Scene Dynamic Range

Following on from my previous exercise in this project, the object of this exercise was to find five scenes of varying dynamic range. One needed to have a very high dynamic range and one needed to be low dynamic range or ‘flat’. The other three could be of any range at all to give a further idea of my camera’s abilities and my own in deciding upon the dynamic range I would like to encompass within the frame.

After taking each desired scene, I noted down the exposure of various points within the frame by using my camera’s spot meter. The images themselves were taken using the centre-weighted meter.

ISO200, 27mm, f/6.3, 1/500

My measured points range between 1/50 in the shadows and 1/2000 in the white clouded area and is fairly well balanced although I didn’t measure the far left hand side of the frame which also looks very bright.

ISO200, 31, f/4, 1/250

ISO200, 31, f/4, 1/250

A nicely contrasted scene, which causes little or no problems for the camera. I was quite surprised that the top of the wall measured at 1/1000 and looks to my eye a little over exposed. The shadows in the windows are quite dark.

ISO200, 33mm, f/4, 1/250

ISO200, 33mm, f/4, 1/250

This is the very high contrast scene. The difference between the darkest point (at 1/20) and the brightest is huge. My camera hit 1/4000 and could give me no more (hence the ‘+’ sign). At this point (as can be seen in the image) the highlight area is completely overexposed or ‘blown’. The dark areas have little to no detail either. Interestingly with a small amount of cover the area top-right comes in at 1/2500.

ISO200, 49, f/4.5, 1/250

ISO200, 49, f/4.5, 1/250

Another quite high contrasting scene between 1/10 in the rafters and 1/2000 on the pillar. The light flooding in from the right diminishes quickly on contact with the lower reflecting surfaces (such as the grey floor tiles) but has a dramatic highlight on the yellow pillar. The green part of the pillar, which faces uppermost, also looks blown out. The area beyond the red lanterns also looks to be very highlighted although the measurement taken didn’t really bear this out. The rafters are very dark, being completely shielded from the direct light and also very dark in colour. The yellow rafters meanwhile pick up a lot more light even though they are in the same place as the dark ones by nature of having a less light-absorbing surface.

ISO1600, 43mm, f/4, 1/25

ISO1600, 43mm, f/4, 1/25

This is the low contrast, low range image. I have had to get out of all direct light, heavily reflected light and avoid all highlights and shadows as much as possible. It became quite a tricky shot to take in the end as everywhere I looked had such a relatively large dynamic range. This image ranges only between 1/20-1/100 which in comparison to my previous images is extremely small. I have also had to shoot at ISO1600 in the low light conditions.

The most noticeable thing about this exercise was the difficulty I had in finding the low range image whilst at the same time having an interesting image to present. Although other images in the series may have areas of extreme highlight (and occasionally blown out although I haven’t made any correction on the shots), and very dark shadow, the contrast, dynamism and interest is created by this. The image above, on the other hand, is one that literally lacks any dynamism and as such I find it a very drab, uninteresting image to look at. If the exact same photograph had been taken in bright sunlight I am pretty sure it would at least have had some modicum of interest to the viewer.

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One thought on “Scene Dynamic Range

  1. Pingback: Enhancement | BA Blog

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