This is the first in a series of articles discussing proactive management of key elements involved in creating high-quality digital images. In this segment, I’ll review use of the SpyderCUBE in managing dynamic range and exposure.
The simplest take-away from the oft-misunderstood Zone System, is that an image should be exposed to utilize the most or all of the range from black to white, without unintended clipping of near-whites, or blocking up of near- blacks. If the image does not incorporate the full dynamic range in a scene, the photographer should have done this by intent.
In digital photography, the most commonly recommended camera settings involve protecting detail in the brightest parts of the image, and correcting everything else in post-processing.[Read More]
As photographers, preserving detail in the shadows is a goal that we often go to great lengths to achieve, both through good exposure practices and post-processing. Preserving, and in some cases, enhancing, detail in the darkest shadows may be important for some shots, but it’s not a rule that needs to be applied to every photograph. One thing that causes some HDR images to look so unconvincing is the improbable level of detail that is visible in the darkest areas, even in scenes that are obviously backlit or photographed looking directly into the sun. Just because you can show detail in the darkest parts of the scene, doesn’t mean that it adds anything worthwhile to the image. Indeed, there is much that can be gained in terms of dramatic impact, mystery and depth by purposefully pushing the image into the darker realms of the tonal scale.[Read More]