Thursday, 10 March 2011

Landscape - Project 12 - Contrast and Exposure

The project calls for a contrasty scene with deep shadow and bright highlights. The interest here is to determine the number of stops of dynamic range and deal with the problem. There would of course be problems if using film due to the difference in dynamic range of transparency and negative stock. I however am using a digital camera, the Nikon D3.

During the taking the following notes were made.
Date March 8th
Time 09:41
Temperature 2c
Location West Acre Norfolk - Old railway trucks
Camera Nikon D3
Lens 17-35 AFS zoom at 32mm
ISO 200
Shutter 1/250 sec
Aperture f7.1
Auto matrix metering
Hand held meter - Kenko KFM-2100
Incident in sun = f5.6
Spot on bracken = f4
Spot on truck end = f2
Deepest shadow in truck = f1.4
Brightest highlight in sky = f22
Number of stops difference = 8

The file was opened in CS5 Camera Raw 6.0 to view the areas of the image that are outside the current DR. Red = Highlights with no detail
Blue = Shadow with no detail

Within the raw converter the highlights are recovered and the shadow detail increased. A small amount of black is left as I find that acceptable although I have reduced all of the highlights to include a tone.

The resulting image (above) now has better dynamic range, with opened shadows. The image has though become flatter and less appealing, although as a record for a viewer interested in the antique railway carriage it has better detail.

For the purpose here however I would like a more interesting image and with the use of  the clarity, vibrance and saturation controls I can add some colour interest without losing the shadows or highlights.

From the above and with a little amount of local dodging and burning, some local contrast control using USM I have below my final photograph. It displays a full range of tones with no burnt out highlights and a very small amount of black at the extreme of the shadows.

Further manipulation is not required at this stage, nor for the requirements of this project. Further projects deal with adding light into the landscape and this location will be used again, with maybe a remote flash inside the railway truck.


The problems of using film (especially transparency) on a shoot such as this have been reduced to almost Nil by the use of  a digital camera, shooting raw files and using CS5 raw conversion. A film user would have shot maybe 5 bracketed frames and then chosen from a light box the frame that seemed the best compromise. A negative film would solve some problems providing the prints were hand made. Sheet film monochrome even better as each frame can be processed individually.

Correct exposure is still however a target requirement for good photography, even with a digital camera.

No comments:

Post a Comment