DPP: Part 2 ? Digital Image Qualities: Exercise 9 ? Scene dynamic range
April 7, 2013
The aim of this exercise is to measure the dynamic range of a variety of scenes now that I have an idea of what my camera can cope with.
I’ve taken six different images, measuring the brightest and darkest areas using spot metering on my camera. I’ve ensured I’ve got at least one image with a high dynamic range and one or two with a low range.
This image has a reasonably high dynamic range, though could have been greater on a clearer day; it’s just over five stops from darkest point beneath the bridge and the bright but cloudy sky, as shown below:
This image has a low range – just over one stop from darkest to brightest point:
This image includes a reflection on the water which provides a brighter point than in the flatter low range image above, so I expected it to increase the range within the image. It did, but not by a lot – the range is still quite small, being just shy of two stops:
I was interested to look at range when an object is painted in a dark colour but includes reflection highlights on the metal surface. I also figured an image with the subject much closer to camera was more like the kind of thing I typically would shoot. I was surprised this had a higher range than the water reflection image, though it makes sense given the bulk of the subject is darker than anything in the previous image. The range in this was three stops:
This included a mix of dark areas, shadows and brighter areas as it was lit by the sun (albeit diffused by the thin cloud cover). This has a range of just over two stops:
I felt the other images were rather “samey” so I decided to shoot one more image than the exercise calls for to add a bit more variety – so I chose an indoor view that included a light source. This pushed things a bit more than the others, but it’s still within the camera’s capability – containing a range of just over seven stops: