Assignment 2: Seeing Like Your Camera Rework

The assignment revolves around high-contrast scenes.  You will need to produce a set of photographs that demonstrate that you can pre-visualise how your digital camera ‘sees’ a scene.

Submit three images for each of the four situations that you choose.  You will need to decide the most appropriate metering mode and settings for your camera.  The aim is to get correctly exposed images straight out of the camera, with NO post-processing, therefore the file format that you must use is high-quality .jpeg, even if you normally shoot using RAW.

Part One

Choose a minimum of four situations from the following models: –

  1.       Street scene in the middle of a clear, sunny day – narrow streets and high           buildings which cast deep, long shadows.
  2.       Indoor space in which the only available light is strong natural window light.
  3.       Photographing people in the shade while the background is in the sunshine         e.g. a group portrait in the shade of a tree.
  4.       Early morning or late evening landscapes with low-angle incident light.
  5.       Any backlit scene, whether in direct or indirect light.
  6.       Scenes which include objects of very different reflectivity, even in flat light         such as an overcast day.
  7.       Indoor scenes illuminated by a single source of artificial light of high                   luminance e.g. a desk lamp.
  8.       A scene with strong incident dappled light.

For my assignment I chose tasks 2, 5, 6 and 7.

Part 2

Select one of the four situations that you chose in Part One and think about what the lighting conditions should be in order to reduce the contrast of the scenes that you photographed, or even make them low contrast scenes. Once you’ve chosen the scenes, make the same three images in your chosen situation low(er) contrast and shoot them.

I chose scenario 7. Indoor Scenes Illuminated By A Single Source of Artificial Light

Preamble

This assignment is about examining my ability to have control over my camera and my ability to predict what will appear when I do control the camera settings.

Every scenario is about high contrasts and pushing the camera sensor to and beyond the dynamic range it has.  This will then make me, the photographer, decide what is important within a scene as far as what details are the most important and what can safely be lost without spoiling the image, or to recognise scenes that give the lighting effect I desire without exceeding the dynamic range of the sensor.

I believe that there is a general maxim that you should shoot for the highlights in a scene and this maxim if followed faithfully and fearlessly by many.  I’m not sure that it’s a good idea to follow that general rule as it leads to a lot of under-exposed areas in a lot of images.  I would prefer to follow the rules that the details that the photographer wants to show off the most should be catered for and if this then means that there are blown highlights and lowlights, provided they do not impinge on the import of the image message, then so be it.  Where this will fall down is when a scene demands that detail from all areas share the same importance.  Then the photographer will have to make the decision about how to tackle this; which vantage point to use to minimise clipping, should two or more images be made and blended, should HDRI be used or will highlight and lowlight clipping be acceptable.  All this will depend upon the dynamic range of the camera sensor to a great extent as the better the range is, the less important post-processing techniques become.

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