12 June, 2007

High Dynamic Ranger! Tone Away!

The human eye and the camera, whether film or digital, are not equals. It’s simple to say and as much as we want to, neither film nor digital can reproduce what the eye sees. Sure there are tricks to get around it, multiple exposures for film and an increase in the use of High Dynamic Range or HDR. Basically, what it’s doing is increasing the range of light and dark that can be captured. Really, its multiple exposures for digital, but we’ll skip the technicalities. For example have you ever tried to take a picture of a gorgeous sky only to have the landscape underneath disappear (as seen on the left)? Or maybe the opposite, you took a fantastic landscape, but then the sky went white and lost all of it’s detail (as seen on the right)?

And this is what can be done with HDR.

“Belmar #2: Lakewood”

Beyond the HDR to bring out all of the tones, I’ve actually desaturated the image to produce black and white print, which I then followed up by selectively split toning. Split toning is a traditional darkroom method to add color to traditional silver prints (black and white). I did mine toning digitally since many of my captures are digital (and as it turns out, many toners happen to be carcinogenic, but then again, what isn’t these days?). The main difficulty in producing “Belmar #2: Lakewood” was that I knew I wanted to do a color HDR as well as a black and white, and a selectively toned image. I haven’t had much practice switching between thinking in color and thinking in black and white. You either think solely about the light and shadows or the use of color, or at least I do. We'll work on changing that. I f you are interested in some more toning work, check out Phil Borges, who does absolutely incredible work. Also take a peek at the work of Mark Eshbaugh.

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