Friday, May 05, 2017

Blinking in the intense light

Whilst I did live in Perth for just over 5 years in the late 70's early 80's I had forgotten how harsh the normal midday sun could be over in this part of Western Australia. Correction make that anytime from about 15 minutes after sunrise to about 20 minutes before sunset. The full sun is brilliant, hot and anything white is shimmering, brilliantly white, But hang on the sky is also a brilliant blue and the dappled shade is full of colour. Still the intensity strains my eyes and IPrisma Filter rather than over exposed have to reach for my polaroid sunglasses that’s better. White it is still white but the colours are even richer now.

If I try taking a photo the results are strikingly different, everything is bleached and washed out. The sky is usually blown out to total white and the shadows are thin and inciped. What's going on, well my eyes have a much wider dynamic range (It can auto tune itself to a broad range of light intensities) whereas a modern digital camera has a smaller range and it my try to expose to get the best "average" intensity and strong light makes this a challenge. Also I'm wearing sunglasses.

So is there a way to get decent photos in this intense light? Well apart for only getting your camera out for the 15 minutes of golden hour light at the beginning and end of each day. Or wait for a cloudy day!

Yes there are many ways

  1. Use a very low ISO (making the camera less sensitive to light, means it can tolerate more light)
  2. Move to a higher f-stop (make the aperture smaller and thus less light)
  3. Use a neutral density filter (it screens out a lot of light)
  4. Use a polarizing filter (cuts glare and works like the sunglasses)
  5. Use a Negative EV setting (many phones won't have ISO or f-stop setting, but they probably have an EV slider on the camera app)
  6. Use an bracketed set of exposures, and post process using a HDR technique

Three Photo Stitched Panorama

C: Pentax K20D Tamron DX 18-200mm Lens 40mm
E: ISO 200 F/11 1/2000 sec (-1.0 EV)
F: RAW .pef
WB: Auto
Polarizing Filter

PP: Autostitched 3 Photos

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