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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Nature & Landscapes Talk 
Thread started 01 Jan 2012 (Sunday) 22:01
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Exposure Blend vs Filters...

 
booju
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Jan 01, 2012 22:01 |  #1

Exposure Blending vs. GND Filters

What are the pros and cons?
What is your preference and why?




  
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sandpiper
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Jan 01, 2012 22:11 |  #2

Like most things in photography, "it depends".

It is better to get things done in camera, then fanny around later in post. So, a GND is the better option, in theory. If there is a nice, fairly level, horizon with nothing protruding from the foreground, I would choose a GND every time.

However, when the subject is a building, maybe an old church, and the spire goes up way past the horizon, and you have some trees off to the left going all the way up the frame, it can be a different matter. Using a GND will give you a church spire that gets significantly darker half way up, trees that go from green and sunny lower down, to dark and almost black higher up. Neither effect looks right.

In that case, I would shoot two shots - one for the sky, one for the subject (possibly 3 shots if I had shadow detail somewhere I wanted to preserve) then blend them later in post, with layer masks. A bit more work than using a GND, but a more natural looking result.

So, I don't believe there is a one size fits all answer, like everything else you use what you need, to get the shot you have in your mind.




  
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booju
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Jan 01, 2012 23:52 |  #3

sandpiper wrote in post #13631787 (external link)
Like most things in photography, "it depends".

It is better to get things done in camera, then fanny around later in post. So, a GND is the better option, in theory. If there is a nice, fairly level, horizon with nothing protruding from the foreground, I would choose a GND every time.

However, when the subject is a building, maybe an old church, and the spire goes up way past the horizon, and you have some trees off to the left going all the way up the frame, it can be a different matter. Using a GND will give you a church spire that gets significantly darker half way up, trees that go from green and sunny lower down, to dark and almost black higher up. Neither effect looks right.

In that case, I would shoot two shots - one for the sky, one for the subject (possibly 3 shots if I had shadow detail somewhere I wanted to preserve) then blend them later in post, with layer masks. A bit more work than using a GND, but a more natural looking result.

So, I don't believe there is a one size fits all answer, like everything else you use what you need, to get the shot you have in your mind.


sandpiper,

Since writing this thread, I've been reading some really interesting articles on both methods...

I subscribe to your recommendation!!!

Thank you very much;)

I'm ready to get my feet wet and enjoy the time learning:D




  
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gjl711
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Jan 01, 2012 23:57 |  #4

I'm in the "it depends" camp as well. As mentioned with a nice straight delineation between the light and dark areas, a gnd works great. The more complex the delineation, the less effective a filter is and it's easier to do so in post.


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galjoe
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Jan 02, 2012 08:33 |  #5

Can someone explain the easiest way to blend exposures.i use lightroom 3 & elements 9.i really suck at p&p.


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gjl711
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Jan 02, 2012 08:45 |  #6

galjoe wrote in post #13633273 (external link)
Can someone explain the easiest way to blend exposures.i use lightroom 3 & elements 9.i really suck at p&p.

There are several decent tutorials out there. here are two. Google "photoshop tutorial GND effect" and you'll get way more.

http://ronbigelow.com …nsity/neutral-density.htm (external link)
http://pshero.com …ed-neutral-density-filter (external link)


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MCAsan
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Jan 03, 2012 09:01 as a reply to  @ gjl711's post |  #7

with blends or HDRs:


because you have multiple negatives, you capture as much data as possible, that is always good
you still have your negatives from which to do other final images
you did not spend money on filters that add weight and can be scratched/broken




  
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MNUplander
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Jan 03, 2012 10:56 |  #8

MCAsan wrote in post #13638794 (external link)
with blends or HDRs:


because you have multiple negatives, you capture as much data as possible, that is always good
you still have your negatives from which to do other final images
you did not spend money on filters that add weight and can be scratched/broken

I agree with this. The ONLY trouble is that sometimes when you properly expose your foreground, your sky is so blown out that you get all kinds of fringing on your foreground edges that meet the sky - I see this even with my ZE21. Its a pain to deal with and sometimes I much prefer to deal with dodging some shadows caused by the GND than mess with fringes on edges that should be sharp.


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Gel
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Jan 03, 2012 11:03 |  #9

It depends, not just on the image but the location.

It's easier to take 7 different exposures in rapid succession than using a graduated ND filter on a beach in 40 mph winds with seaspray coming at you.

Always best to get it right in camera though but it's whatever gets you the desired result.


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Jan 06, 2012 20:18 as a reply to  @ Gel's post |  #10

I use both and don't have a preference. Sometimes it's just easier to use a GND filter, sometimes (if things are moving) it's a necessity. Other times, I can do what I want with a filter and am not sure I'll remember exactly what I was going for in PP. Other times it's definitely better to blend.

I think it comes down to experience. If you're not sure, try doing both for a while, or as much as you can to develop a feel for when one is better (for you) than another.


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patrick ­ j
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Jan 06, 2012 23:00 |  #11

galjoe wrote in post #13633273 (external link)
Can someone explain the easiest way to blend exposures.i use lightroom 3 & elements 9.i really suck at p&p.

Watch this a few times, this is how I figured things out (to the extent that I have at least).

http://www.youtube.com​/watch?v=2zyGZlf7bWU (external link)


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galjoe
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Jan 07, 2012 07:49 |  #12

Thanks for the link patrick,he made it look really easy.i will give it a go later.


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Sirrith
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Jan 08, 2012 08:47 |  #13

Gel wrote in post #13639381 (external link)
It's easier to take 7 different exposures in rapid succession than using a graduated ND filter on a beach in 40 mph winds with seaspray coming at you.

...but how do you deal with all the moving elements that naturally come with 40mph winds and a body of water when blending shots? ;)


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blackcap
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Jan 12, 2012 01:06 |  #14

Gel wrote in post #13639381 (external link)
It's easier to take 7 different exposures in rapid succession than using a graduated ND filter on a beach in 40 mph winds with seaspray coming at you.

Why is that? If you attach the holder beforehand, then isn't the time taken to slot in the filter and take one shot going to be about the same or quicker than taking 7 shots? Especially when the light gets low and exposures get longer.


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Snydremark
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Jan 12, 2012 01:15 |  #15

I have never had any luck at all with blending exposures to get anything even remotely right...so I stick with filters now.


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Exposure Blend vs Filters...
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