Sunday, 15 July 2012

Exercise: Scene dynamic range

This project builds on the last one by suggesting we photograph a range of scenes with different levels of dynamic range. I have chosen to photograph a mini-series about ‘Growth’, in the gardening sense (keeping it close to home again!)

Growth Settings:
  1.  Seeds (with artificial light) 1/125, f/4
    •  Bean 20sec, f/4
    • Spade 3sec, f/4
  2. Sunny sky 1/750, f/4
    •  Sky 1/500, f/4
    • Bright white cloud 1/1000, f/4
    • Grey could 1/350, f/4
  3. Growing (small): (overcast, cloudy) 1/250, f/3.5
    • Dirt 1/45, f/3.5
    • Porch 1/1000, f/3.5
    • Leaves 1/350, f/3.5
  4. Growing (larger): (sunlit) 1/125, f/4
    • White cord 1/500, f/4
    • Dirt 1/20, f/4
  5. Cutting on bench – with knife for reflection: (sunlit) 1/1000, f/2.8
    • Blade 1/8000, f/4.5
    • Shadows 1/60, f/4.5

The dynamic ranges were calculated as follows:
  1. Seeds: approximately 3 stops
  2. Sunny sky: approximately 2.5 stops
  3. Growing (small): approximately 4.5 stops
  4. Growing (larger): approximately 3.5 stops
  5. Cutting on bench: approximately 7 stops

Growth Images:

Seeds ~ 3 stops
Sunny sky ~ 2.5 stops
Growing (small) ~4.5 stops
Growing (larger) ~3.5 stops
Cutting on bench ~7 stops
The dynamic ranges of these images are generally quite low (and ‘safe’), apart from the one I planned to have high dynamic range, by including the highly reflective object (the knife) and shooting into the reflection to maximise the dynamic range. According to Lightroom there is a tiny bit of highlight clipping on the edge of the knife, so my camera copes fine with 7 stops. The sunny sky image has the lowest dynamic range at 2.5 stops, but I would not consider this image to be 'flat' in the way the notes describe.

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