Aurora HDR 2019 vs. Luminar 3

Aurora HDr does great with bracketed shots and my last post showed it capably handles single photos . . . but, what about Luminar 3 by the same company?

OK, OK, I’m probably burning out my few readers with these comparisons. This will be the last one (for now), I promise.

Anyway, in THIS post I explored what Luminar 3 can do.  Well, “explored” is a bit strong; I processed a few photos with it. But, I got to thinking (a dangerous thing that, I’m told); it seems to me both programs do similar things.

If you had to choose just one, which would you pick? Luminar’s advantage over Aurora is the file handling and catalog function it offers; it’s both an editor and a photo organizer. If you don’t need that (and if you shot bracketed series) Aurora processes photos very capably.

Well, I took the photos from the last post and ran a batch job using Luminar 3; I processed them using their Essentials Module and their AI Enhancer setting. So, here’s a gallery showing the original, the Aurora output, and the Luminar 3 output, in that order.

Not many words in this post . . . just photos.

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Aurora HDR 2019 Software – Part 4 (the Singles)

OK, if you don’t know about Aurora HDR 2019 by now, it means you’re not reading my posts. That means it’s no use for me to review what these posts are about.

If you have been reading, then I can tell you this post is all about single photos being run through the Aurora HDR engine with one of the canned presets in the program. What I show below is one original and its version output from Aurora presented in gallery form.

A few of the photos will have multiple versions and these will all be in their own galleries for easy comparisons. 

For instance:

Not many words in this post . . . just photos.

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Aurora HDR 2019 Software – Part 3

In case anyone forgot or didn’t read Part 1 or Part 2, this and the two previous posts are about software (Aurora HDR 2019) geared toward processing scenes shot with bracketed exposures. The software is by Skylum and some might remember they also offer Luminar, which I discussed in THIS post.

“Bracketed exposures . . . what’s that?” ask readers who haven’t read any of my linked posts.

Before I answer that, a quick warning: this is not a short post and it’s repetitive. Meaning, I take three photos, merge them, and marvel about the output. If you’re interested in the performance of Aurora at the hands of an amateur, read on. If not — and you still want to see the Alaska photos — you’re better off clicking on the link two paragraphs below this one.
Very brief HDR explanation: you have a chess board; you take a photo and while the white pieces show up really nice, the black pieces are too dark (underexposed) to show any details. You take another photo, this time with the flash. Now, the black show up nicely, all the fine details visible . . . but the white pieces are washed out (overexposed), with no details visible. If only you could take the two photos and merge them, keeping all the portions that show details but getting rid of the stuff that’s either too dark or too light. Basically, that’s what HDR programs do.

You need to plan such shooting and you need a camera that can bracket exposures. In 2012, when we went on our Alaska Cruise, I encountered many instances where I thought it prudent taking three photos (EV -1.0, EV 0.0, EV 1.0). Mind you, I didn’t have much hope for the practice because a) I didn’t have a good HDR program to take advantage of the bracketed shots, and b) I was shooting hand-held so I knew aligning the photos would be difficult. Because of both a) and b), I skipped merging HDR shots for my posts.

Mind you, I didn’t do too bad just editing what I had.

But, take a look at this series of shots . . .

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Aurora HDR 2019 Software – Part 2

Quick Note: My typical reader either doesn’t care about this stuff or they already know it, so who are these posts for? Well, they are for a tiny portion of humanity; they are for people who just developed (developed; get it? . . . nevermind) an interest in photography and stuff relating to photography. Also, people who are photography enthusiasts and are looking for information on software that might interest them. Finally, they are for my benefit. Everyone else . . . sorry.

With that in mind, if you just landed here from a search and are so inclined, click HERE for Part 1.

Aurora HDR processing of three bracketed exposures taken with the Samsung Note II. More about phone camera HDR processing below.

I’ll step back for a moment . . . all the way back to THIS post. The post was prompted by my HDR failures in THIS post covering our passage through Tracy Arms during our 2012 Alaska Cruise.

Them be a lot of links and most people won’t click on them but, no worries. I’m here to cover the gist of all that.

