sky

Light Shifting

The camera gives us direct control over many things that, when we're studying a scene with our eyes, are handled automatically and subconsciously.

Most notably, the camera's idea of exposure – i.e. whatever we tell it to expose – gives it a tremendous light-shifting ability compared to our eyes, which always adapt to give our brain the most well-balanced exposure possible for the conditions.

Nowhere is this more obvious than the night sky, viewed here from near Dorset, Ontario in August.

Sun, clouds and math

I still can't quite shake the feeling that digital shooting lacks something compared to good old-fashioned film. It's the highlights, I think; film tapers off (but never quite saturates) in bright spots where CCD and CMOS chips just clip at white. The film 'just works' in a way that requires careful tweaking to duplicate in digital.

On the flip side, all this computing power has given us new artistic techniques that were so tedious as to be nearly inconceivable in the old days. High dynamic range (HDR) processing is a great example. Ten years ago, I wouldn't have even thought of trying to squeeze an 18-stop (factor of 260,000) range from shadow to highlight into a single image. Now that it's possible, it looks really cool:

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