Combining Bracketed Phqtqs

Combining Bracketed Images

© 2002 Gregory Georges

28.1

ABOUT THE IMAGE

Shenandoah National Forest After Sunset Canon EOS D30 digital camera,28-70mm f/2.8 at 34mm, ISO 100, RAW image quality, f/2.8 @ 1/10 and f/4.0 @ 1/10, 2160 x 1440 pixels, images have been converted from 16-bit to 8-bit .tif

28.2

© 2002 Gregory Georges

© 2002 Gregory Georges

28.2

© 2002 Gregory Georges ust looking at these photos makes me cold. When getting out of I the car to take them, I seriously questioned whether I really wanted to take photos that much. The temperature dropped I about 30-degrees in an hour — it was around 18 degrees F with a ■ 40-mph wind blowing the light rain up the side of the mountain directly into my face and the camera lens. By the time I got the camera set up on a tripod and took two shots, my face and hands were numb. A quick look at the images shown in Figure 28.1 gives you an idea of the challenge — to blend the best parts of the bracketed images together to give good detail in the light areas and good detail in the shadows.

Admittedly, I did not take the best possible photos in this case. Given a more relaxed shooting environment, I would have used the camera's spot-metering capability and metered the sky and then the foreground, while taking a photo in each case. Instead, I set up the camera very quickly — took one shot — changed from f/2.8 to f/4.0, took a second shot, and jumped back into the car!

After you complete this technique, my bet is you'll find that shooting bracketed photos and combining them by using this technique will yield better results than if you were to take the time to use a graduated neutral density filter. As you will see, this technique does not force you into positioning a perfectly gradated filter over an image of a scene where life is not so perfect, and, where the dynamic range of the subject exceeds the dynamic range of your digital camera's imaging chip or the film in your film camera. Try this technique on the images supplied on the companion CD-ROM — then try it on some of your own.

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