Life through the Lens (13 September 2020)

When my eyesight was still good, I was a bit of an amateur photographer. This is one of mine.

image showing a silhouette of a camera

The last couple of weeks I’ve presented some wonderful chalk formations on the French coast. This week those same chalk formations, but in England. Durdle Door, in Dorset. Less than an hour’s drive from me, it used to be a regular haunt, I wandered over there at sunrise one day, and had the place to myself.

This one was an early HDR shot – all programs nowadays can produce an HDR (high dynamic range) effect, but when I took this, there were just a few specialist packages. I had to take several identical shots (so I needed a tripod to keep the camera steady). Each shot, I increased the the amount of light I let into the camera. Lastly, I used one of these packages to combine all these images into one.

The thinking is, by using several images, all with a slightly different setting, then sticking them together, the resulting image is more like what the human eye can see.

(In all photography, light passes through a lens, through a hole which you open briefly to allow the light into the camera. You can control how much light gets into the camera by changing the size of the hole (the aperture), and by changing how long you open the hole for (the shutter speed).

These days, every camera will make a very good guess at the “right” amount of light, so all we need to do is to press a button, but good cameras will let you to set these values manually if you want to achieve a specific effect.)

HDR photography traditionally involved taking the same photograph several times, each time with a different aperture, then using software to combine them into one image.


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