To Tone Map or Not……That is the Question!

Themed 365 Project

Some of you are fans of HDR photography and I know there are some of you who either dislike or have no opinion on this controversial photographic technique. This post is designed to give you an opportunity, as always, to see the results of the process of tone mapping and secondly to give your thoughts on whether this shot warrants it’s application or not. Please express your opinion and give some thoughts behind that opinion. Maybe we can have an open discussion and see where it goes……

Single shot HDR processed with Photomatix and finished in Lightroom


15 thoughts on “To Tone Map or Not……That is the Question!

  1. I think the lower image takes the focus off the batter by bringing out the people behind the plate. In this instance, I think I prefer the top image.

    1. Thanks Val, after looking more and more at the shot I agree… prompted my initiation of the post.

  2. I prefer the top image for the same reason as Val. The increased detail of the woman on the left (especially the yellow shirt) pulls attention away from the batter.

  3. I like both shot but respect your ability highly. I have tried Tone mapping and have had no success with it! I hope your desire for an extended discussion come to fruition as I might learn! Question without not ice though: I feel the same effect on the background and shadows pn the batter would be achieved in PSE using Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Shadows/Highlights…. (Not a critisism just food for thought)

    1. Your right Ron, I guess it brings me back to my other thought about the original shot which was what do I want to improve on this shot. Many times what I see may be different to the viewers…..good or bad. And I can handle any criticism so no worries big guy!

      1. It is most likely sacralige, but I would crop tightly on the batter and back-stop and then use layers and a guazian blur on the entire background.

  4. I have to plead ignorance when it comes to tone mapping and will have to educate myself on what it is. I think your processing really makes the chain link fence “pop” and so takes away from the main subject, the batter. Great image though. If YOU like the HDR effect and it enhances the photo acccording to your vision, then go for it, as YOU are the artist and know what your intent is/was. (i.e. you wanted all persons in the scene to carry equal weight, showing the background “action” when a player is up to bat.)

    1. I guess I’m questioning my own initial intent….. I need to look at my shots more closely before processing to avoid the confusion of the end result. My initial intent was not to give equal weight to all subjects.
      I am learning something already…..not to tone map just to tone map! Thanks for your comments, very thought provoking.

  5. I agree with Val and Gisele on this one. You know I love HDR, but it does equalize the light qualities throughout the image and in this case, I think the non-HDR works best by keeping the spotlight on the batter and ball. Also, HDR makes people look more stylized and less “real” somehow.

    1. Karen, do you use photomatix and if you do do you update each version. I feel that with each version the effects are being toned down to promote a more realistic result, agree or not?

  6. Coming late but I find the detail and color the tone mapping brings out a distraction from the batter/main idea of the shot. It does give a cool almost illustrated look.

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