Nikons Week 3

I lied.  In the last blog, I mentioned I would talk about my wide-angle lens and the built in focus stacking option, but I have not finished testing this yet.  So I will tell you about the amazing dynamic range of the sensor instead!

Last weekend I went out kayaking and came across a great back lit, edge of light situation, one of the most dramatic lighting situations you can find.  If you follow my work, you will know I seek out these "edge of light" situations. There was a Great Egret standing in a very shallow area of the river, and from my angle the sun was back lighting the bird. To add to the drama, there was a very deep shadow behind the bird. I had to apply exposure compensation to the image to make sure I did not blow out any of the highlights.  I typically shoot in either full manual, or manual with auto ISO when doing wildlife images.  On the river, I use the auto ISO option a lot because conditions change fast, and it is difficult to keep the kayak in the position I want and have to mess with exposure at the same time.  I knew I needed to add a minus exposure compensation to prevent the whites of the egret from getting overexposed to the point of no detail.  In this case I had the exposure compensation set to – 1 2/3.  When exposing to preserve detail in the white bird, the underexposure causes the shadow to go almost pure black, which adds drama to the scene.  Here was my final result.

4010-180901-_TEL4529.jpgExpand on a mobile device or Right/Ctrl Click and choose "View Image" on a PC/Mac to see full size

1/640 sec; f/11; exp comp – 1 2/3; ISO 220; 380mm


In the processing, I lightened the highlights overall and then, with the Adjustment Brush, both lightened certain areas of the wing more and darkened the crown of the bird’s head.

Here are how I set the sliders in the Basic tab of Lightroom.

Basic1.jpegSliders for processing the image above


I was curious to see just how large the dynamic range is, in the Nikon sensor, so I processed the image a second time, opening up the shadows all the way, increasing the overall exposure +1.7 stops and then bringing down the highlights.  Here is how adjusted the sliders.

Basic2.jpegSliders adjusted for image below


Here is the result.

4010-180901-_TEL4529-2.jpgExpand on a mobile device or Right/Ctrl Click and choose "View Image" on a PC/Mac to see full size


As you can see, the shadows opened up very nicely, and contain a lot of detail with no noise issues.

Here is a 100% crop of the first image (taken from the upper right).

detail-normal.jpegExpand on a mobile device or Right/Ctrl Click and choose "View Image" on a PC/Mac to see full size


And here is the same region of the second image.



As you can see the second image is very clean in the shadows with virtually no noise.  This gives me lots of leeway on how I can process my images.  Instead of needing to take multiple shots at various exposures, I have multiple options on the processing.

By the way which one do you prefer, the dark one or the light one?


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