Dynamic Range

I have been teaching an Advanced Digital Photography course at Tafe, and in preparation for an HDR unit, I have been playing with High Dynamic Range. As much as I don't really love the HDR "look", especially as it comes out of Photomatix, it's rather like an addiction. You know it's bad for you but you just can't help pushing the tone mapping to a point that's good for the soul but bad for the body. Here are a few HDR deviations, in progress:


There are obviously a lot off issues with these images! Photoshop does a much more subtle job, but it's hard to drink water when you've had a taste of Vodka. I know that some fiddling with the tone mapping settings might reduce many of the artifacts and glowing sites, so I plan to tackle that when I get more time. There's also the obvious issue of movement across the bracketed frames. 

The interesting question for me is whether the issue of reduced dynamic range in traditional digital or analogue capture is a problem given that we are already are so conditioned to reading photographic images in that way. If our eyes and  brains are capable of a much broader dynamic range as we see life unfolding, shouldn't we understand and accept HDR images that are well resolved (unlike the abominations above) as the ideal? I have been looking at paintings as another 2-dimensional presentation of what is "seen" (whether real or imagined) to consider questions about blocked up shadows or highlights as an accepted truth. Reproductions on screen are obviously not a good way to be examining this, so a trip to the Art Gallery is in order. I guess even the Camera Obscura offered artists a higher dynamic range than the digital camera?

To be continued..

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