Saturday, October 09, 2010

Shooting in low light doesn't always need HDR or a Flash to work

Shooting with just the existing natural light is a challenge. First you have to decide how much detail and noise you are willing to accept for a higher ISO. Why the higher ISO don't always have the benefit, or permission even, to use a tripod let alone "brace" yourself on something if you are in a museum or similar setting. The higher ISO allows for a faster shutter to eliminate camera shake, but it does so at the expense of image quality as the ISO climbs.

Bracketing is the salvation of shooting with a window providing the light.

Thank goodness for tone mapping being able to be applied to an image to bring all tones captured into range that can be displayed on your screen or printed image material.

For this image of the captain's desk on the Queen Mary I didn't have the benefit of being able to use a tripod or brace myself on something. I knew I was good for relatively slow shutter speeds (1/10 second) so I set my ISO at a moderate 800 and bracketed 1 stop each way from metered.

The final image was cleaned up for color balance, a bugger when you have sunlight streaming in from a window coupled with regular incandescent lighting through the use of Adobe's CS5 color tone and color filters. After that was done the image was tone mapped to bring down the bright window to a more acceptable level and bring in some more of the shadow details. Low light image rescue completed.

This won't be among the images at Thursdays Bolt Barbers Gallery Reception. There will be ample images on the wall and in my trusty satchel for you to peruse. The gallery is located within Bolt Barbers, 460 S Spring Street, Los Angeles CA. The reception is 10/14/2010, 7-9:30PM.

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