Thursday, December 4, 2008
PHOTOGRAPHER'S DIARY: I walked today, but the lighting guy had closed up shop and gone home. Sometimes it's like that. The last good shooting day for me was Sunday. Although the sun broke through only occasionally and weakly, the clouds provided interest, and after using up the last of the subeams at Misty Morning Farm, I threw myself recklessly into the orchards on top of Baldwin Hill. Of many experiments, the husky alto of this music seemed to suit the moment.
TECHNICAL - Some time ago several friends recommended high dynamic range (HDR) processing. After shooting this I began fooling with the software. To use it, one needs images shot at different exposures. This image is about as good as modern cameras can record in the situation above. Where the sun breaks through the image is overexposed, burnt out, the pixels have been blown away. At the same time, where the trees are in silhouette the image is underexposed, there is not enough light, detail has been lost.
I've been preparing to shoot HDR for some time, taking three images to preserve detail at both ends of the histogram. I wish I'd shot this for HDR to see what I could have done with the finished image. On another occasion I might have chosen not to shoot in such unpromising light, but somehow, on Sunday this silhouette seemed right, and I'm not sure HDR could have gotten closer to the mood.
This is best viewed full screen. In fact, zoom in and you'll see the exposure was carefully calibrated to preserve much of the shadow detail.