You see, encountering difficult scenes during the 2012 Alaska Cruise, I made an effort to bracket exposure for scenes I deemed it might be useful doing so. The whole transit through Tracy Arms was plagued by contrasty scenes; bright reflective water, dark and steep shorelines, and bright cloudy skies behind the steep shorelines; all of the shots I took were bracketed as were many other shots during that cruise.

That’s why, on the last post, there are a couple of examples from that cruise; it’s because I have many, many bracketed shots from that cruise. I’m talking multiple hundreds. The plan was a good one . . . except for a few minor flaws.

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Aurora HDR 2019 Software – Part 1

HDR (High Dynamic Range) processing was all the rage some time ago. Impossibly lit and detailed photos with overly-saturated colors were showing up everywhere . . . for a while. Some people hated them, some loved them.

For me, it’s just another tool I’d like to master. Not to create over-the-top images — although sometimes that can be fun — but as another weapon in my arsenal of photo-processing tools.

Briefly for them who want to know something but not much; if you know it, skip it:
while your eyes have a wide dynamic range as far as resolving details, cameras (film or digital) are limited in what they can resolve. By resolve I mean distinguish details and structures. Too dark a scene, and everything blends into a shadowy blob. Too light a scene, and you get a bright blob. We compensate — by we, I mean photographers — deal with extremes by adjusting the ISO (the response of the film or sensor), shutter speed (controls how much light is allowed to hit the film or sensor), and aperture (controlling how much light the lens lets in by controlling the size of the opening). Some or all of those tools used in conjunction with each other will let us take a photo of a very dark scene or a very bright scene and still get something that shows details and structure and texture. All well and good if it’s either or. A problem arises when a scene contains very dark areas and very bright areas. You can either compensate for one or the other or accept limitations in what you can show . . . OR . . . you can snap multiple photos — some showing what’s in the shadows and some showing what’s brightly lit — and blend them. 

Hmm . . . lots of words. Let me show you.

That’s a photo I took on our 2012 Alaska Cruise and processed for the blog.

It looks nice and all, but here’s another version . . .

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ElBob, I’ll remember you

August 31, 2014 was the first time LordBeariofBow (Brian Smith) commented on my blog. It didn’t take long for our exchanges to lean toward banter. Some might wonder how it is I remember the date of our initial conversation. It’s easy . . . I saved all of the comments notifications (and, therefore, the comments). All in all, I’ve had 716 interactions with Brian (some of the interaction spanning multiple exchanges) with roughly a tenth of those being direct email communications, and all of them with a good dose of aforementioned banter.

I’m not sure if he ever realized he was outclassed and outmatched . . . but then, I was also oblivious on the matter.

I could easily get a rise out of this otherwise gentle man just by calling a ship a boat, or explaining to him why American English is a much better language (an improvement, to be exact) than the stuffy Brittish version and yes, I could get an additional reaction by misspelling “British” and using the term as if it was interchangeable with “English”.

We also sparred on his love of Socialism, his defense of royalty and The Royals, and a few other things. It wasn’t always fun, of course. We butted heads on a few things and even cooled on each other for a few spells.

But make no mistake; I respected and admired the man even as I tried to educate him on the error of his ways. Brian was sharp, a self-taught erudite, intolerant of trendiness, unashamedly old-fashioned, entertaining, and a person who experienced life more fully than most. His blog is worth reading (if one can get past his tendency to be easily derailed by stray thoughts) because it deals with interesting events and offers the perspective of a person who had much to share by way of life experiences.

Yes . . . was. Brian had battled and overcome a few health issues before we connected in the blogosphere five years ago and recently had more severe health-related events to contend with.

Throughout it all, he maintained a good humor about the absurdity and frustration of life and continued to contribute to my and other people’s blogs until a few months ago when things started to take their toll and doing even routine things like taking his beloved Coco for a walk became too much of a burden.

Yesterday, on my return from the cruise, I read Brian had passed away on the 24th. Frankly, knowing his end-of-life wishes and how difficult things had gotten, it was a relief. He had wished for his body to be donated for medical research but he had become too frail to be accepted. 

I don’t remember when I came up with ElBob. This post briefly mentions the evolution of the moniker as an initial contraction of his blogging name (LBoB) to the eventual morphing of the abbreviation to ElBob. That same post is also when I offered up a logo to go with his name:

I never meant it as derogatory (I shorten many blogger names to make commenting easier) and he seemed to like it.

