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Photography Question 
Marcelle Miss Keet

what scene to shoot with good tonal values

i am doing a assignment. do you have examples of how to shoot a scene that has good range of tonal values with deep shadows and bright highlights?

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10/28/2008 1:59:29 AM

Try a sunset, Marcelle. Shoot RAW. Convert differentially. Blend/merge.

Have fun!

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10/28/2008 5:08:34 AM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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  Hi again Marcelle,
I use a tripod and as much DOF (depth of field) as possible (like f/22) using longer exposure times to get as much detail as possible. Because the camera does not see they way we see (the camera is not as smart as our eyeballs) you have to let the light in slowly. For some landscape & waterfall photos I use a circular polarizer which allows more detail in darker areas while also cutting down on reflections and harsh lighting. The CP will also need 2 stops which again will allow for a slower shutter speed. A tripod is a must as far as I am concerned when shooting these type of shots.
Lately I have been doing more HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging which works really well for these scenarios.
With HDR, you take an underexposed image, then an exposed image and then another over exposed image (using 1 stop intervals) and the HDR will combine the 3 images into 1. You can use even more images to get even better results. The underexposed work for highlights and the overexposed for darker areas. I have used as many as 9 images to create and HDR image.
I have used Photoshops HDR in the past but I recently bought PhotoMatix by HDRSoft and have been really happy with this program. The tone mapping tool works very well.
I have an HDR folder in my gallery on my website if you want to see a few of my recent images.
Hope this helps - Carlton

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10/28/2008 5:19:02 AM

Alan N. Marcus   Marcelle,

Landscapes with a vast tonal scale are all around you. Consider a sunlit parking lot with black tires in shadow and gleaming chrome sparking in the sunlight. Your problem will be: The camera likely will not be able to capture the entire scene range. Shoot several pictures select different brightness levels i.e. shoot a close-up of a black tire, shoot a close-up of chrome trim, back-up and shoot a wide-angle of the vista. Now go back and shoot it again, this time select an overcast day. Bracket each shot (different apertures) as insurance that your exposure is at optimum.

Indoors, shoot white eggs on a black plate. Shoot a close-up of a calculator keypad. At the library shoot a book shelf or a stack of books. In your room, shot your closet, slacks, blouses, coats all have texture. Arrange with alternating dark and light fabrics. Shoot toy dolls, or stuffed animals you can make a great colorful great presentation.

Above all, use your noodle!

Good luck,

Alan Marcus

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10/28/2008 7:44:11 AM

  How about the fall landscapes. If you live in an area with lots of hills, you should be able to get a wide variety of color with very deep shadows this time of year. going in the woods also offers wide tonal ranges this time of year.

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10/28/2008 2:46:20 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Grab a person. Use good light. Don't have to go anywhere to find a scene. Unless the assignment calls for it.

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10/28/2008 4:56:47 PM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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Carlton's Gallery
  Mt. Si at sunset
Mt. Si at sunset
f/20, iso100, tripod & 3 exposures combined to HDR.
© Carlton Ward
Canon EOS 40D Digi...
Hi Marcelle,
Here is an example of tonal contrasts that is right outside my house.
Notice the shadow line running across the middle of the mountain.
If I expose on the foreground, the mountain may get blown out, if I expose on the mountain, the foreground will be dark and both of these scenarios will affect how the sky looks.
This photo is an example of using HDR.
I set up my tripod and used f/20 and my 17-40mm lens (no CP on this one) and I under-exposed the 1st shot to get the mountain exposed, then 2nd shot I exposed for the sky and the 3rd I over-exposed to get the foreground. Using HDR, I was able to combine the images and get the correct color and more detail from this very contrasting lighting sunset scene.
Hope this helps, Carlton

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10/28/2008 7:30:05 PM

Wish I had a view like that!

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10/28/2008 10:42:57 PM

  Hey W. One of these days when you plod from the outback and get away from your didgery doo, you'll get the opportunity. Keep your chin up. Btw, when are ya gonna get that staple in your nose?

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10/29/2008 8:27:40 AM

Mark, imo you better get yourself a nav system: you got my position about 20,000 kilometers out of whack... So much for your homing pigeon instinct! LOL!

And about that staple: I'll do you one better, the gentleman in the picture's got a permanent home in an anthropology museum instead of a one-off publication! That avatar is my great-, great-, great uncle's passport picture (now deceased...). He was a Neandertal, you see. Just like YOUR great-, great-, great uncle!

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10/29/2008 11:11:38 AM

  LOL That avatar makes for such good jokes. Sorry, but I can't resist. And thats my great uncle, BTW.

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10/29/2008 7:55:29 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Sometimes, it benefits a scene to accentuate vast differences in tonal range.
Deep shadow areas can be key elements in bringing an image to life.

Sample 1

Sample 2

In both attached samples, the neutral portions were metered and exposed normally, allowing the shadows to fall where they may.

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10/30/2008 1:18:05 AM

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