Photography Challenges – Part 2

Awhile ago, I posted my first attempts at developing my photography skills. This is my next installment of continuing attempts at improvement.


Zone Ruler

One of the things most emphasised in most tutorials is the need to understand your camera’s dynamic range. This exercise is meant to get you more in-tune with your camera settings as well, and to understand the differences in light and exposure for every change in a full f-stop.

It was quite a challenge to maintain an even exposure with natural light, so I had to experiment with the placement of the 18% grey card and the time of day a few times to get the exposure consistently correct. Eventually, I managed to record values for 11-stops in my camera and combined the results into a zone ruler for my reference.

I now know that I can overexpose an image up to 3 full f-stops or under expose an image up to 3 f-stops and still retain an appreciable details in the image

My camera's dynamic range plotted in a Zone Ruler
My camera’s dynamic range plotted in a Zone Ruler

The other assignment I had was to photograph 2 different subjects to produce 2 different sets of images – one in high key; one in low key. And then, to ‘save’ the details in the images that were lost to highlights and/or shadows.

Overexposed Image

For this set, I took several photographs of the inside of my washing machine drum. To product a high key image with was pretty simple, as the inside of the drum is evenly shadowed. I only had to take a correctly exposed image and then overexpose it by 2 full f-stops. I then ‘saved’ some of the details lost to highlights by shifting the histogram just a little to the left.

The inside of a washing machine
The inside of a washing machine

Underexposed Image

This was a little more challenging because I just couldn’t find the right subject for the experiment. After hours of hunting all around the neighbourhood I finally found the subject in my own home! Talk about luck.

It was the billowing curtains that gave me the idea actually. I then thought of incorporating the light/shadows of that scene with an inanimate object in shadows. But I felt that the composition lacked something until I spotted my cat sniffing at the bicycle tyre. So I picked him up, placed him in the basket and voila!

Since I focused on my cat, the bicycle itself was much too shadowed. So I had to pull the histogram to the right just a tad. Then I cropped the image to get rid of unwanted distractions and details.

Pensive Cat
Pensive Cat

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