High Dynamic Range

by Rich Pasco

Many modern digital cameras lack in dynamic range, the ability to simultaneously capture details in bright areas and dark areas. Setting exposure for sunlight may make details in the shade disappear into blackness (fig. 1); conversely setting exposure for shade may wash out areas in sunlight (fig. 2). The composite (fig. 3) combines the best of both. This was a manual cut and paste job via an image editor.

Click any photo to enlarge.

Fig 1
Fig. 1: As shot: House under-exposed, background OK

Fig 2
Fig. 2: - As shot: House OK, background over-exposed

Fig 3
Fig. 3: - Combination taking best parts of both

The finished image would have looked silly if both the house and the landscape were at the same brightness. So...

  • In Fig 1, where I exposed for the background, about 1 stop overexposed (vs the meter) because I wanted it to be bright in the finished image.
  • In Fig 2, where I exposed for the house, about 1 stop underexposed (vs the meter) because I wanted it to be dark in the finished image.
Date shot: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Location: Skelly Lodge, Catoosa OK
Photographer: Richard Pasco