Friday, December 18, 2009

A Good Model and A Really Good Photographer

Actually, I'm not really blowing my own horn. The model and the "really good photographer" are the same person. Today's subject is a friend's teenage daughter. The friend is a professional photographer and some of her talent has rubbed off on her daughter. A group of friends went to a reasonably local park for some shooting and a picnic. Small groups went every which way, shooting various subjects. This young lady was the "gear guard". I was talking to one of the folks attending the shoot about rapid fire shooting in a bracketing mode to obtain a series of images that could be used for HDR work. He had a Nikon D3 and I had a Nikon D300. He had heard my camera during the shooting of a sequence and commented on the fact that he could hear the camera "bog down", or so he thought. He bragged that his camera could shoot a sustained 7 or 8 frames per second. I suggested he might want to try the same shot I had just taken. He set his camera to shoot a seven shot sequence, ranging from -3 to +3 EV in one stop increments. He raised his camera and fired. To his surprise, his camera "bogged down" just as mine had. He looked confused and asked if I knew what had happened. Here's the explanation. The "normal" exposed in the shade was 1/60th of a second in aperture priority mode. Therefore, his sequence was 1/500 (+2 stops), 1/250 (+2stops), 1/125 (+1 stop), 1/60 (normal exposure), 1/30 (-1 stop), 1/15 (-2 stops) and 1/8 (-3 stops). You can't hear the difference between 1/500, 1/250 or 1/125 second exposures. You'd be hard pressed to differentiate between 1/60 and 1/30. But, when you start getting down to 1/15 or 1/8 second shutter speeds your "click" becomes "clliicck" and the change becomes noticeable. He forgot that the sustained firing rate was dependent on the shutter speed. To find out how today's image came about, hit the "read more".

This image didn't need a seven shot sequence. It really didn't need a five shot burst. I took the -2, normal and +2 shots and produced and HDR image. Even using rapid fire bracketing a couple of issues came up. Her fingers moved just enough to produce some ghosting. Her head moved ever so slightly and her hair looked a little funky. Working with masks on individual layers all the faults were eliminated.

Once the image looked "normal" as far as ghosts were concerned, attention was turned to correcting other little gotchas. A couple of stray wrinkles on the back of her shirt were removed was the Patch Tool (J). A mask was made to isolate her from the slightly hot background and the background toned down. The parasol was blown out and brought back using the same mask. Noise was removed from the shadow side of her face using Channels and a Surface Blur filter. The image was left unsharpened (usually a nono) and a vignette applied. All in all it come out reasonably well.