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Tips on getting less grain when merging?

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Jerard Neal says:

I recently started to attempt some HDR photography, and I've noticed that I tend to get a lot of grain in my sky. Is this just because of how I'm processing the image, or should I be doing something differently when actually shooting.

I try to shoot at 100 ISO, f11-18ish, RAW with a tripod of course.

Programs I've tried are with Photoshop's basic merge, Photomatix, and Nik HDR efex.
Originally posted at 11:41PM, 29 April 2012 PDT (permalink)
Jerard Neal edited this topic 75 months ago.

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EatonZ26 says:

Remask the sky with one of the original files if that doesn't work I would duplicate the layer in photoshop, run a noise reduction software on it, I use Topaz Labs Denoise, crank up the strength then mask the areas with grain with the layer with noise reduction applied.
74 months ago (permalink)

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HDRPhoto says:

You can save most amount of detail if you clean the TIF´s right before you merge with a Noise Reduction software. I use Noiseware Professional from Imagenomic. Also have a look at farbspiel´s "HDR Cook Book" about the best time for noise reduction during processing.

Have fun!
62 months ago (permalink)

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contra-st says:

Hi there I would like to introduce myself, I am just mental photographist from Poland. I like to shoot sunsets hdr and all kinds of transport and abandoned facilities espacially in B&W or dark sepia. Regards.
59 months ago (permalink)

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Uillihans Dias says:

Jerard Neal:

Hello Jerad! I know that some might say that 3 brackets is the magic number but it ins’t always the case. Normally when I’m shooting for HDR, one of the first things I try to find out is the dynamic range on the scene/subject I am photographing. Some might set their cameras to take 3 shots with 2 or even 3 EV space but if the scene has a greater dynamic range you’ll end up with what’s known as the HDR look after you merged your images, simply because when you’re tone mapping the image, the data in those shadows or highlights is not there. Here’s how I do it:

I set my camera metering mode to spot meter
I took a meter reading from my highlights (1/10 sec)
I took a meter reading from my shadows (0.4 sec)
I determined my range which is 3 stops
Now set my camera at 1/5s right in the middle of those two exposures reading
Set my camera auto bracket to take 3 shots with 1EV space. Here’s an example:

www.flickr.com/photos/diasgallery/15236269597/

The next one was taken 2 hours before sunset. Very harsh light condition but the only ‘bad light’ is the absence of light altogether. The dynamic range was calculated at 5 stops. I set my camera auto bracket to take 5 shots with 1EV space.

www.flickr.com/photos/diasgallery/16408869125/

If the scene requires 5 shots at 1EV space, it can also be achieved with 3 shots with 2EV space. With a shorter EV space your HDR photos will look more natural but there are times when you need to shoot fast. I find myself shooting at 2.0 or even 3 EV space when something is moving slightly in the scene I am photographing (like water in a lake, or tree branches in the wind, or people walking by.

www.flickr.com/photos/diasgallery/16442244096/
www.flickr.com/photos/diasgallery/16442244096/

As for your camera settings they’re pretty bang on! The only thing I’d look out for is your f/stop number. Since you’re shooting on a crop sensor you’ll be able to achieve a good depth of field at apertures like f/8.0, f/9.0, f/11.0. As you stop down the aperture on a lens the light passing through tends to diffract, reducing sharpness, though DOF is increased.

I hope this helps and if there’s anything else you need to know just let me know.
40 months ago (permalink)

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