Wednesday, 31 January 2007

HDR.... fad or the future...?

HDR or High Dynamic Range is method of merging images taken at different exposure settings, such that both the highlights and shadows are maintained.

How many times have you tried to take a picture from inside a room and try to get the view out the window as well..? What normally happens is that you can get the view out of the window correctly exposed, but then the room is dark, or the room properly exposed and the view completely blown out. Thats because the dynamic range of your film, transparencies or CCD is limited, so it can't record the whole range of light values present. So you have to choose whether you want detail in the shadows, or in the highlights because you can't have both... until now... 'you mean I can have it all !!!'... well sort of....

You can now take three or more exposures covering the mids, highlights and shadows, stuff these images into a piece of software like Photomatix which then combines the images, performs tone mapping and gives you back an image with everything..... Sounds good doesn't it... so where's the catch ?? Well.... all your images have to be the same, pixel for pixel, so you need a tripod, then you have to adjust your camera up and down at least 2 stops. You now have to process 3 files instead of one and well... the tone mapping can give you some pretty funky results, very artistic but not exactly true to life... (I imagine sometime in the future all this will be done in-camera in the blink of an eye, but until then...)

The web is awash with interesting examples, like here and here. If you want to read a good tutorial, try this one... and have a go.. its lots of fun.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Magazines.... in-print or on-screen...?

I'll say it right now.... I'm a bit of a magazine'aholic.... But with the internet image content growing not only in size, but quality, and most of it being free, can the printed magazine really last much further into the future...?

I sincerely hope so, because for me there is no equivalent to seeing the printed image. The magazines that I see having potential problems are the typical 'how to'/'review' types. The internet is so active and so jammed packed full of forums, review sites etc, I don't know how these type of magazines can continue to compete. For example, by the time they print a review of something its already old news on the web...

The magazines that I see with a future are those which concentrate on images only... and whose image content is way above average.... Bearing this in mind, my current favorites are:
  • Lenswork - A small format magazine from the States, B&W only, the images and printing are stunning and the content inspiring. It has been going for years and I hope in continues for many more. There is also an enhanced issue which basically contains the entire content of the printed magazine plus added images, interviews, podcasts etc, in a pdf format, a clever bridge between the real and virtual worlds.
  • Phot'Art - A new'ish magazine from France, with absolutely gorgeous printing, also includes sumptuous glossy pages on heavy format paper. Images are both colour and B&W. The webpage is a bit sparse, and does no justice at all to what is a very high quality printed magazine.
I do enjoy some of the online magazines as well (I'll talk about those another time), but if you like the printed image you'll be hard pushed to find anything better than the magazines mentioned above...

Welcome to the ESAC Photo Blog

Here's the start of what hopefully will be a useful resource for all things photographic and also a quick way of finding out whats going on in the ESAC Photoclub.

I will set everything up so club members can create entries in the blog. If you want to respond to any entry please use the 'comments' functionality don't create another entry.

Thats it then........ blog away to your hearts content........