Friday, June 1, 2007
Take a break from "serious photography" and you might get a serious photograph
The photograph shown here, taken that morning, was taken with my Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II. I stood in a clearing at Furnace Creek, aiming above some buildings and palm trees. This wasn’t exactly a wilderness experience, but my 70-200mm zoom allowed me to isolate a simple composition of mountains and clouds. The exposure was tough, given the contrast range. I was able to hold information in the highlights, but the underexposure of the low values caused some noise problems.
Looking back, I wish I had bracketed my compositions. Had I made one exposure for the shadows and one for the highlights, I could have blended two images. Had I been using a tripod, I could have used Photoshop’s HDR feature, which could have solved the shadow noise problem (see Lewis Kemper’s Increasing The Dynamic Range training DVD at www.lewiskemper.com). Given that I didn’t anticipate this problem, another solution would have been to process the file in its RAW form twice, once to optimize the shadows and the other to control the highlights. Then the file is blended to provide the advantages of both. The solution I’ve settled on is using the Highlight/Shadow tool in Photoshop. I used the feature on a separate background layer since it isn’t available as an adjustment layer, otherwise it’s irreversible.
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