In the announcement, there’s the following bit:

“… if you fancy taking some time to remember dad I know he would love you to listen to Beethoven’s Missa solemnis. He’d be thrilled to think that was being played around the world for him. He also loved Beethoven s Ninth Symphony or Mozart’s Coronation March. If classical music is not your thing – he loved ol blues eyes – Frank Sinatra!”

I like some classical music but not in that kind of quantity/length. I’ll link them here . . .

. . . and even include (and listen to) one of the more palatable Sinatra songs . . .

When it comes to music in remembrance of someone, I offer the song I always mentally cue up in such circumstances . . . 

Sure, there are religious overtones and neither Brian or I lean that way, but the sentiment is true.

I also offer up this musical piece . . .

. . . to go with the following graphic (with my apologies to ElBob for using a cruise ship as the background) . . .

It’s one of the frustrating things with making friends online . . . the chances of ever meeting are remote. I would have liked to meet Brian in person and experience his smile and good humor first hand . . . along with his obstinacy and obdurateness. Hooroo, Brian (gosh; I hope I used that correctly).

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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General observations about stuff while waiting at the airport . . .

I started this blog post as we sat at the LaGuardia Delta terminal waiting for our flight . . . which had been delayed; twice. That was this past Saturday.

I hate wasting written words, so I thought I would finish the post and intermix a few of the cartoons and jokes I’ve saved over the last nine months (sorry if some were previously posted; I’m old and can’t remember stuff).  Here goes nothing . . .

I have the choice of either sitting here fighting sleep as we wait for our flight, or write a few things.

I suppose I could write a fiction piece or continue with any of my many unfinished fiction pieces.

Instead, I’ll pick my brain for observations and stuff . . .

  • People are (generally) oblivious of their surroundings, and that results in a disruption of the traffic and flow of pedestrians moving from one place to another.

  • When people realize they’re impeding human progress, they have one of two reactions; they either apologize profusely and get out of the way or they’re annoyed they might have to move to make way for progress. Sadly, the latter group makes up most of the population.

  • I yearn for a return to the time when animals were plain animals — and thus excluded from most public transports — and not, you know, comfort animals.

  • Mattresses must dread pulling cruise ship duty. As a user of mattresses on cruises (our cabins always come with one), I can sympathize. Our mattress looked like it was (re)formed to function as a pair of conjoined hammocks. Meaning, you know how mattresses are supposed to be flat? Ours had been shaped by the most corpulent people one can imagine. Our steward told us the mattresses were scheduled to be replaced, but they hadn’t gotten to our cabin yet. They probably give the old matrasses a burial at sea along with a posthumous medal for service well above the call of duty.

  • There are people in this world who love to be heard. Melisa and I can sit in a crowded place and no one will hear our conversation. On the other end of the spectrum? People like the ones more than 20ft away speaking so loud that we can’t avoid following their conversation. Not that it’s interesting; it’s just loud.

  • I hate (unwillingly) overhearing other people’s conversations. Not only are they seldom interesting, but the odds are I’ll overhear something that triggers a strong urge to go and correct the people about this or that fact. (side note: it’s why I have few friends)

  • There are two types of conversations I loathe overhearing because they are the strongest triggers as far as me wanting to correct someone: conversations relating to science and conversations relating to religion. That’s because the level of education (in matters of science and religion) in the population at large is  abysmal. (by the way, this next cartoon is — to date — my favorite of the year; let me know if you get it)

  • A sad observation: when you do something nice (like letting someone go ahead of you) invariably there’s a price to be paid (like they turn out to be one of them traffic impeders and you’re stuck behind them).

  • Wait; there’s another type of conversation I hate overhearing. It’s where two or more people try to outdo each other in relating the problems in their lives.

OK, I’m calling this done. I’ll just add a few cartoons for the pun-loving folks.

OK, I don’t know if that last one counts as a pun but I like it. Let me give you another one . . . 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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If you’re new to this blog, it might be a good idea to read the FAQ page. If you’re considering subscribing to this blog, it’s definitively a good idea to read both the About page and the FAQ page.

Posted in Personal | Tagged , , | 7 Comments