HDR versus Manipulated RAW; or Flowers with NI Railways.

My Lumix LX7 has an ‘high-dynamic range’ feature. Otherwise known by its initials ‘HDR’, high-dynamic range is a technique for digital imaging that allows greater detail in highlights and shadows by combining several images of the same subject that were exposed at different values.

The LX7 includes the HDR setting as one of the options in ‘scene mode’ (SCN on the selection dial). This rapidly exposes a sequence of images and combines them in-camera to produce a single HDR JPG. Obviously you need to hold still when you make the photo.

Also it helps to photograph a static scene or the result my get a bit weird.

In this instance, I photographed some flowers on the platform of NI Railway’s station at Whitehead, Co. Antrim (Northern Ireland).

This is my HDR composite photograph. The camera automatically exposes a burst of images at various exposure settings and combines them in-camera to produce a single image with greater shadow and highlight detail than is normally possible with a single frame.

There are other ways of accomplishing a similar result.

So I decided to compare the HDR with some manipulated versions of a camera RAW file that I exposed of the same scene. With the RAW images, I’d adjusted the file with Lightroom post processing software, selectively altering contrast, gamma, and colour saturation and colour temperature to make for a more pleasing photograph.

Specifically I applied a digital graduated neutral density filter, while making global changes to highlights and saturation.

The output of the RAW is also as a JPG, which I scaled for presentation here.

This view is from a single RAW file exposed with the Lumix LX7 and manipulated digitally to maximize highlight and shadow detail. This is my first of two manipulations.
This is a more intensively manipulated file than the image immediately above. Again this image was from a single camera RAW file. This one features slightly darker highlight values.

I made two versions of the RAW interpretation.

In both sets of images I’ve intentionally focused on the flowers and not the NIR train.

Which do you prefer?

Tracking the Light Explores Photography Daily.

6 comments on “HDR versus Manipulated RAW; or Flowers with NI Railways.

  1. I don’t have any sponsors, but I’d happily accept offers!

  2. Michael Walsh on said:

    I’d prefer either of the manipulations to the HDR, while on balance, I reckon I like the first manipulation better than the second.

  3. Stephen Hirsch on said:

    The HDR image. The colours seem nicer and the train is less out of focus. In the manipulated RAW images the train is more blurred (which I find distracting) and part of the front of the railcar has lost its yellow colour.

  4. I prefer the 2nd image that you manipulated.

  5. I like the first or top shot.
    But first, a word from our sponsors!
    Did you know that a 1 hour tv show generally has about 20 minutes or commercials? And, a 2 hour “movie” generally has at least 45 minutes of commercials?
    Now, back to my comment!
    The 2nd and 3rd shot there’s this big blue and white blob in the background that really detracts from the pretty posies.
    OH! What’s #RAW? Random Access Wrrrrrr?
    And, can I assume one of your sponsors is the firm that makes the Lightroom program? I assume, it’s computer program that allows you to alter photos? Can you alter slide shots that are loaded into your computer?
    Hope you had a great trip! Sounds like it’s winding down. The weather in the Palmer area is getting to look a lot like Indian Summer with temps in the upper 80’s today but temps will be backing off into the 60’s by weeks end. Leaf Peepers abound!

  6. Anonymous on said:

    I prefer the first one. To my eye, the colors are stronger. More saturated? Close call.

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