Project: Highlight Clipping

Exercise: Highlight Clipping

 

Part 1

Find a scene that has a wide range of brightness, then using manual exposure; find the exposure setting at which the highlight clipping warning just appears.  Make a note of the aperture and shutter speed.  Next, increase the exposure by one f-stop, adjusting either the aperture or the shutter speed.  Make three more images in which the exposure is decreased by one f-stop each time.  Open the images in a browser and make notes on the following aspects of the highlight appearance: –

  •  Completely lost areas of visual information.
  • A visible break in the form of an edge between nearly white and total white.
  • A colour caste along a fringe bordering the clipped white highlight.
  • The colour saturation.

Image 1 – Unprocessed RAW Editor View

Image 1

ISO 400, f/22, 1/15” – In-camera, this image showed a minimal amount of highlight clipping, but when viewed in LR 4 there was none showing.  This disparity can only be put down to the differences in the software algorithms used by the camera and the browser to determine at what level highlight clipping occurs, clearly lower in-camera than in-browser.

The notes asked for in this exercise do not apply to this image, although colour saturation could be said to be low, but this is common to most images made on this particular camera and so I believe it cannot be ascribed to highlight clipping.

Image 2 – Unprocessed RAW Editor View

Image 2

ISO 400, f/16, 1/15” – Highlight clipping has occurred around the window frames of the building opposite.  Where the highlight clipping is seen to occur, virtual loss of detailed visual information has happened also.  There doesn’t appear to be any break in the form of an edge between nearly white and total white at any point.  No colour caste along a fringe bordering the clipped white highlight has occurred.  The colour saturation along the brickwork is noticeably less than image 1 although it has improved significantly in the leaves.

  

Image 3 – Unprocessed RAW Editor View

Image 3

ISO 400, f/11, 1/15” – Highlight clipping has increased markedly with comparison to image 2, although the specific area remains the same.  Where the highlight clipping is seen to occur, total loss of detailed visual information has happened in most places.  I cannot detect any break in the form of an edge between nearly white and total white at any point.  A slight black colour caste has occurred in some areas between the window frame and the brickwork along the fringe bordering the clipped white highlight.  The colour saturation along the brickwork is noticeably less than image 2 and has deteriorated significantly in the leaves.

Image 4 – Unprocessed RAW Editor View

 Image 4

 ISO 400, f/8, 1/15” – The total area of highlight clipping has increased massively in comparison with image 3 and now affects approximately 1/3 of the image.  Where the highlight clipping is seen to occur, total loss of detailed visual information has happened in very large areas.  Visible breaks in the form of an edge between nearly white and total white can be seen on the brickwork.  The amount and density of the highlight clipping has removed any colour caste along any fringes bordering the clipped white highlight.   The colour saturation along the brickwork is noticeably less than image 3 and has deteriorated more in the leaves, although now colour saturation is beginning to appear to be better in the room interior.

Image 5 – Unprocessed Raw Editor View

Image 5

ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/15” – Highlight clipping is covering approximately the same area as in image 4, but now the density of the clipping has increased.  Where the highlight clipping is seen to occur, total loss of detailed visual information is universal.  There are no visible breaks in the form of an edge between nearly white and total white anywhere.  Colour saturation along the brickwork is non-existent and many of the leaves are beginning to show loss of colour too.  The colour saturation within the room is now much nearer normal and much more visual detailed information is visible.

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