CRE­ATE ARTIS­TIC EX­PO­SURES

Digital Photograper - - Techniques -

Use ex­po­sure wisely to cap­ture the en­er­getic at­mos­phere of a city

there is a great deal of move­ment in ur­ban lo­ca­tions. From traf­fic speed­ing through busy road in­ter­sec­tions, to com­muters flow­ing along pave­ments dur­ing the morn­ing rush hour, cities are full of en­ergy. it is there­fore vi­tal that we con­sider how this will ap­pear in our im­ages and take con­trol of ex­po­sure, to en­sure the dy­namism of our sub­ject shows through. Ul­tra-short shut­ter speeds won’t of­ten find a place in an ar­chi­tec­tural and cityscape photographer’s ar­se­nal, since the frozen move­ment these gen­er­ate pro­duces un­nat­u­rally static com­po­si­tions. Long ex­po­sures can be used for a mul­ti­tude of pur­poses. they can be em­ployed to soften skies for con­trast against sharp struc­tural de­tail, and to pro­duce a soft light qual­ity that cre­ates a painterly style. this bal­ances the dis­tri­bu­tion of de­tail through­out the frame.

ex­po­sures of sev­eral min­utes will also help to min­imise dis­tract­ing el­e­ments by re­mov­ing peo­ple and traf­fic, pro­vid­ing they are not sta­tion­ary for ex­tended pe­ri­ods. semi-slow shut­ter speeds, in the re­gion of two to three sec­onds, are best for oc­ca­sions where you want mo­tion to be vis­i­ble. try this in places where peo­ple, ve­hi­cles and clouds are widely spaced, to give them room to move through the frame and re­main dis­crete. Use 30-sec­ond ex­po­sures and above to cap­ture traf­fic trails or to ap­ply a silky look to skies, for a neu­tral back­drop to closer-cropped stud­ies.

the main ex­po­sure chal­lenge you will face in a city is the ex­treme range of con­trast. the dy­namic range of cur­rent cam­eras is ex­cel­lent, but is not wide enough to main­tain de­tail in the bright­est high­lights and deep­est shad­ows. More­over, it is mostly im­pos­si­ble to use an grad­u­ated neu­tral den­sity fil­ter, with­out ar­ti­fi­cially dark­en­ing the tops of fore­ground build­ings. soft­ware blend­ing op­tions are the best choice in these cases, as full con­trol over lo­calised ex­po­sure prob­lems is pos­si­ble. How­ever, it is then im­por­tant to con­sider the method of blend­ing, to avoid the halo ef­fects and noise ex­ag­ger­a­tion that is syn­ony­mous with con­ven­tional HDr pro­cess­ing. in­tel­li­gent ex­po­sure choice can en­sure the ef­fec­tive ap­pli­ca­tion of cre­ative tech­nique and fun­da­men­tal tonal man­age­ment.

Above SOFT TONES By ex­tend­ing the shut­ter speed, some­times to sev­eral sec­onds, light­ing can take a soft qual­ity un­der dif­fused light­ing. A longer ex­po­sure will also soften de­tail in the sky, cre­at­ing a pleas­ant andneu­tral back­ground

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