The Camera Never Lies

April 22, 2021  •  1 Comment

Blog 21 04 23 Camera Neve LiesBlog 21 04 23 Camera Neve Lies

This image is one of a set of three, a “Triptych” of runners on the path surrounding the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park. Taken late afternoon in the Summer, directly into the sun, it provided a beautiful “black and white” opportunity to frame a fascinating silhouette, reminiscent of Balinese shadow puppetry.

However, if you view closely, you will see that image colour has not been suppressed and that the foliage remains green. Only pumping up the exposure, or the brightness, in post-processing will reveal the colours of the leaves and the runner.

Raw Photography

This is neither a reference to tough subjects nor to working while unclothed. I photograph using the “Raw” version of the camera’s files. These are uncompressed versions of the original image and retain all the data captured by the sensor. Although they are large, they offer the maximum amount of computational manipulation in post-processing.

On initial viewing, many photographs lose details in the extremes of dark and bright sections of the image. This can be due to the weakness of a camera versus a human being in handling “dynamic range: the difference between the “whitest whites and the “blackest blacks” which were captured. Professional cameras have made great advances in reducing this disparity between the abilities of the camera versus its photographer, resulting in technical decisions to prioritise lighter or darker elements, in order to obtain a satisfactory, overall optical solution.

Dodging and Burning

Similarly to my remarks about “Raw”, this should not be interpreted as riotous, incendiary behaviour in the city by the photographer. That said, it has traditionally taken place in a dark room, which may create some initial suspicion. Joking apart, it is the technique, used both in chemical and digital photography of manipulating the exposure in an image, to increase or decrease the luminosity of a section of the photograph. Burned-out highlights can be darkened so as to recover colour and detail and overly dark shadows can similarly be lightened.

Technical progress is slowly reducing the gap between our wondrously-made eyes and the capacity of lens, camera and silicon to match us in dynamic range. In the meantime, Raw capture and post-processing has saved my skin from poor technical choices or the limitations of my much-loved Nikons.

Settings

Camera: Nikon D300

Lens: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8

Focal Length: 125mm

Drive Mode: Single Shot

Auto Focus-Area Mode: Single

Aperture: f/7.1

Shutter Speed: 1/1250s

Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority A/E

Exposure Compensation: 0.0 EV

Metering: Pattern

ISO Sensitivity: 800

Hand Held

Format: Raw

Place : Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, Central Park, New York

Year: 2008

 

Copyright Paul Grayson 2021 All Rights Reserved

 


Comments

Eric Bontemps(non-registered)
Superbe silhouette prise à l'instant décisif. Belle technique de prise de vue, mais là je me répète.
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