images that makes them interesting. Flattened out as HDR didn't really suit the subject matter. I shot a couple of series with the D700 if anyone is interested in processing them.

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#16 loftus

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 09:32 AM

Interesting results, Jeff.

A couple of guys on my Red Sea workshop shot some HDR series in St Johns Caves in the Red Sea. But we actually learned that it is the shadows and highlights in those images that makes them interesting. Flattened out as HDR didn't really suit the subject matter. I shot a couple of series with the D700 if anyone is interested in processing them.

Alex

I'd be happy to play with them if you like. You can send big files with yousendit
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#17 MatthewAddison

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 11:49 AM

I appreciate the compliments guys; but at least with these shots, I still think I have a ways to go before hanging them on the wall.

While that may be true, you went out and did what we have been talking about on this board for a while. Tripod (of a fashion), magic filter, good location, and have shown that HDR underwater can be done with this formula, and done well. That deserves recognition.
Now when Jeremy comes back from Cayman with a successful HDR pano, we can kill him!
The B&W looks great. Were the sun rays as prominent in the individual shots, or are they more prominent due to the HDR layering? I ask because that was what first caught my eye, both in the color and B & W images you posted.
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#18 loftus

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 12:16 PM

While that may be true, you went out and did what we have been talking about on this board for a while. Tripod (of a fashion), magic filter, good location, and have shown that HDR underwater can be done with this formula, and done well. That deserves recognition.
Now when Jeremy comes back from Cayman with a successful HDR pano, we can kill him!
The B&W looks great. Were the sun rays as prominent in the individual shots, or are they more prominent due to the HDR layering? I ask because that was what first caught my eye, both in the color and B & W images you posted.

Thanks again.
Take a look at these 3 original raw images. Rays are there in each of them but not rendered nearly as well in any of the single images. I think there are 2 areas I am going to love HDR underwater; enhanced detail in the shadows, and better rendering of sunrays and / or sunballs with combined images over any single one exposure image

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#19 MatthewAddison

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 01:50 PM

Thanks again.
Take a look at these 3 original raw images. Rays are there in each of them but not rendered nearly as well in any of the single images. I think there are 2 areas I am going to love HDR underwater; enhanced detail in the shadows, and better rendering of sunrays and / or sunballs with combined images over any single one exposure image

That's exactly where I see the benefits of HDR tonemapping (We really do need to come up with a better term until displays catch up - HDR\LDR sounds like an experimental drug and is not descriptive enough).
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#20 jeremypayne

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 09:58 PM

I shot a couple of series with the D700 if anyone is interested in processing them.

I'd love to give it a go.

These guys don't require registration:

http://www.yousendit.com/
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